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August 5, 1984 - Mary Lou Retton's Homecoming
By Heath Harrison
March 24, 2013


West Virginia native Mary Lou Retton made her home state proud at the 1984 Summer Olympics, where, at the age of 16, she won the gold medal in the gymnastic individual all-around competition.

Retton's perfect 10 in her last event, the vault, made her the breakout star of that year's games in Los Angeles.

In addition to winning the gold, Retton also took home the silver in the team competition and the horse vault, and bronze in the floor exercise and uneven bars.

Following her wins, her face could be seen everywhere in the mid-1980s. She was named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportswoman of the Year,” appeared on a Wheaties box, and landed a spot as the host of ABC’s Saturday morning children’s fitness segments.

Since retiring from gymnastics, Retton has appeared as a commercial spokeswoman, starred in films such as “Scrooged’ and “The Naked Gun 33 1/3,” worked as a motivational speaker, created the PBS show “Mary Lou's Flip Flop Shop” and served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

This week’s video, courtesy of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History archives, features two WCHS reports from the first week of August 1984 by Mary Sue Jackson and Jack Kane, featuring Retton’s return home to the Mountain State and her visits to Charleston and her hometown of Fairmont shortly after the summer games. (Check out a young then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller in the clip.)

Remember When: August 5, 1984 - Mary Lou Retton's Homecoming

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