Home Uncategorized Mary Lou Retton: Early Life, Career, Net Worth

Mary Lou Retton: Early Life, Career, Net Worth

Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton: Early Life, Career, Net Worth, Personal Life

At the 1984 Summer Olympics, Mary Lou Retton earned the gold medal in the individual all-around event. Retton remained in the public spotlight after the Olympics in a range of capacities, probably most famous as a Reagan administration booster. She moved on to the University of Texas in Austin and was featured in several television ads.

Mary Lou Retton | Early Life

Retton was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, on January 24, 1968. Ronnie, her father, was the owner of a coal-industry transportation equipment company. She was born with hip dysplasia, which was exacerbated by her extensive gymnastics practice over time. After seeing Nadia Comaneci win the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, she started practicing gymnastics at the age of eight. To support Retton’s gymnastics career, the family relocated to Houston, where she could practice with Bela and Marta Karolyi, the pair who had previously taught Nadia Comaneci.

Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton

Mary’s Career

Retton immediately rose to prominence in gymnastics after beginning to work with the Karolyis. At the age of 15, she captured the American Cup in 1983. In the same year, she came second in the US Nationals, narrowly ahead of Dianne Durham. She missed the World Gymnastics Championships due to a wrist injury, but she went on to win the American Classic in 1983 and 1984.

Retton went on to win the 1984 US Nationals and earn a spot in the 1984 Olympic Trials. She did, though, sustain an injury to her knee while dancing. She felt her knee lock up while signing autographs and knew she had a major injury. She had to have surgery on her knee five weeks before the 1984 Summer Olympics. The burden was on her to heal fast to compete well in the Olympics, which were being held in the United States for the first time in 52 years. Nevertheless, she was able to recuperate just in time to compete and win. Since the entire Soviet bloc boycotted the Olympics, except Romania, most of the typical American-Soviet gymnastics rivalry was gone, and Retton was mostly vying for the all-around gold medal with Romanian Ecaterina Szabo.

Originally, Retton trailed Szabo, who got higher scores on the uneven bars and balancing poles. Surprisingly, she received perfect 10s on both the vaults and the ground exercise, giving her the push she required to prevail. The win was all the more remarkable given her knee ailment and predictions that it would impede her performances. By.05 points, Retton was the first female gymnast from outside of Eastern Europe to earn the individual all-around gold. She was also the first woman from the United States to win an Olympic all-around medal. Retton won two silver and two bronze medals at the same Olympics.

After the Olympics, Retton maintained her gymnastics profession. For the third time, she claimed the American Cup all-around competition in 1985. In 1986, at the age of 18, she chose to withdraw from gymnastics. On the unequal bars, one of Retton’s trademark techniques was famous as “The Retton Flip,” which comprised of a changeover involving perching on the high bar. Due to aesthetic developments in gymnastics over time, the technique was eventually eliminated from the Code of Points. The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame honored Retton in 1997. In January of 2020, she became the first woman to be elected into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame.


Retton had a variety of sponsorship agreements after her gymnastics retirement. She was featured on the front of a Wheaties box and later worked as a spokesman for the Revco pharmacy chain in the United States. Retton also became a vocal advocate of the Reagan government, starring in a series of television commercials for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign.

She also joined him at a political event for his reelection bid. She also stayed active in conservative politics for many years following. On the second night of the Republican National Convention in 2004, she and Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton

Additional Portrayals

Retton also made cameo roles in a variety of movies and television programs as herself. In 2014, she featured in the films “Scrooged” and “Naked Gun 33+ 1/3: Final Insult,” as well as “Knots Landing,” “Baywatch,” and a RadioShack commercial.

She participated in the 27th season of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2018, partnering with professional dancer Sasha Farber, but was ousted in the sixth week and finished ninth.

Mary Lou Retton | Net Worth

As a veteran American gymnast, Mary Lou Retton has an approximate net worth of $8 million.

Mary’s Personal Life

Retton went to The University of Texas at Austin after her gymnastics prowess. Retton returned to West Virginia in 2009 after living in Houston, Texas. She returned to Houston in 2012 and married Shannon Kelley, a real estate entrepreneur and retired University of Texas quarterback. Shayla, McKenna, Skyla, and Emma were their four girls. In 2018, they separated.


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