Mary Lou Retton’s family says she is making ‘remarkable’ progress in battle with rare form of pneumonia

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Saturday, October 14, 2023 10:11PM

Gymnast Mary Lou Retton 'fighting for her life,' daughter says

The family of Olympic gymnastics champion Mary Lou Retton says she is making “remarkable” progress in her battle with a rare form of pneumonia that landed her in intensive care.

McKenna Kelley, one of Retton’s four daughters, posted an update on Instagram Saturday that said the 55-year-old Retton’s breathing is becoming stronger and her “path to recovery is steadily progressing.”

“Though it’s a lengthy journey, witnessing these improvements is incredibly heartening,” Kelley wrote. “She’s beginning to respond to treatments.”

The family disclosed earlier this week that Retton – who became the first American female gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics – was “fighting for her life” and unable to breath on her own after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Donations have poured into a fundraiser the family set up to help offset Retton’s medical expenses after the family said she didn’t have medical insurance. There’s been more than 7,500 donations totaling over $415,000 by Saturday afternoon.

Retton was 16 when she became an icon of the U.S. Olympic movement during her gold medal-winning performance at the 1984 Summer Games. The native of Fairmont, West Virginia, also won two silver and two bronze medals at those Olympics to help bring gymnastics – a sport long dominated by eastern European powers like Romania and the Soviet Union – into the mainstream in the U.S.

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