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Bruce Jenner

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Bruce Jenner
Bruce Jenner.jpg
Bruce Jenner in March 2011
Born William Bruce Jenner
(1949-10-28) October 28, 1949 (age 65)
Mt. Kisco, New York, U.S.
Residence Malibu, California, U.S.
Education Newtown High School
Alma mater Graceland University
Years active 1970–present
Television Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Chrystie Crownover (m. 1972–81)
Linda Thompson (m. 1981–86)
Kris Houghton (m. 1991–2015)
Children Brandon Jenner
Brody Jenner
Kendall Jenner
Kylie Jenner
Burt Jenner
Casey Jenner
Sports career
Country United States
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Decathlon
College team Graceland Yellowjackets
Coached by L. D. Weldon
Bert Bonanno
Randy Trentman

William Bruce Jenner (born October 28, 1949) is an American former track and field athlete and current television personality.

Jenner came to international attention when he won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal. Subsequently he starred in several made-for-TV movies and was briefly Erik Estrada's replacement on the TV series CHiPs.

Jenner was married for nearly 24 years to Kris Jenner (formerly Kardashian); the couple and their children appeared beginning in 2007 on the television reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Following his divorce in 2015, Jenner came out in a television interview as a trans woman, although still preferring male pronouns until his transition is more complete.[1] Many news sources have described Jenner as the most famous openly transgender American.[2][3][4]

Early life

William Bruce Jenner was born on October 28, 1949, in Mount Kisco, New York,[5] the son of Esther R. (née McGuire) and William Hugh Jenner, a tree surgeon.[6][7] Jenner has two sisters, Lisa and Pam,[8] while his younger brother, Burt, was killed in a car accident in Canton, Connecticut, shortly after Jenner's success at the Olympics.[9] Jenner was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young child.[10]

He attended Sleepy Hollow High School in Sleepy Hollow, New York, during his freshman and sophomore years,[11][12] and then Newtown High School in Newtown, Connecticut, during his junior and senior years, graduating in 1968.[13] Jenner earned a football scholarship and attended Graceland College (now Graceland University) in Lamoni, Iowa, but was forced to stop playing football and switch to the decathlon due to a knee injury.[14] Graceland's track coach and Jenner's mentor, L. D. Weldon, was the first to recognize Jenner's potential and encouraged the youngster to pursue the decathlon.[15] Jenner debuted in the decathlon at the Drake Relays in Des Moines in 1970, placing fifth.[16] Jenner graduated from Graceland College in 1973 with a degree in physical education.[17]

Olympic career

At the 1972 decathlon U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, Jenner was in fifth place behind Steve Gough and Andrew Pettes. Needing to make up a 19-second gap on Gough in the 1500 meters, Jenner ran a fast last lap, separating himself from his rivals by 22 seconds to make the Olympic team. The Eugene Register-Guard asked "Who's Jenner?"[18][19] He went on to finish in 10th place at the 1972 Summer Olympics held in Munich, Germany.[20] Jenner sold insurance at night (earning him $9,000 a year[21]) while training during the day.[22] During that period, he spent eight hours a day at the San Jose City College track,[citation needed] along with his Lab Bertha.[23][24] In the era before professionalism was allowed in athletics, this kind of training was unheard of. Centered around Bert Bonanno, the coach at SJCC, San Jose at the time was a hotbed for training aspiring Olympic athletes called at the time the "Track Capital of the World",[22] including Jenner, along with Millard Hampton, Andre Phillips, John Powell, Mac Wilkins, Al Feuerbach, and others.[24][25] Still early in his career, he was featured on the cover of Track and Field News on their August 1974 issue.[26] In 1974 and 1976, Jenner was the American champion in the event.[27] While on tour in 1975, he also won the French national championship.[28] Jenner's best events were the skill events of the second day,[29][30] where his intense training showed.

At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, he won the gold medal in the decathlon,[31] setting a world record of 8,616 points, beating his own world record set at the Olympic Trials.[19] He hit a "home run" by achieving personal bests on the first day, turning his notorious second day into a gold medal coronation.[30] Jenner stated, "It hurts every day when you practice hard. Plus, when this decathlon is over, I got the rest of my life to recuperate. Who cares how bad it hurts?"[30]

Jenner's world record was broken by just 4 points by Daley Thompson in 1980. In 1985, the IAAF decathlon scoring table was changed; Jenner's winning score was reevaluated against that table and reported as 8,634 for comparative purposes. The converted mark stood as the American record until 1991 when it was surpassed by eventual gold medalist and world record holder Dan O'Brien.[32] As of 2011, Jenner is No. 25 on the world all-time list and the No. 9 American.[33]

As a result of winning the Olympic decathlon, Jenner was a national hero. He was the 1976 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Jenner was also the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976.[14] He was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, the Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980. He was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.[34]

San Jose City College hosted the "Bruce Jenner Invitational" (frequently shortened to "Jenner Invitational") as a televised annual stop on the United States Track and Field Circuit (a meet equivalent in stature to the Prefontaine Classic). Records were set at the meet, with Jenner frequently hosting the telecasts.[35]

Post-Olympic career

Taking advantage of his Olympic fame

In the 1970s, Olympic athletes were considered amateur and were not allowed to seek or accept payment for their positions as sports celebrities. In 1972, during the Cold War, three major Olympic titles that had a long history of American success, basketball, 100 meters, and decathlon, were won by Soviet athletes. Winning back the decathlon title made Jenner an American hero. Tony Kornheiser of The New York Times stated, "Jenner is twirling the nation like a baton. He and wife, Chrystie, are so high up on the pedestal of American heroism, it would take a crane to get them down."[30]

Jenner (right) greets Liberian president William Tolbert at the White House on September 21, 1976, as U.S. president Gerald Ford looks on.

After his Olympic success, Jenner decided to cash in on his celebrity status, requiring him to forgo any future Olympic appearances. He left his vaulting poles in the stadium, having no intention of ever using them again. His agent, George Wallach, felt at the time he had a four-year window as holder to the title of "World's Greatest Athlete" to capitalize upon. Wallach reported Jenner was being considered for the role of Superman, which ultimately went to Christopher Reeve. Even Bertha was considered for a dog food commercial.[23] Quickly after the Games, Jenner appeared on the front of Wheaties brand breakfast cereal as a "Wheaties champion". Of several hundred athletes who have been so featured, Jenner is one of seven Wheaties "spokesmen". On September 21, 1976, Jenner was an invited guest to a White House dinner with U.S. president Gerald Ford and Liberian president William Tolbert among others.[36]

On November 22, 1977, Jenner went to San Francisco to refute charges filed by the San Francisco district attorney that General Mills, the makers of Wheaties, had been engaged in false advertising. Jenner contended that he likes the cereal and consumes this breakfast cereal two to three times per week. Two days later, District Attorney Joseph Freitas withdrew the false advertising suit against General Mills for its advertising campaign featuring Jenner, saying that it was "a case of overzealousness" on the part of his staff.[37] That same year, the Kansas City Kings selected Jenner with the 140th pick of the NBA draft. Jenner had not played basketball since high school.[38]

TV and film career

Jenner starred in the disco-era Village People comedy, Can't Stop the Music (1980). The movie was a flop. Jenner was nominated for the 1980 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his performance in the film, and the film won the Award for Worst Picture.

Jenner has had some success in a television career. He starred in the made-for-TV movies The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story (1980) and Grambling's White Tiger (1981). From 1981 to 1982, he became a semi-regular cast member on the police series CHiPs, guest-starring as Officer Steve McLeish (substituting for star Erik Estrada, who was lodged in a contract dispute with NBC and MGM), for six episodes. He also appeared on an episode of the sitcom Silver Spoons called "Trouble with Words", wherein he revealed his dyslexia in a storyline that dealt with a teenaged recurring character dealing with the same problem. He appeared on the series Learn To Read and in the video games Olympic Decathlon (1981) and Bruce Jenner's World Class Decathlon (1996).

His "hero shot", the finish of the final event of 1976 Olympic decathlon, and Wheaties cover were parodied by John Belushi on Saturday Night Live endorsing "Little Chocolate Donuts".[39]

Jenner has appeared as himself on a variety of game shows and reality television programs. He starred with Grits Gresham in an episode of ABC's The American Sportsman.[40] The program featured Gresham hunting, fishing, or shooting in exotic spots with celebrities. In the early 1990s, Jenner was the host of an infomercial for a stair-climbing exercise machine called the Stair Climber Plus.[41]

In January 2002, Jenner participated in an episode of the American series The Weakest Link, featuring Olympic athletes. In February and March 2003, he was part of the cast of the American series I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. He had a cameo appearance in a season-three episode of The Apprentice, which aired in May 2005. He was partnered with Tai Babilonia for Skating with Celebrities in an series that aired January–March 2006 (they were eliminated during the fifth of seven episodes). Jenner served as a guest judge on Pet Star on Animal Planet, and appeared on NBC's game show Identity, as well as Celebrity Family Feud with his family. In November 2010, a photograph of Jenner played the role of a janitorial resume in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Other television and talk show appearances by Jenner include Nickelodeon's made-for-TV film Gym Teacher: The Movie as well as episodes of Murder, She Wrote, Family Guy, Pet Star on Animal Planet, Identity, Lingo Olympic Winners episode and Celebrity Family Feud as well as such talk shows as Hannity[42] and The Bonnie Hunt Show.[episode needed]

Since late 2007, Jenner has starred in the E! reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians along with wife Kris Jenner, stepchildren Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Rob (from Kris' marriage to attorney Robert Kardashian), and daughters Kylie and Kendall.[citation needed] Season 2 attracted an average of 1.6 million viewers, an increase over the previous season.[43] Jenner has also made cameo appearances on the show's spinoff series.

In 2011, Jenner appeared in the Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill in a scene with Al Pacino as an actor in a play. Like Can't Stop The Music the film won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture.

Auto-racing career

Jenner was a successful race car driver in the IMSA Camel GT series (International Motor Sports Association) in the 1980s. His first victory came in the 1986 12 hours of Sebring in the IMSA GTO class driving the 7-Eleven Roush Racing Ford Mustang with co-driver Scott Pruett, not only winning their class but finishing 4th overall in the 12-hour endurance race. His most successful year was also 1986, when he finished second in the championship to Pruett.[44][45] Jenner commented on this aspect of his career, "I was a lot more badass runner than I was a driver."[46]


Jenner's company, Bruce Jenner Aviation, sells aircraft supplies to executives and corporations.[21] Jenner was the business development vice president for a staffing industry software application known as JennerNet, which was based on Lotus Domino technology.[47]

Jenner licensed his name for Bruce Jenner's Westwood Centers for Nautilus & Aerobics in the early 1980s, though he had no ownership in the centers,[21] which were owned by David Cirotto.[48] The centers were sold to Super Fitness Centers, owned by martial arts expert Paul Snow.[citation needed]

Personal life

Jenner is a Christian, leans politically conservative, and is a Republican.[49][50] His first marriage was to Chrystie Crownover from 1972 to 1981. They have two children, son Burton and daughter Cassandra, known as Burt and Casey respectively.[51][52] Jenner and Crownover's divorce was finalized the first week of January 1981.[53] The same week, on January 5, 1981, Jenner married his second wife, actress Linda Thompson, at the Oahu, Hawaii, home of film producer Allan Carr.[54] By February 1986, Jenner and Thompson had separated, and they subsequently divorced.[55] Jenner and Thompson have two sons together, Brandon and Sam Brody, known as Brody.[56] The two sons starred on the reality show The Princes of Malibu. Brody Jenner was also on the reality show The Hills.

Jenner married his third wife, Kris Kardashian (née Houghton), on April 21, 1991, after five months of dating.[57] They have two daughters, Kendall and Kylie. Jenner was also the stepfather to Kris' four children from her previous marriage to the late lawyer Robert Kardashian: Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Rob. The couple announced their separation in October 2013,[58] though they had actually separated a year earlier.[59] Kris filed for divorce in September 2014, citing irreconcilable differences.[60] Their divorce terms were finalized in December 2014 and went into effect on March 23, 2015, due to a six-month state legal requirement.[61]

In February 2015, Jenner was involved in a multiple-vehicle collision on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. The accident caused one death, and eight others were injured. Jenner was able to walk away from the accident.[62][63][64] The stepchildren of the deceased filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jenner in relation to the incident.[65][66]

Gender transition

In an April 24, 2015 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Jenner shared that he is a trans woman and has dealt with gender dysphoria since his youth. He said that for all intents and purposes, "I’m a woman." Jenner cross dressed for many years[67] and began a physical transition in the 1980s with hormone replacement therapy, but quit after meeting Kris Kardashian in the early 1990s.[68] Jenner prefers to be seen as male until he reveals his feminine side publicly. He plans to share his new name when he more fully transitions, although he referred to himself as "her" and called his emerging identity "she" when talking with Sawyer.[67] His transition is also the subject of an eight-part documentary series starting July 2015. While he has undergone some cosmetic surgery as part of transitioning, he has not ruled out gender reassignment surgery, and feels life as a woman is primarily a matter of mental state and lifestyle.[69] He said he has never been attracted to men and has always been heterosexual, but currently identifies as asexual.[70][71]

Jenner's announcement came at an unprecedented time for trans visibility, including legislative initiatives.[72][73] The 20/20 interview had 20.7 million viewers, making it television's "highest-ever rated newsmagazine telecast among adults 18–49 and adults 25–54."[74] The Daily Beast noted that it may have been Jenner's "honesty, his vulnerability, or his fame" but he may have made "cheap jokes" about trans people, some aired during the show as part of the interview's educating the public on transphobia, "seem mean to a mainstream audience on an unprecedented scale."[75] Using examples of how comedians had changed in their talking about Jenner's transition, The Daily Beast saw the change as the same evolution that took place in acceptance of LGBT people as a whole when "comedians finally cross the critical threshold from mockery to creativity in their joke-telling."[75]

See also


  1. ^ Slonik, Daniel (April 24, 2015). "Bruce Jenner Says He Identifies as a Woman". The New York Times. For the purpose of the interview, Mr. Jenner said he preferred the pronoun "he," and Ms. Sawyer called him Bruce. 
  2. ^ Milliken, Mary (April 25, 2015). "Olympian Bruce Jenner makes transgender history by identifying as a woman". Reuters. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Bruce Jenner on living as a woman". BBC News. April 25, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  4. ^ Ford, Matt (April 25, 2015). "Bruce Jenner, Transgender American". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
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  7. ^ Crownover, Ernest Elder (1986). Matt and Daisy Dell Kuykendall Crownover: Their Ancestry and Posterity. Santa Rosa, California: E.E. Crownover. p. 39. 
  8. ^ Daniel, Hugo (November 11, 2014). "Bruce Jenner's mother on why she is not a fan of her son's new effeminate look... as she lets rip at his 'controlling monster' ex Kris in no-holds-barred interview". Daily Mail. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ Faber, Nancy (April 11, 1977). "Fame Woes". People 7 (14): 24–27. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ Cooper, Chet. "Gold Medallist Bruce Jenner interviewed by Chet Cooper". Ability. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
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  15. ^ Jenner, Bruce (April 1, 1999). Finding the Champion Within: A Step-by-Step Plan for Reaching Your Full Potential. Simon and Schuster. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-684-87037-3. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
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  48. ^ "Local News in Brief: County Settles Health Club Suit". Los Angeles Times. January 27, 1989
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  61. ^ Bacardi, Francesca (December 18, 2014). "Kris Jenner and Bruce Jenner's Divorce Finalized". E! Online. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
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  68. ^ Allen, Nick. "Bruce Jenner 'started transgender journey in 1980s'". The Daily Telegraph. 
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External links

Preceded by
Soviet Union Mykola Avilov
Men's decathlon world record holder
August 10, 1975 – May 15, 1980
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Daley Thompson
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Soviet Union Mykola Avilov
World's Greatest Athlete
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Daley Thompson