Mary Lou Retton says she was almost put on life support during hospitalization

The gold medalist was making steady progress from a rare form of pneumonia.

Olympic champion Mary Lou Retton said she was nearly put on life support when she was hospitalized with a rare form of pneumonia in October.

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Retton, 55, who captivated Americans after winning the all-around women’s gymnastics title at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, made the comments during an interview that is set to run on “Today” on Monday.

The show ran teaser clips Sunday from the exclusive interview with the former gymnast. The five-time Olympics medal winner was using a portable oxygen apparatus as her lungs healed, according to “Today.”

Retton spoke from her home in Boerne, Texas, along with her eldest daughter, Shayla Schrepfer. Retton said that she is “very private” and that most of her interviews are, “Oh yes, it felt great to win the Olympics!’”

Retton told “Today’s” Hoda Kotb that her condition had advanced to the point where doctors considered putting her on life support.

“This is serious, and this is life, and I’m so grateful to be here,” Retton said during the interview. “I am blessed to be here because there was a time when they were about to put me on life support.”

Retton had been in an intensive care unit for more than a week when her family announced her condition on Oct. 10, The New York Times reported.

Retton was nicknamed “America’s Sweetheart” after her performance at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Reuters reported.

She became the first U.S. woman to win the all-around gold medal or any individual Olympic medal in gymnastics, the Times reported. Going into the final rotation of the competition, Retton trailed Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo by five-hundredths of a point and needed a perfect 10 on the vault to win.

Retton came through with a perfect score.

Retton won five medals in Los Angeles, including two silvers (team and vault) and two bronzes (uneven bars and floor exercise), the Times reported.

She was also featured on a Wheaties box.

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