Who Is McKenna Kelley? New Details On Mary Lou Retton's Daughter And Her Perfect 10 At Gymnastics National Championships

She's a star in her own right.

Who Is McKenna Kelly? New Details On Mary Lou Who Is McKenna Kelley? New Details On Mary Lou Retton's Daughter And Her Perfect 10 At Gymnastics National ChampionshipsRetton's Daughter Instagram

Gymnastics is an incredibly challenging sport. You might look at the men and women who participate in the sport and think they look small, like real lightweights, but the truth couldn't be further from those wrong headed preconceptions. To be a gymnast on an elite level is putting your body to the ultimate test every single day of the week. That's something McKenna Kelley knows all too well. While you might not have heard of McKenna Kelley, you've definitely heard of her mother, Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton. Her mom may be a legend, but McKenna is not exactly a slouch herself! Now, she's making headlines of her own for her exceptional gymnastic prowess. Here's what you need to know about the awesome athlete. Who is McKenna Kelley?


1. Beginner's Luck?

When your mom is an Olympic athlete you've got to be pretty damn talented and pretty damn passionate about their preferred sport if you decide that it's something you want to pursue competitively for yourself! Mother of four and Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton retired from the sport way back in 1985. Retton was the first American lady to win the all around gold medal in gymnastics at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. It's funny to think of her retiring at the age of 17, and not just because she couldn't even drink yet, but because that's exactly how old her daughter McKenna Kelley was when she decided to start taking gymnastics seriously on a competitive level. Now, a senior at LSU, Kelley is helping helm the team and recently wowed judges with a perfect 10 floor routine at the NCAA National Championships.




A post shared by M C K E N N A (@mckennkelley) on Apr 25, 2019 at 5:35am PDT

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2. Two of A Kind

The perfect 10 floor routine came about last weekend at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships where McKenna competed with the rest of the LSU collegiate team. Mom Mary Lou was in the crowd looking on as McKenna gave the performance of a lifetime at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas. If there was ever any doubt that Retton fully supports her daughter's athletic ambitions they were wiped away in a video captured of the performance. Retton can be seen cheering her on, chanting "10, 10, 10" and later getting very emotional when her daughter's perfect score was finally announced. 




A post shared by M C K E N N A (@mckennkelley) on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:41am PST

3. Doing LSU Proud 

Kelley may be long-in-the-tooth for a gymnast, but that certainly didn't hurt her standings at the event. The senior, who is 22, had an overall score of 9.95, which is crazy high! In fact, her super high numbers were a big part of what led her team to take home the second place prize at the event. For Kelley, just competing has been a true reward since she was out for all of her junior year after tearing her Achilles tendon. “I really commend her,” her coach said. “She’s worked really hard to come back from a serious injury, did two events and was ready to do beam tonight. She has done an amazing job.” 



A post shared by M C K E N N A (@mckennkelley) on Mar 2, 2019 at 8:29am PST

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4. Another Year?

Because of her stellar performance on the team this year, LSU would be thrilled to have this senior come back next year, despite the fact that she will technically have already graduated from the school. Interestingly, this would be allowed because being out for an entire year with an injury has earned her the right to come back for another year. This is a practice known as redshirting. It maintains an athlete's four years of eligibility when they are sidelined by injury. McKenna is playing coy with the press and keeping her true feeling about her plans for the future to herself. “I’m really not sure," she was quoted as saying when pressed by the local news. It's a tough decision. Sure, she's at her peak right now, but wouldn't that make it the perfect time to walk away? Conversely, if it's just another year, why not come back and support your teammates?




A post shared by M C K E N N A (@mckennkelley) on Feb 25, 2019 at 7:16am PST

5. What The Future Holds

Graduating from college is a scary time for anyone and with her newfound success and so many potential paths opening up in front of her, the future is McKenna's for taking. It's all a question about what she thinks will serve her best going forward. You can bet with a mom like Mary Lou, she's going to get some great advice. “There’s light peeking through the door,” Kelley said. “I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’m thinking about how tonight went. I’m thinking about the group of girls I love. I’m thinking about my senior class. I’m thinking about my body. I’m also thinking about what I could do out of this sport and what this sport has given me.”



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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr