Indiana State University Newsroom

Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton next up in Speaker Series

February 3, 2017

Mary Lou Retton may be as popular today as she was when she won America’s first Olympic gold medal in gymnastics in 1984, and she’s coming to Indiana State University as part of the University Speaker Series on Feb. 28.

Retton, who won the hearts of Americans with her performance at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, will speak at 7 p.m. in Tilson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

She was not only the nation’s first gold in gymnastics, but also won silver medals in team and vault and bronze medals in the uneven bars and floor exercise, making her the most decorated athlete at the 1984 Olympic games.

Before her retirement in 1986, Retton was the only women to win three American Cups between 1983 and 1985, the only American to win Japan’s prestigious Chunichi Cup in 1983, won two U.S. Gymnastics Federation American Classics in 1983 and 1984 and won the All-Around title at both the 1984 National Championships and Olympic trials.

Retton’s post-professional sports career has included motivational speaking, serving as a corporate spokesperson, a “fitness ambassador” and national chairperson and member of the Board of Governors of the Children’s Miracle Network.

She also has been a commentator for NBC at the 1988 Olympics, wrote a daily column for USA Today during the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and co-hosted the weekly television series, “Road to Olympic Gold.” A married mother of four, Retton has also appeared as an actress on the big and small screens.

Other accolades include: 1984 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year, 1982 Associated Press Amateur Athlete of the Year, the first gymnast and youngest inductee into the USOC Olympic Hall of Fame, the first woman to appear on the Wheaties Box and one of America’s Top Ten “Most Admired” public figures.

The U.S. Olympic Committee established the annual Mary Lou Retton Award for athletic excellence in 1994. The following year, Retton was presented The Flo Hyman Award for her spirit, dignity and commitment to excellence by then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and was selected to be a member of the official White House delegation representing the U.S. president at the 1992 and 1998 Olympic Games.

Photo: - Mary Lou Retton

Contact: Jennifer Cook, assistant director of Hulman Center facilities, Indiana State University, 812-237-3770 or

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or