Ever dreamed of going to the Olympics? Or being the most decorated athlete in your sport? Well Mary Lou Retton has accomplished these two things and so much more. Retton was born on January 24, 1968 in Fairmont, West Virginia. She attended Fairmont Senior High School in 1982. Retton was inspired by Nadia Comaneci to start her gymnastics career. During her childhood she moved to Houston to train with Bela and Marta Karolyi (The International Olympic Committee. American Gymnastics Idol. 2017, first paragraph). Under their direction, she developed a style to suit her strong, compact frame, winning several prestigious competitions, including the American Cup and the U.S. Nationals. Then during her sophomore year she competed in the 1984 Olympic Games. After winning gold and becoming the most decorated gymnast of the time, Retton Attended The University of Texas at Austin (Biography.com editors. Mary-Lou Retton biography. A&E Television Networks, April 2, 2014).
Mary-Lou Retton is a groundbreaker because she kicked off Women’s Gymnastics in America. Mary-Lou became the first American woman to win an all–around gold medal in the Olympics (Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: Sports Figures). This strongly impacted America because it displayed to the world that they were capable of winning gold. This also pushed American gymnasts’ to work harder to keep the gold medals in our hands. In addition to winning the gold medal, she was the first American gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games in 1984. Retton had some injuries that really affected her gymnastics but she didn’t give up on her dream and it paid off at the Olympic Games. Finally, because of her successes as a gymnast, she “kicked off” gymnastics in America. All of her hard work proved to the world that you can never dream too big and anything is possible (Biography.com editors. Mary-Lou Retton biography. A&E Television Networks, April 2, 2014).
Mary-Lou overcame so many obstacles and accomplished a lot in her life, which makes her a groundbreaker. Retton suffered a knee injury five weeks prior to the Olympic Games (The International Olympic Committee. American Gymnastics Idol. 2017, second paragraph). Even though she got injured that close to the Olympics she didn’t give up on her dreams. When this injury happened, it pushed her to work harder in the gym so that she would be ready to compete in five weeks. In addition she was born with hip dysplasia, a condition that her years as a competitive gymnast aggravated. This affected Retton during her gymnastics career, but it didn’t stop her from being the best gymnast in the world, at the time.
Finally, Mary-Lou was recognized in many hall of fames. Retton worked so hard throughout her life and accomplished one of the biggest goals of many people. Because of this, she was recognized in many different hall of fames (Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: Sports Figures).
Mary-Lou Retton strongly impacted the world and kicked off gymnastics in America, making her a groundbreaker. Retton became a gymnast at a young age and suffered several injuries during her career, but she never gave up on her long term dream of winning gold at the Olympics. Her hard work and dedication paid off when she won an Olympic gold medal in the Women's all around. We can learn a lot from Retton’s life. The biggest life lesson to take away from her and all she accomplished is a dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
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