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Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton struggling to pay medical bills as she battles rare condition in ICU

One of America’s most loved athletes is currently battling pneumonia in the ICU

Amelia Neath
Thursday 12 October 2023 05:24 BST
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Olympian Mary Lou Retton “Fighting For Her Life” In Intensive Care

Former Olympics gymnastics star Mary Lou Retton is “fighting for her life” in the ICU as she battles pneumonia, according to her family.

Ms Retton competed in the 1984 Olympic Games and was revered by fans after winning a gold medal in the individual all-around competition.

She was the first American female gymnast to ever win the all-around gold medal.

Her daughter McKenna Kelley shared an update on her Instagram account on Tuesday saying that her mother is currently unable to breathe independently and is “fighting for her life” in hospital.

Ms Kelley, also a gymnast, shared a link to a Spotfund fundraiser, asking for donations to help pay for her mother’s medical treatment – as she explained that her mother is not insured.

“My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life. She is not able to breathe on her own,” Ms Kelley wrote on the fundraising page.

“She’s been in the ICU for over a week now.”

The $50,000 goal has already been smashed, with adoring fans of the gold medallist bringing the current total up to an enormous $141,220, as of Wednesday.

Mary Lou Retton competed in the 27th season of Dancing with the Stars (David Livingston/Getty Images)

Ms Retton was only 15 years old when she started to make a name for herself in US competitions, winning the American Cup and coming second at the US Gymnastic National Championship in 1983.

The following year, she took the Los Angeles Olympic Games by storm, winning a gold medal as well as two bronze and two silver medals in other competitions within the games.

She was awarded a gold medal after she scored perfect 10s on the floor and vault events, gaining first place by just 0.05 points.

The gymnast is currently in the ICU with pneumonia (AP)

Her performance made her one of the most popular gymnasts in America. She was inducted into the United States Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.

Her gymnastic career didn’t last long though, as she retired from competing two years later in 1986 at the age of 18.

However, she has continued to appear on national television throughout the years, including Dancing with the Stars in 2018.

During the Bush administration, the gymnast also served on the President’s Council for Physical Fitness and Sports.

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