Mary Lou Retton was 4 feet, 9 inches of muscle and grit, claiming the ’84 Games as her own

Olympic Gold Medalist - Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the all-around competition.
(Pam Francis/Getty Images)

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Helene Elliott joined the Los Angeles Times’ sports department in 1989. She became the first female journalist to be honored with a plaque in the Hall of Fame of a major professional sport as the 2005 winner of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Elmer Ferguson Award, awarded to writers “who have brought honor to journalism and to hockey.” A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, she has covered 16 Olympics. She recently crossed covering Wimbledon off her bucket list.