Mary Lou Retton


Born: 24 January 1968
Birthplace: Fairmont, West Virginia
Best known as: Gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics

In 1984 Mary Lou Retton became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal for the all-around competition in gymnastics. The Summer Olympics were held that year in Los Angeles, California, with the Soviet Union boycotting the competition in retaliation for a United States boycott of the Moscow Olympics four years earlier. Besides her gold in the all-around competition, Retton also won 2 silver medals and 2 bronze, making her the single biggest medal winner of any athlete at that year's competition. Her Olympic success made her an instant celebrity, launching her career on the lecture circuit and getting her a few small roles in movies such as Scrooged and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. She also has appeared frequently as a gymnastics commentator on TV.

Extra credit:

Retton is 4’9″ tall, by measure of the U.S. Olympic committee… According to General Mills, Retton became “the first woman to appear on the front of a Wheaties box” after her Olympic win in 1984.

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