Mary Lou Retton may not have won the Mirror Ball Trophy, but she's leaving Dancing with the stars having achieved a personal victory.
"This has been the time of my life," said Retton, 50, on Monday after being eliminated.
During the sixth week of competition of the real dance competition series, Retton performed his final dance, a tango, with his professional partner Sasha Farber. With only a few minutes left for the live Halloween episode, it was announced by co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews that Retton was in danger along with his competitor Alexis Ren, but it was the retired gymnast who won the Olympic gold medal who was sent home.
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Although her time on the show came to an end, Retton is grateful for the way the series pushed her in more ways than one.
"I had not challenged myself in decades," Retton admitted to Bergeron, "and I challenged myself and had a new beginning."
In the episode on Monday, the public learned that Retton lived through one of the most difficult moments of his life this year: a divorce after almost three decades of marriage.
"I went through a divorce. The people do not know. It's the first time I say it publicly, "he told Farber during the rehearsal.
"After 27 years," she continued on her now ex-husband, Shannon Kelley.
Retton, who married Kelley in 1990, said they finalized their divorce in February, "so it's very new."
She admitted that the separation "was hard."
"I felt very lonely," he told Farber.
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Although their marriage came to an end, the athlete and her ex – share their daughters Shayla, 23, McKenna, 21, Skyla, 18, and Emma, 16, are on good terms.
"It's something that really had to happen for a long time," he said. "We still love each other, but we were not good together."
In the months since Retton joined. DWTS, she has learned a lot about the techniques of ballroom dancing and about herself.
"When I came here, I knew I was starting again and I was scared," he told Farber. "But now, I know I'm starting again, but I'm excited."
Dancing with the stars It airs on Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.