Back in 1984, gymnast Mary Lou Retton tumbled into the spotlight, as the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. She retired from the sport two years later, and has been keeping busy since raising her four daughters, working as a motivational speaker and an avid charity supporter. Which brings us to our recent discussion—about Mary Lou’s partnership with Procter & Gamble for the upcoming Special Olympics World Games.
You probably made mom breakfast in bed yesterday or treated her to a bouquet of flowers, but Mary Lou has another way to honor your mom in case you’re looking for a free way to give mom another present while giving back!
How did you first get involved with the Special Olympics?
I began working with the Special Olympics in 1982 because I believe in their mission to provide people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to try new things, challenge themselves and build self-esteem. As a former Olympic athlete, that message really resonates with me. And as a mother, I know the sacrifices all moms makes so their children can have every opportunity they deserve.
How can our readers join you in supporting this great cause?
Everyone can get involved by visiting P&G’s “Thank You Mom” Facebook page, which includes profiles and videos of Special Olympic Team USA athletes and their moms. There’s also a feature where people can create a video tribute to their own mom, kids or family. The best part is that for every video made, commented on “liked,” or shared, P&G will donate $1 to support Special Olympics Team USA’s journey to the World Games in Athens. This will help fulfill the wish of every Special Olympics mom—to see their son or daughter get the chance to reach their full potential.
How do you stay fit as a busy mom of four?
If I don’t workout in the morning, it won’t get done at all. Once the girls get home from school I become a taxi, driving them around all evening long to their sports and activities. In terms of my diet, lean protein, veggies and fruits are mainstays, then I give myself one splurge day each week to eat whatever I want!
What are your goals for the future? Could we ever expect to see you on any reality TV shows?
Being a full-time mom while my daughters are in the house is my top priority. But I would love to do Dancing with the Stars one day!
The Special Olympics World Summer Games will take place in Athens, Greece from June 25-July 4, 2011. You can contribute a video on the “Thank You Mom” Facebook page from now until the opening ceremonies.
More from FITNESS: What It Takes to Be an Olympic Athlete