Olympian Mary Lou Retton Gives First Interview About Health Scare

Mary Lou Retton feels grateful to be alive after a harrowing ordeal.

The legendary Olympian is speaking out on-camera for the first time about battling severe pneumonia that landed her in the ICU last fall.

“I am on oxygen,” Retton, wearing a nasal cannula, told Today‘s Hoda Kotb in an interview, part of which was released Jan. 7. “I am so grateful to be here. I am blessed to be here, because there was a time when they were about to put me on life support.”

The 55-year-old, who made history at the 1984 Olympics when she became the American woman to win the all-around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics, was hospitalized last October.

A week after she entered the ICU, one of four daughters, McKenna Kelley, revealed her health scare publicly, writing on the fundraiser platform Spotfund that her mom was hospitalized with a “very rare form” of pneumonia. She said Mary Lou was “fighting for her life” and was “not able to breathe on her own.” She also said her mother had no health insurance and asked for both prayers and donations to help with hospital bill payments.

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