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Mary Lou Retton released from hospital but has ‘long road ahead’ in recovery

Olympic gymnastics champion Mary Lou Retton has returned home after a lengthy hospital stay because of pneumonia, her daughter said on Monday.

Shaley Kelley Schrepfer, the oldest of Retton’s four daughters, posted an update on Retton’s condition on Instagram nearly two weeks after the family disclosed that the former Olympic all-around champion was in intensive care.

The 55-year-old Retton is now in “recovery mode,” according to Schrepfer.

“We still have a long road of recovery ahead of us,” Schrepfer wrote. “But baby steps.”

The family disclosed earlier this month that Retton – who, in 1984, became the first American gymnast to win the individual Olympic all-around title – was “fighting for her life” and unable to breathe on her own.

Donations have poured into a fundraiser the family set up to help offset Retton’s medical expenses after the family said she didn’t have insurance. There had been more than 8,300 donations totaling nearly $460,000 by Monday afternoon.

Retton was 16 when she became a hero of the US Olympic movement during her gold medal-winning performance at the 1984 Summer Games. The native of Fairmont, West Virginia, also won two silver and two bronze medals at those Olympics to help bring gymnastics – a sport long dominated by eastern European powers like Romania and the Soviet Union – into the mainstream in the US.

After her gymnastics career, Retton remained active in the media, appearing in a number of films and TV shows. She was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997 and was the first woman to be selected into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Retton also served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under US president George W Bush.