Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton, best known as MLR, is a former gymnast from the United States of America. She is quite famous as an athlete for her outstanding performances. Furthermore, she is a gold medalist and won her first gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Moreover, she was the first woman in America to win an independent gold medal in gymnastics.

She also won two silver and bronze medals that same summer. Besides that, she is quite outspoken politically. The gymnast publicly supported President Ronald Reagan.

Quick Facts

Full Name Mary Lou Retton
Birth Date January 24, 1968
Birth Place Fairmont, West Virginia, the United States
Nick Name MLR, America’s Sweetheart
Religion Christian
Nationality American
Ethnicity Italian American
Education Fairmont Senior High School
Horoscope Aquarius
Father’s Name Ronnie Retton
Mother’s Name Lois Retton
Siblings Four
Age 54 years old
Height 4 feet 9 inches
Weight 93 lb (42 kg)
Hair Color Brown
Eye Color Dark Brown
Build Athletic
Profession Former Gymnast
Former Team USA
Club Karolyi Gym
Retired September 29, 1986
Marital Status Divorced
Ex-Husband Shannon Kelley
Kids Four: Shayla, McKenna, Skyla, Emma
Net Worth $8 million
Social Media InstagramTwitter
Last Update August, 2022

Mary Lou Retton’s earnings and net worth

The former athlete amassed a significant amount of income throughout her career as a top gymnast.

The wealth of Retton exceeds $8 million. In addition, the gymnast’s legendary victory at the 1984 Summer Olympics catapulted her to stardom. She consequently received endorsements from well-known brands and businesses.

The Wheaties Box’s first row was occupied by her as the first female athlete. The gold medallist additionally acted as a spokeswoman for the painkiller Australian Dream and the drugstore chain Revco.

She also appeared in their commercials. She also appeared in advertisements for different companies and niches. Mary appeared in a number of films and television programs. She was a gymnastics analyst as well. You may also like to know about Louis Riddick

Early Life, Family, And Education | Mary Lou Retton

In the United States, Mary Lou Retton was born in Fairmont, West Virginia. Ronnie and Lois Retton are her parents.

She also had a father who had played basketball in college. He also participated in a small league for professional basketball.

MLR’s parents were both very active and passionate about sports and physical endeavors.

She enrolled in dance courses when she was just four years old as a result. Then she enrolled with her sister Shari Retton in gymnastics classes. Mary is the youngest of five children in addition to that.

The former athlete worked extremely hard and loved gymnastics. She even used to sleep at West Virginia University in her exercise clothes the night before courses.

She also took inspiration from great gymnasts like Nadia Comăneci and Olga Korbut.

Also she knew she wanted to be a gymnast and win gold medals when she watched them perform on television.

Retton decided to dedicate himself to gymnastics and began training with renowned gymnastics teacher Béla Károlyi. He has worked with a lot of Olympic champions.

In addition, he was honored with a spot in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Although he is known for his strict coaching methods, once in America, he softened. Under the guidance of the Romanian-American coach, she flourished and relentlessly pursued her potential.

Attending Fairmont Senior High School was Retton. She did not, however, complete her degree since she preferred gymnastics.

To train at the Károlyi Gym, the gold medalist relocated to Houston, Texas. She also briefly studied at the University of Texas after leaving the gymnastics team. You may also like to know about Nadia Comaneci

Age, height, and weight information for Mary Lou Retton

On January 24, 2021, the formerly gymnast turned 53 years old.

Mary Lou Retton maintains a strict diet and lifestyle because she was once an athlete. She is therefore quite fit despite being in her fifties. She is 4 feet 9 inches tall and 93 pounds, or 42 kg, in weight.

Mary Close-Up Look

She is described as having Brown hair and Dark Brown eyes when defining her appearance. Her body measurement, shoes, and tattoos (if any) are currently unavailable.

Young Mary

Mary is a Christian who is of American nationality and Italian American ancestry.

Mary Lou Retton’s Early Career in Gymnastics

When the former athlete was just eight years old, she began her training to become a professional gymnast. In order to control her daughter’s excessive energy, her mother enrolled her at the University of West Virginia. Lois had no idea that Mary would grow up to make a career out of it.

She first received instruction from Gary Rafaloski in her native town. She relocated to Houston, Texas, though, believing that she could train more effectively there. Béla and his wife, Márta Károlyi, served as Retton’s instructors. She developed as a gymnast overall under Béla Károlyi’s instruction.

She finished second in the US Nationals at age 15 and won the American Cup.

The next year, she also took first place in the Cup, Nationals, and US Olympic Trials. The gymnast also won the 1983 and 1984 American Classics as well as the 1983 Chunichi Cup in Japan.

Mary Performing Gymnastics

She had knee surgery to treat her leg injuries prior to the 1984 Summer Olympics. The gymnast was worried that she might not make it to the Olympics, but she recovered in time. MLR earned her first gold medal at the first Summer Olympics held in the United States since 1932.

Mary with Medals

She also became the first American female gold medalist in the all-around event.

She completed an ankle vault before flawlessly executing the challenging Tsukahara vault as her final vault. Additionally, America’s Sweetheart took home two additional silver and bronze medals from the Olympics. She was named “Sportswoman of the Year” by the well-known sports publication Sports Illustrated.

Gymnastic Career Following

Mary retired in 1986 after taking first place in her third and last American Cup all-around competition that year.

She then gained a small bit of experience in television and film.

Retton made guest appearances on Baywatch, Glee, and the comedy Scrooged.

She also participated in Dancing With The Stars in 2018.

Mary Lou’s Flip Flop was the name of a children’s series she also had.

In addition, she made use of her time to advocate for the re-election of President Ronald Reagan. She also attended the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Abuse Scandal at USAG

When the USAG sex abuse scandal was all over the news in 2017, the former athlete’s name was tossed about quite a bit. Many female athletes reported being sexually abused by gym owners, coaches, and employees.

One of the worst sex abuse scandals in sports history has occurred here. Larry Nassar, a former osteopathic physician, was the scandal’s most prominent face. In addition, he is charged with abusing over 250 women.

At the time of the abuse, the majority of the victims were minors.

1984 Gold Medalist Marry Lou Retton

As a result of his acts, the USAG was sued frequently for failing to act on complaints, covering up the truth, and protecting Nassar. In the United States’ national gymnastics governing body, many people demanded changes and proper legislation.

Consequently, a bill was proposed by Senators John Thune and Dianne Feinstein. The legislation was known as the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization of 2017.

The legislation guards against sex abuse of young athletes. Additionally, it encourages a secure setting for their development.

Mary visited with Senator Feinstein in order to persuade her not to support the measure, along with the USAG. She then received harsh criticism for standing up for the organization rather than the abuse victims.

Mary Lou Retton: Marriage, Children, and a Husband’s Career

Shannon Kelley was the wife of the retired athlete. At the University of Texas, they first met. The two are therefore sweethearts from college.

Former Texas Longhorns football player Kelley competed in college football. He also served as the team’s starting quarterback.

He played exceptionally well for the Longhorns. Also he consequently attracted notice and admiration for his football prowess.

The player, however, chose not to play football professionally and instead earned a business degree from Texas.

Mary Lou Retton With Her Former Husband Shannon Kelley

Additionally, he received a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.

After that, the former Longhorn joined as a partner at an investing company and enjoyed moderate success there. In addition, he was a prominent Houston real estate developer.

Nevertheless, his passion for the sport drew him back. Thus, Shannon started working at Fairmont State University as a quarterbacks coach in 2009.

Then, in 2011, he accepted a position as the running backs coach at California University. The former quarterback has been a Houston Baptist University assistant coach since 2012.

Children, Marriage, and Divorce

Mary Lou was engaged to her ex-husband when she was just 21 years old. In 1989, the couple announced their engagement, and they later wed. Aside from that, they were wed for 28 years before divorcing in February 2018.

The previous couple also had four daughters. Shayla, McKenna, Skyla, and Emma Kelley are their names.

All of the former gymnast’s daughters were introduced to gymnastics while they were small. However, only three of them persisted, and Skyla changed her career to cheerleading.

Former Gymnast Mary Lou Retton With Her Ex-Husband And Four Daughters

At Baylor University, MLR’s eldest daughter Shayla participated in acrobatics and tumbling. She has qualified for a lot of NCATA Individual Championship competitions.

Similarly, McKenna, Retton’s second-oldest daughter, is a Level 10 gymnast and the 2014 Nastia Liukin Cup champion.

social media

On social media, the gold medallist is highly active. She consequently has 65 thousand followers on Instagram.

She frequently posts pictures of her and her kids. Recently, MLR said goodbye to Skyla, her youngest kid, who was leaving for college.

In addition, she expressed her congratulations to her oldest daughter Shyla on her engagement. The mother of four recently welcomed Honey, a golden retriever puppy, into the family. Additionally, she has 29 thousand followers on  Twitter. In 2011, the former athlete joined.

She is, however, far less active on Twitter as she hasn’t updated since 2018.

Also she has nonetheless posted a lot of pictures and videos of her kids on her account. She has also discussed a lot of news regarding gymnastics.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What illness does Mary Lou Retton have?

MLR is unaffected by any illness. She was born with hip dysplasia, a condition that affects the hip joint. She is more likely to experience joint dislocation as a result of this condition.

Also she started competing in gymnastics, which only made the issue worse. She thus underwent left hip replacement surgery.

In Star Wars, did Mary Lou Retton appear?

The former Olympian didn’t appear in Star Wars, though.

What is Mary Lou Retton’s net worth?

The wealth of Mary Lou Retton exceeds $8 million. She gained the most of her wealth while competing in gymnastics. In addition, she received a respectable sum of money from sponsorships and endorsements.

What merited Mary Lou Retton her notoriety?

She was the first American woman to win an individual all-around gold medal, which made the former gymnast renowned. In the first Summer Olympics staged in America in 52 years, she took home the medal.

What college did Mary Lou Retton attend?

Mary Lou attended Fairmont Senior High School but left her studies early. She was less concerned with her schooling and more with her work.