Caitlyn Jenner glitters on Sports Illustrated cover

The cover photo also marks the first time Jenner has publicly worn the medal since she stood on the podium in Montreal 40 years ago. Photo / Sports Illustrated
The cover photo also marks the first time Jenner has publicly worn the medal since she stood on the podium in Montreal 40 years ago. Photo / Sports Illustrated

Caitlyn Jenner is a vision in gold on the new cover of Sports Illustrated, showing off her Olympic medal in a shiny sequin jumpsuit.

The 66-year-old reality star, who won gold at the 1976 Montreal Games in the decathlon, also reveals to the magazine where she keeps her prized hardware, the Daily Mail has reported.

In the interview, Jenner at one point walks over to her vanity and pulls out a makeup bag to reveal the wooden box holding the medal, telling the writer: "Here it is. In my nail drawer. That's what you can say: It was in the nail drawer."

The cover photo also marks the first time Jenner has publicly worn the medal since she stood on the podium in Montreal 40 years ago.

In the interview Jenner also speaks about how her life now, and what she is doing as a transgender advocate, is so much more important than winning that medal.

"Sports. It's not real life," says Jenner.

"You go out there, you work hard, you train your ass off, win the Games. I'm very proud of that part of my life. And it's not like I just want to throw it out. It's part of who I am.
What I'm dealing with now, this is about who you are as a human being. What did I do for the world in 1976, besides maybe getting a few people to exercise a little bit? I didn't make a difference in the world."

That is why she explains she decided to transition publicly, and not keep it private or disappear from the world.

"Maybe I could make a difference. This issue doesn't deserve to be in the gutter anymore,' says Jenner of the benefits of her decision to very publicly transition.

Chris Mosier, a transgender triathlete who was recently featured in the ESPN's annual body issue, points out in the interview: "I feel like, now, nobody can say they don't know a transgender person, because she is that famous."

"She has brought about this awareness among people who are attuned to pop culture and media. Challenges that trans people face have really come to light since she's come out."

Jenner will not however speak about whether or not she has had or plans to have gender reassignment surgery, saying: "It's nobody's business whether I want to do that to my body."

Jenner has stated in the past how the decathlon was a distraction at the time from her feelings that she was in fact a woman trapped inside the wrong body, and once again speaks about this in her interview.

"For those two days in July of 1976, I was the best in the world at what I did," says Jenner.

The fame that followed Jenner's Olympic victory however has allowed her to now be such a large presence in both the LGBTQ and, more specifically, transgender communities.

"'If I had not won the Games, if I was not on the Wheaties box and I hadn't become this, um, this . . . celebrity, would all of this have happened?" asks Jenner at one point during the interview.

"Certainly life would have been different. The gender issues, I was never getting away from. But things would have been different.

"I would hope I would be doing some of the things I'm doing today, but certainly not on the same scale."

That is one of the reasons she explains that she choose to wear the medal on the cover for the first time in four decades.

"It's a picture that brings attention to this issue," says Jenner.

"That's the important thing. That's why I wore the medal."

Jenner joked about her life now at one point when pointing out the she has won an Olympic gold medal in the men's decathlon and a Glamour Woman of the Year award.

"This has got to be the greatest double of all time, right? It will never be matched," says Jenner.

The interview also reminds readers just how impressive Jenner's record-breaking feat was at the 1976 Olympics, noting that her numbers who have qualified her for a spot on the current Olympic team, an unheard of feat in the sports world.

To get in that shape required years of hard work and training, and as a result gave Jenner the body of an Adonis, something she did not care for at all at the time.

"It disgusted me. I was big and thick and masculine. The rest of the world thought it was this Greek god kind of body. I hated it," says Jenner.

"But it's what I was given, so I just tried to do the best I could with it."

This feeling of disgust Jenner had with her body is one of the reasons she began considering plastic surgery at such a young age she explains, wanting to have procedures done almost immediately after the Olympic Games.

"I was always considering plastic surgery," says Jenner.

"When you're gender dysphoric, you're constantly looking at yourself and seeing things that don't look right."

Jenner is still incredibly proud of 'Bruce' however she explains in the interview, and that performance in Montreal along with all the hard work in the years leading up to the historic victory.

"I loved Bruce. I still love him today. I like what he did and the way he set an example for hard work and dedication. I'm proud of that part of my life," says Jenner.

"But this woman was living inside me, all my life, and it reached the point where I had to let her live and put Bruce inside. And I am happier, these last 12 months, than I've ever been in my life."

It is a far cry from 40 years ago when Jenner says she woke up in her hotel room and stood in front of her mirror naked, wearing nothing but her gold medal.
"I said out loud, "What the hell am I going to do now?"' says Jenner.

Jill Soloway, the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning creator of the groundbreaking series Transparent, which tells the story of a transgender woman in her 60s, speaks in the interview about Jenner's Olympic victory as well, and how it plays such a key role in the public's reaction to Caitlyn.

"The most significant thing to me about 1976 is that she was an American hero. And it wasn't just about an Olympic medal, it was about an Olympic medal in the most American of years," says Soloway, referencing that year's American bicentennial.

"You think about the gold medal and flag and running shorts, and you have that image in your heart. To not support Caitlyn now is, in some ways, a destruction of a part of you that believes in a certain ideal of American heroism."

Soloway - who is now friends with Jenner and whose own father is transgender - also says that the very thing some people attack the reality star about shows in some way how far people have come in accepting members of the transgender community.

Jenner has come under fire in the past year for focusing too much on the physical aspects of her transition, and even says at one point during 40 Years After Gold while having her hair and makeup done: "I'm telling you this girl thing is a lot of work."

Soloway however sees a positive side to the more physical reaction to Jenner, noting: "People are talking about whether Kris or Caitlyn has the better dress, instead of, "Hey, Kris's partner is transgender."

"So Caitlyn becomes just another Kardashian plot, instead of being transgender. That's a totally positive thing."

- Daily Mail

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