|Mary Lou Retton Quick Info
|4 ft 9 in
|Date of Birth
|January 24, 1968
Mary Lou Retton has been considered as one of the most iconic female gymnasts in the United States. She holds the distinction of being the first American gymnast to have won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition. When she achieved the famous feat at the 1984 Summer Olympics, she was still studying in high school. She decided to retire from gymnastics in 1986.
Mary Lou Retton
Fairmont, West Virginia, United States
She is based with her family in Houston, Texas, United States.
Mary Lou Retton went to the Fairmont Senior High School. However, she didn’t graduate from high school.
- Father – Ronnie Retton (Owned and ran a coal-industry Transportation Equipment Business)
- Mother – Lois Retton
- Siblings – She has an older sister.
Mary Lou Retton is represented by –
- MLR Entertainment
- Michael Suttle (Company)
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
Karolyi Gym (Former)
Béla Károlyi, Márta Károlyi (Former)
4 ft 9 in or 145 cm
42 kg or 92.5 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Mary Lou Retton has dated –
- Shannon Kelley (1990-2018) – Mary started going out with Shannon Kelley, who is a former football player and real estate developer, while he was still studying in the university. They got engaged in 1989 and got married in a romantic ceremony in 1990. Over the course of their marriage, she has given birth to 4 daughters, Shayla (b. 1995), McKenna (b. 1997), Skyla (b. 2000), and Emma (b. 2002). In 2018, Mary Lou divorced Shannon.
Race / Ethnicity
She has Italian ancestry.
She is a devout Christian and has called The Bible her favorite book in her interview with Greenville Online. Also, she and her family regularly attend Second Baptist Church Houston.
Mary Lou Retton has appeared in the TV commercials for the following brands –
- Wheaties Cereal
- Dairy Queen
- Australian Dream arthritis and joint pain relief cream
- Lipton Sizzle ‘n Stir
- Sprint PCS
- ReMax Realtors Supports the Children’s Miracle Network (Public Service Advertisement)
She has also been featured in the print adverts for the following –
- Biomet Manufacturing’s M2a-Magnum hip replacement implant
- Mars Candy’s M&M’s chocolates
- Depend Silhouette briefs
She has also lent her voice to the Radio adverts for Biomet Manufacturing’s M2a-Magnum hip replacement implant.
She has also served as a brand ambassador for brands such as US drugstore chain Revco and Wheaties.
Mary Lou has also promoted some of the brands through her Instagram like Nature’s Bounty.
Best Known For
Being one of the most successful and decorated American gymnasts. She managed to win a gold medal, 2 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals at the 1984 Olympics. In fact, she is considered as one of the pioneering figures in the US gymnastics.
In 1988, Mary made her theatrical film debut in the comedy-fantasy movie, Scrooged.
First TV Show
In 1984, Mary Lou Retton made her first TV show appearance on the comedy talk show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
As she had to undertake grueling and intensive workout regimes during her professional career, she has opted to go for low-impact workout regimes now after retirement. She likes to start her day with less intense swimming laps. Mary also likes to go cycling. On some days, she even prefers to go for long walks. In fact, she prefers to walk around as much as possible.
When it comes to nutrition, she doesn’t follow any strict diets. She follows the simple principle of an 80 to 20 ratio. She just makes sure that 80 percent of her daily diet is healthy and nutritious, which allows her to eat whatever she desires for the remaining 20 percent.
She daily starts her day with a simple and healthy meal. Mary prefers to eat a toast with egg whites. She washes it down with a cup of coffee.
Mary Lou Retton’s Favorite Things
- Supplement Brand – Nature’s Bounty
- Food – Pizza
- Healthy Food – Grilled Chicken
- Dream Vacation – Italy and Greece
- TV Shows – Any show on The Food Network, HGTV, TLC, and Animal Planet
- Hobbies – Reading, cooking, and exercising
- Indulgence – French Fries and Pizza
- Book – The Bible
Mary Lou Retton Facts
- She was in her sophomore year of high school when she competed in the 1984 Olympics and delivered a stunning haul that included a gold medal and 2 silver medals.
- She got the inspiration to become a gymnast through the 1976 Summer Olympics in which Nadia Comăneci managed to defeat defending Olympic two-event winner Olga Korbut.
- She started her journey at a local club in her hometown of Fairmont. She was trained by Gary Rafaloski.
- Later, she moved to Houston, Texas, where she trained under the guidance of Romanians Béla and Márta Károlyi, who had also coached former Olympian Nadia Comăneci.
- In 1983, she managed to win the American Cup. However, she missed out on participating in the World Championships because of a wrist injury.
- Her participation in the 1984 Summer Olympics was in doubt because of a knee injury. She had sat down to sign contracts when she found her knee had locked. She had to undergo surgery just 5 weeks before the Olympics.
- When she won the all-around gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, she became the first American to have won the prestigious medal. She was also the first female gymnast who wasn’t from Eastern Europe to have won the gold medal.
- In 1984, she was selected as Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. She was also declared Sportswoman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine.
- In recognition of her stunning performances at the Olympics, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.
- In 1992, she was honored with induction into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
- She was born with hip dysplasia, which worsened because of her grueling gymnastics regime. In her mid-30s, she even had to undergo hip replacement surgery.
- She was a fierce supporter of former US President Ronald Reagan‘s administration. She even appeared in a series of commercials for his campaign and also at his rallies.
- In October 2023, it was revealed that Mary had been hospitalized and was in the ICU due to pneumonia.
- Visit her official website @ marylouretton.com.
Featured Image by Mary Lou Retton / Instagram