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Everything You Should Know About Former Gymnast Mary-lou Retton Who Was Once Among the America’s Youngest Olympic Stars

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Diksha Mishra
Diksha Mishra
An amiable and pragmatic person who aspires to become a great writer one day. Student~

Gymnast Mary-Lou Retton won more medals than any other athlete at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, taking home five total. She became an authentic American athletic legend because of her achievements at home.

Nickname: America’s Sweetheart

Country Represented: United States

Height: 4 ft 9 in 145 cm

Born: January 24, 1968 age 54 

Place: Fairmont, West Virginia

Retton started learning ballet & acrobatics at age four and began training in gymnastics a year later. To practise with Bela Karolyi, Retton relocated to Houston, Texas, in 1983. Karolyi assisted Retton in creating a style that complemented her lean, athletic frame. Retton’s new technique, which demonstrated speed, accuracy, and force, revolutionised women’s gymnastics in comparison to the fluttering, virtuosic motions that are common in floor-event performances.

During the first decade of the 1980s, Retton had success at important domestic and international competitions, becoming the initial American to win the collective championship at the Chunichi Cup in Japan (1983). She took the lead in the vault, floor exercise, and overall competitions at the 1984 U.S. national championships. She debuted in the Olympics later that year.

Motivated by Comaneci

The hometown of Mary-Lou Retton, Fairmont, West Virginia, USA, was aware of the remarkable accomplishments of Romanian sensation Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Retton, who was born on 24 January 1968, was motivated to succeed in gymnastics by her East European idol.

Later, she relocated to Houston to prepare with Bela and Marta Karolyi, who had previously coached Comaneci. Under their strict direction, the gifted youngster gained national and afterwards international notoriety in the early 1980s.

Hollywood glamour and drama

Retton won the US artistic gymnastics Olympic trials, but while practising a floor routine, she injured her knee, necessitating an immediate operation. There were only five weeks till the commencement of Los Angeles 1984, yet she recovered in time. Retton faced off against Ecaterina Szabo of Romania in the solo all-around competition in the presence of a riveted audience at the University of California’s Pauley Pavilion.

She became the only American in history to claim an Olympic individual all-around gold after scoring perfect 10s on the floor and vaulting to edge out her rival by 0.05 points. She continued to win medals after her historic victory, taking home silver in the vault, bronze in the uneven bars and floor, and another silver in the team competition. She was honoured by the American press as Female Athlete of the Year and Professional Athlete of the Year in 1984 after winning more medals compared to any other competitor at the Games.

Iconic standing

Retton earned a triumphant farewell by winning the US championship in 1985. A playground and a street in her hometown were named for her after she retired.

Later, she worked on television and advertised a popular brand of breakfast cereal. In 1997, she was also admitted to the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Before that, over ten years after her Olympic triumph, an Associated Press poll revealed that Retton and 1976 Games gold medalist Dorothy Hamill were the two most well-liked sports figures in the USA.

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