Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton experienced a “pretty scary setback” in her fight against a rare form of pneumonia this week, after showing remarkable progress towards recovery just days ago, her daughter said on Wednesday night.
The 55-year-old gymnastics icon is still in the intensive care unit and is “really exhausted” after the setback, her daughter Shayla Kelley Schrepfer said in a video posted to Instagram.
“At the beginning of this week, we were going on the up and up. We were so excited, seeing so much progress, and then yesterday we had a pretty scary setback,” Schrepfer said. “She is still in ICU, and we’re just working through some things as far as her setback goes.”
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Retton’s family disclosed earlier this week that the gymastics champion – who became the first ever American gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics – was “fighting for her life” and unable to breath on her own after being diagnosed with pneumonia.
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 medical insurance. There’s been more than 7,500 donations totaling over $415,000 by Saturday afternoon.
Retton was 16 when she became an icon 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.