The Olympian We Knew As Bruce: Caitlyn Jenner In The '70s

By | January 26, 2018

test article image
Bruce Jenner Holding His Gold Medal (Original Caption) USA's Bruce Jenner, San Jose, CA., displays the gold medal he won in the Olympic decathlon here 7/30. Source: Bettmann / Getty Images

The Olympic athlete today known as Caitlyn Jenner is extremely famous, mainly because she was on the most popular reality show of all time, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She spent most of her time on the show as Bruce Jenner, husband of Kris Jenner, stepfather of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and biological father of Kylie and Kendall Jenner.

But to those of us who remember a time before Kardashians and before reality TV, Bruce Jenner was primarily known as a record-setting Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon and, unofficially, the world's greatest athlete.

Jenner’s father, William Jenner, was a rugged man who had competed in the 1945 U.S. Army Olympics in Nuremberg, Germany. His father was extremely proud and was not surprised that his son would eventually excel as an athlete as he and Jenner’s grandfather had.  Jenner knew early on what was expected of him. From an early age, he knew he was expected to become an athlete and reportedly also developed an athletic physique at an early age. Jenner reports that he had developed an athletic body as early as age 2.

Jenner Was An Athlete From Birth

test article image

Because Bruce Jenner had athletic tendencies similar to his father, much was expected of him. Jenner’s perceived daily reality, however, was that he was less than perfect. This belief was based on the fact that he had been diagnosed as having a learning disability and was quite possibly dyslexic. Jenner was always fearful that he would be singled out for his disability.

Jenner always felt as though he was inferior to his peers. That, in and of itself, compounded his fears. As a child, he was constantly afraid that one of his teachers would single him out to read aloud or perform in front of the class in some way.