Mary Lou Retton

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMary Lou•Retton (-Kelley)
Used nameMary Lou•Retton
Nick/petnamesAmerica's Sweetheart
Born24 January 1968 in Fairmont, West Virginia (USA)
Measurements145 cm / 42 kg
AffiliationsKarolyi Gym
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 2
Bronze 2
Total 5


Mary Lou Retton first became a top international gymnast in 1983 when she won the American Cup, the American Classic, and the Chunichi Cup. Her star rose quickly at the 1984 Olympics when she won five medals, capped by the gold medal in all-around. Retton added silver on the vault and with the team, and bronzes on uneven bars and floor exercise. For her efforts at the Los Angeles Games Retton was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year for 1984, along with Edwin Moses. She was named Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in 1984.

Retton competed for one more year, winning the 1985 American Cup, but then capitalized on her fame and popularity. She made multiple television appearances, became a product spokesperson, and did motivational speaking. Retton married Shannon Kelley, a former quarterback at the University of Texas. Retton’s father had been a basketball player, playing in college at the University of West Virginia with Jerry West. She was inducted into the USOC Hall of Fame in 1985 and the US Gymnastics Hall of Fame and International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997. In 1993, almost a decade after her Olympic triumphs, she was voted in a national survey as the Most Popular Athlete in America.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1984 Summer Olympics Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) USA Mary Lou Retton
Individual All-Around, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
Team All-Around, Women (Olympic) United States 2 Silver
Floor Exercise, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
Horse Vault, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
Uneven Bars, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
Balance Beam, Women (Olympic) 4

Special Notes