Mary Lou Retton Then: It was the perfect place for her to shine. The 1984 Summer Olympics were set in Los Angeles. And since the nation had boycotted the 1980 Games, the nation was eager for the next chapter of its Olympic story. Enter Mary Lou Retton. The West Virginia teen with the trademark smile and spunky demeanor literally vaulted her way to the top. Retton won the all-around gold medal and the heart of the nation, too.