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Retton Retires at 18 for New Goal--Grades

September 29, 1986|From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton today announced her retirement from gymnastics to concentrate on her studies at the University of Texas.

"I'm now attending college, and I love it," Retton, 18, a communications major, said at a news conference.

"I really had to stop my education at the 10th-grade level," she said. "I had to do correspondence to graduate. It really wasn't the best education I could have gotten and I think now it's time to pursue my education."

Earlier today, the Texas freshman told David Hartman on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" that the decision was difficult.

"It's very hard," she said. "I'm quite nervous.

"Gymnastics has been my life but I reached my goal. I owe a lot to gymnastics," added Retton, who cashed in on her fame in numerous advertisements.

Retton, who won five medals during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, said she took the entire summer off from gymnastics after feeling "physically and mentally drained."

"Now I'm going to pursue an education," Retton said. "Now my goal is to make good grades."

She said she wants "to keep involved in the sport of gymnastics," as a commentator or coach.

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