Mary Lou Retton
A retired Olympic Gymnast who achieved gold, silver, and bronze Medals at the 1984 Olympics, Mary Lou Retton was born in 1968 in West Virginia where she developed a strong attraction to gymnastics at an early-age. Coached by Béla and Márta Károlyi, Mary Lou quickly gained quite the reputation in US competition.
At the height of her career, Retton won the American Cup in 1983, placed second at the US Nationals the same year, won the American Classic in ’83 & ’84, along with Japan’s Chunichi Cup in ’83 as well.
After repeating as champion at the 1984 American Cup, winning the ’84 US Nationals, and finishing first at the ’84 US Olympic Trials, Mary Lou suffered a leg injury heading into the ’84 Olympics, and was forced to undergo surgery.
There was fear that the injury would force her to miss the Olympics, Retton was able to instead return and compete very strongly during her events. In fact, after a close contest with Ecaterina Szabo of Romania, Retton went on to win the all-around Gold Medal by 0.05 points in order to become the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the individual all-around gold. The most memorable portion of her win in the all-around was during the vault event – when she battled through an ailing leg to win the event and the Gold Medal.
Due to her great success at the Olympics, Retton became the first female athlete to appear on a Wheaties Box.
In addition to her great success, Retton also held great faith in God.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my relationship with God,” she told CBN News. “My relationship with Jesus Christ is so much stronger now, but then, I mean, I knew He gave me talent and I knew that He brought Béla and Márta Károlyi into my life to bring that talent out. I give Him all the glory.”