Mary Lou Retton cheers gymnast daughter's near-perfect routine

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

When Louisiana State University gymnast McKenna Kelley nailed the final floor routine of the night at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships on Saturday, no one was prouder than her mom, Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton.

Retton, 51, was in the audience watching as her daughter's performance earned a sky-high score of 9.95, mere hundredths from the coveted perfect 10.

McKenna Kelley, left, and her mom, Mary Lou Retton, at the 1984 Summer Olympics.AP

Retton, the first American woman to win the individual all-around gold medal in gymnastics, flashed "perfect 10" fingers and blew kisses to Kelley, whose seamless routine helped her team finish second at the competition.

Later, the proud mom took to Instagram to share a photo with her 22-year-old daughter.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

"Wow what a night! Senior night topped off with a PERFECT 10 on the floor #priceless #beyondproud #mckennasmom," she gushed in the caption.

For Kelley, a senior at LSU, the night was a triumphant personal comeback. Last year, the athlete tore her Achilles tendon and spent the season on the sidelines.

Kelley didn't pursue elite gymnastics until she was 17 — the same age Retton was when she retired from the sport, just one year after her history-making victory at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

For some fans in attendance, watching Kelley's mom cheer on her performance brought back heartwarming memories of those Olympic games.

Just 16 at the time, Retton — who underwent knee surgery just five weeks before the Olympics — went on to score perfect 10s on both the floor exercises and the vault.

The tiny powerhouse, who was dubbed "America's sweetheart" at the time, left Los Angeles with two additional silver medals and two bronzes — the most won by any athlete during that summer's games, which was boycotted by the Soviet Union and the East bloc.

Over the years, the Olympic champion — and her enthusiastic cheers from the stands — have been a constant presence at her daughter's competitions.

In fact, in 2016, Retton told ESPN she'd once vowed to Kelley, whose dad is Retton's husband, Shannon Kelley, that she'd try to tone it down.

"I tell her every season, 'McKenna, I'm really gonna do it this season. I'm gonna sit down like most of the other parents and just clap when you go and be quiet and civilized.' And I just can't help myself!" she shared, laughing.

As for Kelley, she seemed tickled by her mom's pride.

"Her voice is so distinct, and I can always hear it in the crowd," she told ESPN. "She's a hollerer, for sure."