Mary Lou Retton On The U.S. Gymnastics Team’s Chances For Redemption
First Published: August 14, 2008 8:32 PM EDT Credit:
BEIJING, China -- Tonight, the USA women’s gymnastics team is going for redemption in the individual all-around competition after China edged them out for team gold. Mary Lou Retton, America’s sweetheart from the 1984 games, knows a thing or two about coming back and winning.
She sat down in Beijing, China, with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush, where she gave him insight into the upcoming match ups.
“Tonight, in the all-arounds, will the girls bounce back from this upset?” Billy asked.
“Oh definitely,” Mary Lou replied. “I mean, they’ve already bounced back. And that’s the thing about Olympic gymnastics — we compete a full week, five days.”
Tonight, it’s every girl for herself, as America’s Shawn Johnson, reigning all-around champion takes on teammate Nastia Liukin, China’s champs, and the rest of the world.
“I think it’s gonna be a dogfight between Shawn and Nastia Liukin,” Mary Lou said.
“Will you be in there sitting on pins and needles?” Billy asked the gold medalist.
“Absolutely, and I have to say I’m a very nervous watcher,” Mary Lou said. “When I’m down there on the floor and I’m – ‘You’re in control, right?’ As an athlete that’s what we thrive on. But sitting in the stands watching is really hard.”
“How much does the crowd factor in?” Billy asked.
“A lot,” she explained. “Hey, I had U.S.A. in LA. Awesome experience.”
Mary Lou is one of only two U.S. American women to win the all-around competition (the other was Carly Patterson). Retton trained under the exuberant Bela Karolyi.
“You worked with Bela in 1984, 24 years ago, couldn’t understand a word he said then, can’t understand a word he says now?” Billy asked.
“Still,” Mary Lou laughed. “When you’re Bela Karolyi’s student, he’s got these [grunts] ‘Uh!’ ‘Oh!’ ‘Uh!’ and you know what he means.”
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