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Mary Lou Retton and Emma Jean Kelley | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley
Mary Lou Retton and Emma Jean Kelley | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley

Olympic Gymnast Mary Lou Retton's Daughter, 22, Gets Engaged to Footballer in Charming Place: 'Perfect' Photos

Taitirwa Sehliselwe Murape
Jul 02, 2024
07:50 A.M.

One of the daughters of Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton has gotten engaged to a dashing footballer. Emma Jean Kelley's beau popped the question in a charming place and the public is calling the engagement "perfect." Bursting with excitement, Kelley took to social media to share photos from the magical moment, which her friends celebrated later.

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Congratulations to Emma Jean Kelley, daughter of iconic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who recently got engaged to Hudson Clark! On July 1, the 22-year-old shared an array of endearing images from the joyous moment online and her followers are over the moon about her happy news.

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Foreshadowing her upcoming nuptials, Kelley was a vision in a mini white lace dress and matching block heels for the special day. Echoing the formality of the occasion, Clark looked dapper in a light blue dress shirt, beige chinos, and suede loafers.

Emma Jean Kelley and Hudson Clark sharing a tender embrace, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Emma Jean Kelley and Hudson Clark sharing a tender embrace, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

The carousel of photos Kelley posted on her Instagram account shows how elated the couple is to be engaged, with the cover image depicting how pleasantly surprised Kelley was when Clark got down on one knee.

Hudson Clark proposing to Emma Jean Kelley, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Hudson Clark proposing to Emma Jean Kelley, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

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Perfectly suited for his intention to make a lifelong commitment to his beloved, Clark chose a beautiful setting to propose to his future wife-to-be.

Hudson Clark proposing to Emma Jean Kelley, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Hudson Clark proposing to Emma Jean Kelley, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Images show the happy duo posing for pictures in the center of a stone platform surrounded by towering, cream-colored columns and trees. One heartfelt picture shows Kelley and Clark sharing a tender kiss as she places her left hand gently on his chest, showing off her stunning diamond ring.

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley sharing a tender kiss, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley sharing a tender kiss, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

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Another shows a beaming Kelley looking at Clark with eyes filled with love and joy as he places the gorgeous piece of jewelry on her ring finger with a huge smile. The fifth snap displays the couple in a warm embrace, with Clark towering over Kelley as he protectively cradles her head.

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture on their engagement day, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture on their engagement day, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Other pictures include more expressions of surprise as Clark opens the ring box to ask for Kelley's hand in marriage. The last image shows the pair sharing another kiss, but this time, Kelley holds out her left hand in front of the camera, giving her followers another glimpse of her rock.

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley sharing a kiss while Emma shows off her engagement ring, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley sharing a kiss while Emma shows off her engagement ring, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/emmajeankelley and hudsonclark1

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"WE'RE ENGAGED!! Couldn't be more excited and ready to walk God's path together!! My partner for life, I love you 💍💍🤍 Let's do this life together!! 🤞🏼🤞🏼," captioned Kelley alongside her post.

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Kelley's fans are just as excited as she is about her engagement and they took to the comment section of her post to praise her, express their happiness, and congratulate her. "[You're] gonna be the most beautiful bride [...] congrats [Emma]!!" exclaimed an admirer.

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Another fan gushed, "This is perfect." A particularly emotional follower on Instagram wrote, "I'm still crying." Online observers are not the only ones who have been celebrating the happy news, as the young gymnast's friends have also taken to Instagram to share their own posts congratulating Kelley and Clark.

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

Hudson Clark and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

A friend of the couple named Jensen Scalzo shared a carousel post on her social media showing ten photos of the celebration held in honor of the newly engaged couple over the weekend.

Emma Jean Kelley celebrating her engagement with her friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

Emma Jean Kelley celebrating her engagement with her friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

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Her photos ranged from group shots where Kelley was seen having fun with her friends at what looked to be an outdoor party. Additional pictures showed Scalzo posing for photos with other attendees.

Jensen Scalzo posing for a picture with friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

Jensen Scalzo posing for a picture with friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

A particularly striking picture shows Scalzo in a side-hug with Kelley as she shows off her ring by pointing her hand straight at the camera with a huge smile.

Jensen Scalzo and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

Jensen Scalzo and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

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Another shows a heartfelt moment where a bunch of Kelley's friends surround her as they hold her left hand up to draw further attention to her engagement ring. Accompanying Scalzo's post is a caption that reads, "10 pics from a 11/10 wknd ✨[...]💍 best friends are getting married —cheers to the future Clark's 🥂!!!!"

Jensen Scalzo and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture with friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

Jensen Scalzo and Emma Jean Kelley posing for a picture with friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/jensenscalzo

Blayre, another friend of Kelley's and Clark's, shared three pictures of the engagement celebration. The first shows her holding Kelley's left hand as they smile for the camera, and the second shows the same photo Scalzo shared of the entire group posing together.

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The last displays Blayre posing with Kelley and Clark. Highlighting the soon-to-be-bride in the frame, Kelley stood in between Clark and Blayre with her left hand held out in front of the camera.

Hudson Clark, Emma Jean Kelley and Blayre posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/b.layre

Hudson Clark, Emma Jean Kelley and Blayre posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/b.layre

Like Kelley's other friends, Blayre also accompanied her heartfelt photos with a short and sweet message. "Emma & Hud 4ever!!!! 💍," penned Blayre in her post's caption.

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"Spent the weekend celebrating the most deserving people💌Congratulations Em and Hud, I am so excited to watch y'all's love continue to grow [...] Love you forever!" said another of the couple's loved ones named Morgan LeighAnn Mullet.

Frankie Price, Emma Jean Kelley and Hudson Clark posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/frankieprice_

Frankie Price, Emma Jean Kelley and Hudson Clark posing for a picture, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/frankieprice_

Her pictures ranged from group photos to a few friends celebrating at what looked to be a bar and of course, another snap of the woman and man of the hour.

Hudson Clark, Emma Jean Kelley and Zach Zimos posing for a picture, posted July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/zach_zimos

Hudson Clark, Emma Jean Kelley and Zach Zimos posing for a picture, posted July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/zach_zimos

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Maddie Jones, another friend, penned an endearing message to Kelley and Clark and noted, "OUR GIRL IS ENGAGED!! Emma and Hud, I couldn't love y'all more and I can't wait for your future together!! Cheers to your forever love [...]💍🥂 #FUTURECLARKS 🤭🤭." She captioned this alongside more pictures from the celebration.

Frankie Price, Emma Jean Kelley, Maddie Jones, and Jensen Scalzo posing for a picture with friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/frankieprice_

Frankie Price, Emma Jean Kelley, Maddie Jones, and Jensen Scalzo posing for a picture with friends, posted on July 1, 2024 | Source: Instagram/frankieprice_

Adding to the well-wishes and congratulatory messages, Frankie Price shared her own endearing tribute to Kelley and Clark. She, too, mentioned how ecstatic she is for her friends, writing, "[I] will never get over this day [...] #engaged emma and hud, WE LOVE YOU! wishing you both a lifetime of love and happiness 💌."

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Another friend's tribute post was from Zach Zimos, who shared images of him and Clark celebrating with their male squad. "Great weekend with great people, celebrating the future Clark's! 🥂💍," Zimos expressed in his caption.

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The future certainly looks bright for the couple who are both athletes at the University of Arkansas. While Clark, who was born on February 17, 2001, is a footballer, Kelley is a Level 10 gymnast.

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Both come from a long line of successful sportswomen and sportsmen. Clark's dad and mom are also both graduates from Arkansas University and his dad currently works as the Senior Director of Suites & Events for the Dallas Cowboys.

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His grandfather is in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame following his 27-year tenure where he was the head football coach of Berryville. Kelley, as is widely known by the public already, comes from a line of talented gymnasts.

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In addition to her legendary mother—a 1984 Summer Olympics gold medalist, her sisters have also achieved great success in gymnastics. Kelley has forged a formidable track record as a gymnast, too.

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Her first year as a Level 10 gymnast saw her finish fourth "in the all-around at the Texas State Championships after turning in the top scores in the vault (9.800) and floor (9.675) events." She has also competed twice in the 2019 Kurt Thomas Invitational and the Star Struck Invitational.

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Following in her mother's gymnastic footsteps is not the only way Emma Jean Kelley, who also uses the sport to raise awareness and support for The Reynolds Cancer House and NWA Children's Hospital, takes after Mary Lou Retton. The mother and daughter have been dubbed twins by the public in the past.

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Emma is her mom's mini-me. Back in 2022, when her mother took to her Instagram to share photos of Emma and congratulate her after her team won, fans couldn't help but notice the striking resemblance.

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Many took to the comment section to share their thoughts. One fan wrote, "She looks just like you." Another person commented, "Awesome 👏👏👏 she's your twin." Someone else shared, "She has your smile! Congratulations!" while another fan added, "Beautiful! She smiles like her mom!"

In a post from last year (2023), shared by Emma, which featured her mother, the photo, like the one from 2022, garnered a lot of attention from her fans, with many highlighting, yet again, their beauty and resemblance.

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