Sports Birthdays Today: Mary Lou Retton Turns 43!

January 24, 2011

Can you believe it? America’s Olympic sweetheart is 43 years old today! Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were watching her at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles? Who can forget that infamous vault (video below) where she scored a perfect 10?

Mary Lou Retton

I was lucky enough to attend the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles as a teen with my family, and what an experience it was! We were able to watch some volleyball, track and swimming events, but unfortunately the gymnastics events were all sold out! I would have loved to have been there to witness Mary Lou Retton’s perfect 10 on the vault (and floor exercise) that gave her the eventual All-Around title during the 23rd Olympiad.

It was after that Olympic win that Retton shot to fame. She was recognized everywhere. That’s what happens when you become the very first female American gymnast to win a gold medal.

Can you imagine what her life was like right after that? She was 16 years old at the time and did the obligatory press rounds. America loved her. The world loved her. She had that million dollar smile, that girl next door look with the pixie haircut everyone wanted to have. I’ll admit I wanted that ‘do as well, but no, I ended up opting for the horribly permed hairstyle that was so popular in the 80’s. Not a look I want to remember, but unfortunately it is preserved in pictures. Anyways, it’s no surprise that Wheaties put her on the cover of their cereal box and she would later become the spokesperson for several other brands. She has routinely served as a commentator at Olympic gymnastics events and has won several awards throughout the years. Undoubtedly her pride and joy are her family – she has been married to her husband Shannon since 1990 and together they have 4 children (all girls).

From everyone here at RightFielders, we wish you a very Happy Birthday, Mary Lou Retton! A picture gallery is below, plus that promised perfect 10 vault video at the ’84 Olympics. Enjoy!

Mary Lou Retton Mary Lou Retton Mary Lou Retton

Photos:, Carrie Devorah / WENN

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