Olympic gymnastics champion Mary Lou Retton remained in intensive care on Wednesday while dealing with a rare form of pneumonia.
Retton’s daughters posted a message on Instagram saying their mother “continues to fight” and thanked the thousands who have donated money to help take care of Retton’s medical bills.
Shayla Kelley Schrepfer, the oldest of Retton’s four daughters, said in a video update on Instagram that the family was “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support for Retton, 55.
“We didn’t even realize that there are so many people out there that love her just as much as we do,” Schrepfer said. “And it’s been a really hard time for our family. And so just seeing that people love her like that and showing her that support has just meant the world to us and to her, so thank you.”
Nearly 5,000 people had donated over $275,000 in the 24 hours since her family launched an online fundraiser on Tuesday. The family said Retton does not have medical insurance and indicated they were asking for donations — with an initial goal of $50,000 — to help pay for Retton’s care.
Schrepfer declined to get into specifics about Retton’s situation, saying only that it’s “going to be a day-to-day process.”
Retton was 16 years old when the Fairmont, West Virginia, native made history at the Los Angeles Olympics, scoring perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault in the final two rotations to become the first American woman to win the Olympic all-around title.
She ended the Olympics with five medals — two silvers and two bronzes to go with the all-around gold — and became a pop culture sensation while earning the nickname “America’s Sweetheart.” Her Olympic success made her the first female athlete to appear on the cover of a Wheaties box.
Retton retired from competition in 1986. Her newfound fame made her a household name in the U.S. She made several film and television appearances, including a stint on “Dancing with the Stars.”
She and her husband, Shannon Kelley, divorced in 2018.
AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games