Mary Lou Retton is in good spirits as she continues to recover from a near-fatal illness. Last week, the former gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast said her "heart is overflowing" as she described what she's thankful for.

  • In 1984, Retton became the first American to win gold in the all-around gymnastics competition when she did so at the Summer Games in Los Angeles.
  • On Oct. 10, her daughters revealed she had been in intensive care battling a rare form of pneumonia since earlier that month.
  • Two updates would follow, with the first offering signs of progress and hope, and the second urging caution.

"I want to express how truly blessed and thankful I am to be slowly improving and to be home with my girls, especially after my time in the hospital," Retton shares on social media. Several pictures of the medalist with her daughters are included.

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"The love and support of my four amazing daughters have been a source of strength and inspiration throughout my journey," she adds. "Their presence in my life is a testament to the incredible bonds of family."

The Thanksgiving post also expressed gratitude for Retton's extended family and a reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit.

"Each one of you has played a significant role in my journey, and for that, I am eternally grateful," she writes. It marks her most personal message since being released from the hospital a few weeks prior.

What Happened to Mary Lou Retton?

Retton's family never revealed the exact form of pneumonia the former gymnast had, and upon being released, she said she'd wait until the appropriate time to share more. In revealing the news in October, her second daughter McKenna Kelley said that it was rare and that her mom was "fighting for her life."

"She is not able to breathe on her own. She's been in the ICU for over a week now," Kelley told fans.

Fans watched each daughter's Instagram page closely for updates and received good and bad news until Oct. 30, when Retton revealed she was truly on the mend.

Who Is Mary Lou Retton?

Anyone over 40 likely knows of Retton and her accomplishments, but those younger can consider her the original Simone Biles. Her win at the 1984 Summer Olympics was as dramatic as it was improbable. She'd just had knee surgery a few weeks before the games and need perfect 10 scores on the final two individual events to beat Szabo by 0.05 points.

After the Olympics, Retton would continue to compete until her retirement from the sport in 1986. She'd then become a popular spokesperson for various products, attend the University of Texas and eventually get into sports broadcasting.

Her most recent high-profile TV appearance was in 2018 when she was on Dancing With the Stars. Country radio host Bobby Bones would win that season.

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