Former US Olympic icon Mary Lou Retton is making “remarkable” progress following her hospitalization with a rare form of pneumonia, according to her daughter.
The good news comes after a terrifying period for the ex-gymnastics star, now 55. Last week Retton’s family confirmed that she was “fighting for her life” in intensive care.
The gymnast is widely considered one of the most iconic US athletes to have ever competed in Olympic gymnastics, having taken gold in the individual all-around competition at the 1984 games in Los Angeles.
Retton’s success marked the first time in history that an American woman had earned the all-around gold medal, and indeed any individual medal in gymnastics.
Unsurprisingly, Retton rose to national prominence through her feats, going on to appear in several films and TV shows throughout the 1980s and ’90s. She was also recognized as Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1984.
Providing further information on her mom’s condition via a video message late last week, Shayla Kelley Schrepfer, one of Retton’s four daughters, said:
“As far as an update goes, she’s still fighting. It’s going to be a day-by-day process.”
Shayla added: “She’s been treated with the best of the best professionals here and it has been such a blessing to have their hands on her.”
Now, in the most positive update yet, Shayla wrote in a new Instagram post that her mother appeared to be on the mend.
“Prayers have been felt and have been answered,” she said.
“Although she remains in the ICU, her path to recovery is steadily unfolding. Her fighting spirit is truly shining!
“Her breathing is becoming stronger, and her reliance on machines is diminishing.”
The news is sure to delight fans, many of whom remember “America’s Sweetheart” fondly from her heroics in the 1984 Olympics.
A fundraising page set up by her family to pay for medical bills had amassed more than a whopping $400,000 in donations over the weekend.
“Though it’s a lengthy journey, witnessing these improvements is incredibly heartening,” Mary Lou’s daughter, Shayla, added. “She’s responding so well to treatments.”
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