Mary Lou Retton, the Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, is “fighting for her life” in the ICU with pneumonia, her daughter said Tuesday.

In an Instagram Story post, Retton’s daughter, McKenna Lane Kelley, shared the news that included a link to a Spotfund page dedicated to her mother.

“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,” wrote Kelley. “She’s been in the ICU for over a week now. Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details. However, I will disclose that she not insured.” The fundraiser had a goal of $50,000, which has since been surpassed.

On Wednesday, Retton’s other daughter, Shayla Kelley Schrepfer, offered an update in a video shared on Instagram saying her mother is “still fighting.” She added: “She’s been treated by the best of the best professionals here and it has been such a blessing to have their hands on her, so please continue the prayers and we cannot thank you enough for the love and support that you guys have shown.”

Schrepfer also spoke to People, saying, “Our number one concern is the well being of our mom. That being said, being by her side is our first priority.”

Following Tuesday’s Dancing With the Stars episode, pro Sasha Farber — who partnered with Retton on the show — told Entertainment Tonight that he had also spoken with her earlier in the day. “I’ve been talking to her today and she’s fighting,” Farber said. “She kind of wants to give up, but I’m sending her videos of her dancing and I’m telling her, ‘There’s only one Mary Lou Retton. You’ve got this!’”

Retton made history at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when she became the first American woman to win an individual all-around gold medal. Although Retton had undergone knee surgery weeks before the competition, she scored a perfect 10 on the floor and vault, beating Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo by  five-hundredths of a point.

The American icon won five medals at the Games, including two silvers, for team and vault, and two bronzes, for uneven bars and floor exercise. She won the American Cup all-around competition for the third time in 1985 before retiring in 1986.


In 1997, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Her hometown of Fairview, West Virgina also honored Retton by naming a park and street after her. Later in her career, Retton became a motivational speaker, promoting healthy nutrition and exercise.

This story was updated 10/11/23 @ 11:02 p.m. ET with an update from Sasha Farber.


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