If you grew up in the ’80s, chances are you remember watching Mary Lou Retton capture the gold medal and the hearts of America in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She was the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics.
Now, for the first time, she’s speaking out in a new on-camera interview about the major illness that threatened her life last fall.
Retton was hospitalized last October after contracting a rare form of pneumonia. One week after entering the ICU, her daughter posted on social media that Retton 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.
Retton recently spoke with Hoda Kotbe for NBC’s “TODAY” and said she still needs help with oxygen, even months after her hospitalization. “This is serious, and this is life, and I’m 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,” Retton said.
“TODAY” will air Retton’s full interview Monday morning, January 8.
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