Mary Lou Retton: The Latest Health Update


In an emotional and candid interview with Hoda Kotb on TODAY, Mary Lou Retton, the iconic former Olympic gymnast, shared the details of her battle with a rare form of pneumonia. This marks her first interview since her hospitalization in October 2023.

The 55-year-old gymnastics legend spoke from her home in Boerne, Texas, alongside her eldest daughter, Shayla Schrepfer. Currently recuperating, Retton relies on a portable oxygen apparatus as her lungs heal. Hoda noted the vulnerability of her state, to which Retton responded, “I’m very private, and to come out and talk about it… Usually my interviews are ‘Oh yes, it felt great to win the Olympics!’”

Revealing the gravity of her illness, Retton disclosed that she was on the verge of being put on life support. “This is serious, and this is life, and I’m so grateful to be here,” she expressed. “I am blessed to be here because there was a time when they were about to put me on life support.”

Hear her chat with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb in the video below.

During the initial days of her hospitalization, Retton’s oxygen levels plummeted, prompting her daughters to prepare for the worst and discuss the possibility of putting her on a ventilator. The diagnosis, termed “a rare form of pneumonia,” was shared with the public by Retton’s daughters through a crowd-funding site on October 10. They sought support to cover medical costs, emphasizing their mother was “fighting for her life.”

Schrepfer, providing updates on her mother’s condition, acknowledged the “pretty scary setback” on October 18, despite earlier signs of progress. By October 23, Retton was in “recovery mode” and back home after an extended hospital stay. However, Schrepfer cautioned about the “long road of recovery ahead.”

On October 30, Retton issued her first public statement, emphasizing her slow but positive recovery. “I’m with my family continuing to slowly recover and staying very positive as I know this recovery is a long and slow process,” she wrote.

Less than a month later, on Thanksgiving, she expressed “profound gratitude,” acknowledging that on the day of thanks, she’s reminded of the “preciousness of life, the love that surrounds me, and the resilience of the human spirit.”

The gymnastics icon remains an inspiration as she navigates the slow path to recovery, surrounded by the support of her family and the outpouring of love from fans worldwide.

Hear Mary Lou Retton discuss her health battle in the video below.

As Mary Lou Retton shares her resilient journey, have you or a loved one faced a health challenge that brought unexpected strength and gratitude?