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Mary Lou Retton
Photo: Pam Francis/Getty Images

Mary Lou Retton

Biography
(1968–)
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Mary Lou Retton is a retired American gymnast who won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 1984 Olympics.

Who Is Mary Lou Retton?

Mary Lou Retton is an American gymnast who trained with Romanian coach Bela Karolyi and won the American Cup and the U.S. Nationals. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Retton won a gold medal in the women's all-around. It was the first time a female gymnast outside Eastern Europe won that event. She retired from gymnastics in 1985.

Early Life

Mary Lou Retton was born on January 24, 1968, in Fairmont, West Virginia. After developing a love of gymnastics as a girl, Retton moved to Houston, Texas, to train with acclaimed Romanian coach Bela Karolyi. Under his direction, she developed a style to suit her strong, compact frame, winning several prestigious competitions, including the American Cup and the U.S. Nationals.

Gymnastics Career

At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Retton won a gold medal in the women's all-around by earning a perfect score of 10 in the vault, the final event of the competition. It was the first time a female gymnast outside Eastern Europe won the Olympic all-around title. Retton also won two silver and two bronze medals in individual and team competitions.

Retton’s wholesome exuberance won her many commercial endorsements, including an appearance on the front of a Wheaties cereal box. She retired from gymnastics in 1985 after winning her third American Cup title and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.

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Personal Life and Family

Retton currently resides in Houston, Texas, with her four daughters. She is an occasional commentator for televised gymnastics. 

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