Mary Lou Retton : biography
Mary Lou Retton (born January 24, 1968) is an American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist. She was the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic gold medal in the Gymnastic Individual All-around competition.
Retton was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, of Italian heritage (her family’s original surname was "Rotunda"). Her father, Ronnie, operated a coal-industry transportation equipment business. She attended Fairmont Senior High School, but did not graduate. She competed in the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles, California during her sophomore year of high school.
Retton lived in Houston, Texas until 2009, when her family returned to West Virginia and again moved back to Houston in 2012. She is married to former University of Texas quarterback and Houston real estate developer Shannon Kelley, who now works for the Houston Baptist University athletic department. Together they have four daughters: Shayla Rae Kelley (born 1995), McKenna Lane Kelley (born 1997), Skyla Brae Kelley (born 2000), and Emma Jean Kelley (born 2002).
Retton has an uneven bars move called "", a transition (front flip) from low- to high-bar, resulting in the gymnast perched or "sitting" on top of the high bar. This move and many others like it are no longer in the Code of Points due to belly beating no longer in use on bars.
In 1985 Retton hosted ABC Funfit, a series of five-minute segments on physical fitness which were broadcast between Saturday morning cartoons. A record album and diagram booklet was also made of the segments and sold."Mary Lou Retton. She got the gold. Now she’s going for platnum." Billboard. 5 Oct. 1985: 5 http://books.google.com/books?id=DCQEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA5&dq=abc%20funfit&pg=PA5#v=onepage&q&f=false
In 1993, Retton appeared in the Baywatch episode "The Child Inside".http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0394179/
In 2002, Retton starred in the television program Mary Lou’s Flip Flop Shop."Mary Lou’s Flip Flop Shop." 06 Dec. 2010. http://www.houstonpbs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=prd_flipflopshop
In the summer of 2011, Retton appeared in a commercial for Dairy Queen, in which she falls out of a piñata.
She is mentioned in the song "Somersault" by Zero 7 feat. Viktor Vaughn (MF DOOM)
A devout Baptist and an ardent Christian conservative, she was an outspoken supporter of the Reagan Administration in the United States. She appeared in a variety of televised ads supporting Ronald Reagan. Retton delivered the Pledge of Allegiance with fellow former gymnast and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Kerri Strug on the second night of the 2004 Republican National Convention.
Retton’s hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia named a road and park in the town after her. She retired from gymnastics after winning an unprecedented third American Cup title in 1985. She later had cameo appearances as herself in Scrooged and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.
During the 1990s, Retton worked as a spokeswoman for the U.S. drugstore chain Revco. Retton was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
In 1993 the Associated Press released results of a sports studyRetton, Hammill most popular American athletes; Wilstein, Steve, Associated Press; 17 May 1993 in which Retton was statistically tied for first place with fellow Olympian Dorothy Hamill as the most popular athlete in America.http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/Content/Athletes/R/Retton-Mary-Lou.aspx
In 1997, Retton was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Retton has many commercial endorsements, including the first appearance by a female on the front a Wheaties box. She is a frequent analyst for televised gymnastics and attended The University of Texas at Austin after the Olympics.’