Favorite Olympic Moments: Mary Lou Retton Claims Gold In Los Angeles

I know, I know. This is a WVU sports blog. And while we do focus almost exclusively on WVU sports, there is an undeniable bond that is shared between the people of West Virginia and West Virginia University and all the other things that being a West Virginian is all about---mountains, moonshine, Tudor's Biscuit World, the New River Gorge, The Greenbrier---I could go on for days. We get each other. We pull for each other. So when the folks at the mothership asked us to discuss our favorite moment from the Summer Olympics, there can only be one:


In the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, a 16 year-old high school sophomore from Fairmont, West Virginia, named Mary Lou Retton scored perfect 10s on both the floor exercise and the vault to win the all-around Gold Medal by 0.05 points. The victory was historic for the United States and in the world of women's gymnastics because, despite the USSR's boycott of the games, Retton became the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win all-around Gold. She also became the first American female gymnast to win a gold medal in gymnastics. In addition to the all-around gold, the Fairmont native won Silver Medals for team and vault and Bronze Medals in the uneven bars and floor exercise. Those five medals were the most of any athlete at the '84 Games.

Even though I was only 2 years old at the time, I can still remember the pride and excitement the entire state of West Virginia shared over Retton's historic performance. It's not often that a West Virginia native draws national (let alone international) acclaim, and the dramatic finish capped off by perfect 10s on the floor exercise and the vault only added to the fervor. I may even still have the Wheaties box featuring Retton's triumphant pose stashed away in the basement somewhere. That day was truly a great day to be a West Virginian, and while current WVU rifle coach John Hammond has a chance to claim Olympic glory this summer as he shoots for his native Great Britain, it's unlikely that anyone will ever capture the state's heart like Mary Lou Retton did in the summer of 1984.

Celebrate the most compelling moments in Summer Games history with 'Memorable Moments' on Yahoo! Sports. Re-live moments such as Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10s in Montreal, Michael Phelps' record eight gold medals in Beijing, Carl Lewis' unforgettable four gold medals in Los Angeles, the spectacular success of the 1992 US Dream Team, Muhammad Ali in Rome and Atlanta, and any more!

These special moments are showcased through exclusive video, iconic photos, and stories on Yahoo!'s hub dedicated to the coverage of the Games. Enjoy the unique storytelling from Yahoo! Sports' award-winning writers and experts, as well as through the lens of Yahoo!'s users themselves.

Check out Memorable Moments on Yahoo! Sports!

[H/T marylouretton.com]

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