Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton - 2024 interview | SCREENSHOT: TODAY/YouTubeCredit: TODAY on YouTube

Former Olympic gymnast and gold medal winner Mary Lou Retton says she survived a recent health scare that nearly led to her being placed on life support

Former US Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who became ‘America’s Sweetheart’ with her triumphant gold medal-winning performance in the 1984 Olympics, granted an interview where she discussed the serious health issues she is dealing with today. Retton, now just shy of 56, says she was nearly placed on life support.

Retton’s 1984 Wheaties Box | SCREENSHOT: The TV Madman/YouTube

A Debilitating Disease For Mary Lou Retton

Retton famously became an American hero during the ’84 Games in Los Angeles and was subsequently the first female athlete featured on the cover of a Wheaties box. Sadly, however, she became critically ill in 2023 with a rare form of pneumonia.

For a generation that remembered Mary Lou Retton as a tough, plucky, and upbeat athlete, it was a tough pill to swallow. Her triumph in those Olympics helped inspire a generation of American Olympic champions on the mat.

As she spoke to NBC’s Today show, Retton discussed the tumbles she has taken medically over the last few months.

RELATED: Olympian Mary Lou Retton Now Home In ‘Recovery Mode’ As She Fights With Rare Form Of Pneumonia

The Always Upbeat Olympian

“This is serious, and this is life, and I’m so grateful to be here,” Mary Lou Retton said in the interview that aired on Monday. “I am blessed to be here because there was a time when they were about to put me on life support.”

Despite any falls her medical status may have taken, the Olympic legend promises to keep getting up – as long as she has the support of her fans.

“I’m beyond blessed to have the opportunity to make this statement. I am overwhelmed with the love and support from the world as I fight,” Retton also wrote on Instagram.

“I am forever grateful to you all! I’m with family continuing to slowly recover and staying very positive as I know this recovery is a long and slow process.”


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