Mary Lou Retton

updated 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

America's Sweetheart Settles Down
When Mary Lou Retton first vaulted onto the pages of PEOPLE on Nov. 28, 1983, she was a perky, piston-thighed 15-year-old Olympic hopeful. "I want to reach my peak," she said at the time. Nine months later, the spunky 4'9" gymnast captured the all-around gold and four other Olympic medals in the '84 Summer Games in Los Angeles. The first U.S. female gymnast to win a gold Olympic medal, period, Retton became the darling of corporate America, appearing in ads for Wheaties, Pony and Vidal Sassoon. Now settled in Houston with husband Shannon Kelley, 28, a former University of Texas quarterback, Retton is working on a fitness video for young children. She also gives motivational speeches around the country. "I tell people," she says, "how to leave the comfort zone and meet life's challenges."

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