Mary Lou Retton was the first ever American woman to win the all-around gold medal at the Olympics…. and was the only one to do so for twenty years…as she is credited with being a pioneering figure in American women’s gymnastics….including by the four American women who have since equaled her feat consecutively….Carly Patterson at the Athens Games in 2004….Nastia Liukin at the Beijing Games in 2008 ….Gabby Douglas at the London Game in 2012….and Simone Biles in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. Furthermore, prior to Retton’s Olympic triumph….no American woman had won all-around gold at the World Championships….and since then, eight Americans have done so a combined eleven times….which gives significant evidence as to how much Mary Lou’s 1984 gold affected women’s gymnastics in America. Even more impressive is that Retton won her 1984 medals after she had recovered (partially through benefit of surgery) from injuries that otherwise could have ruined her athletic career before it even began. Any way you cut the pie….Mary Lou Retton became America’s Little Darling after her Gold…. evidenced by this interview with Pat OBrien at the NBA All Star Game.