American gymnastics icon Mary Lou Layton is “fighting for her life,” one of Layton’s four daughters, McKenna Kelly, revealed on Tuesday.
“My amazing mom Mary Lou has a very rare form of pneumonia,” Kelly wrote on Spotfund, an online fundraiser that is raising donations for Layton’s medical expenses. “She was unable to breathe on her own. She had been in the intensive care unit for over a week. Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not reveal all the details. However, I will disclose that she did not have insurance.”
Layton shot to fame at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when she became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the all-around competition. This feat not only landed her on the front of cereal boxes, but also captured the hearts of many Americans.
“Thank you for bringing dreams, goals, and the ability to understand my strength into my life! I love gymnastics and kindness because of you!” one person who donated to the Layton Foundation wrote. As of Tuesday evening, the fundraiser had surpassed its $50,000 goal, reaching more than $72,000.
Here’s everything you need to know about Layton:
Mary Lou Layton: US Olympic and gymnastics icons are ‘fighting for their lives’
How old is Mary Lou Layton?
Layton was born on January 24, 1968; he is currently 55 years old.
Where is Mary Lou Layton from?
Layton is from Fairmont, West Virginia.
She said Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci’s gold medal win at the 1976 Montreal Olympics sparked her interest in gymnastics. Layton moved to Houston to train with gymnastics coaches Bella and Marta Karoi, who also trained Comeneci in Romania.
How many Olympic medals does Mary Lou Retton have?
Layton is a five-time Olympic medalist. In 1984, at the age of 16, she won the all-around gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics, becoming the first American woman to win the Olympic all-around title. Leighton won in dramatic fashion, scoring a perfect 10 on floor exercise and vault to beat Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo by 0.05 points after undergoing knee surgery six weeks before the Olympics. Szabo).
She also won silver on the vault, bronze on the uneven bars and floor exercise, and a silver medal on the team event.
Leighton won five medals at the 1984 Olympics, the most of any American athlete, and became a national treasure and one of America’s most popular athletes. In 1984, she was named “Female Athlete of the Year” by Sports Illustrated.
She was the only U.S. Olympic all-around champion until Carly Patterson (2004, Athens), Nastia Liukin (2008, Beijing), Gabby Douglas (2012, London), Simone Biles (Rio de Janeiro, 2016) and Suni Lee (Tokyo, 2021).
When did Mary Lou Retton retire from gymnastics?
After the 1984 Olympics, Leighton won the America’s Cup all-around title in 1985. This is her third and final America’s Cup win after winning in 1983 and 1984.
“Winning meant more to me than anything I ever imagined in my career because even going to the Olympics I was a relatively unknown gymnast and I wasn’t supposed to win (in Los Angeles),” Ray said Dayton told NBC Sports in 2016. “The pressure was never on me. I was always the underdog. And then going into the ’85 America’s Cup, I was supposed to win. It was a completely different mentality.”
She retired from the sport in 1986, ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, a decision she said she was “ready” to accept. She was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame in 1985 and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be one of those athletes who just sticks with the sport, can’t retire, can’t let go,” she told the outlet. “I want people to remember me as a winner, as a champion, not some older athlete who was struggling and couldn’t let go. That’s important to me.”
Following her gymnastics career, Layton appeared in numerous television and film roles, including Knots Landing (1992), Baywatch (1993), Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), and Joy Glee (2010) ). She also appeared on Dancing with the Stars Season 27 and is a motivational speaker and television analyst.
Did Mary Lou Layton have any children?
Layton was married to former University of Texas quarterback Shannon Kelley from 1990 to 2018. They have four daughters together: Shayla, 28; McKenna, 26; Skylar, 23; and Emma, 21.
All her daughters followed in her footsteps. Shayla is a former member of Baylor University’s acrobatic tumbling team, McKenna competed for the LSU Tigers Gymnastics team, Skyla is a competitive cheerleader, and Emma currently competes for the University of Arkansas gymnastics team.
Layton’s daughter McKenna revealed the news of her mother’s illness on Tuesday.