40 years after winning an Olympic gold medal, Caitlyn Jenner said that sports were 'the perfect distraction'

Caitlyn jennerKevin Winter/Getty ImagesCaitlyn fondly remembers her Olympic win.

Caitlyn Jenner has reflected on her gold medal 40 years after winning the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics.

Jenner opened up to Sports Illustrated about how her Olympic experience shaped her life and career and how she is still proud of Bruce.

In her interview, Jenner described the decathlon as “the perfect distraction” and explained that even while training for the Olympics, she was still struggling with gender dysphoria, but threw her focus into the decathlon.

“Little Caitlyn has been in there since I was [small],” she said. “Sometimes she raised her cute little head more than others. I was female inside, but I wasn’t an effeminate male. So I could hide easily in the male world. My life was distraction after distraction after distraction. Being a macho male was a way for me to try to convince myself that the woman living inside of me really isn’t living inside me.”

But Jenner says she often thinks about what her life would be like if she had never particpated in the Olympics.

“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?” Jenner asked. “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.”

Jenner told Sports Illustrated that she still reflects fondly on her Olympic career.

“I still love [Bruce] today,” she said. “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. 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.”

A 22-minute film accompanies the cover story.

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