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Caitlyn Jenner

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Caitlyn Jenner
Bruce Jenner 2012.jpg
Jenner at the London Olympics, July 2012
Born William Bruce Jenner
(1949-10-28) October 28, 1949 (age 65)
Mount Kisco, New York, U.S.
Residence Malibu, California, U.S.
Alma mater Graceland University
Years active 1970–present
Net worth $100 million (2014 estimate)[1]
Television Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I Am Cait
Political party Republican
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Chrystie Crownover (m. 1972–81)
Linda Thompson (m. 1981–86)
Kris Jenner (m. 1991–2015)
Children 6, including Brandon Jenner
Brody Jenner
Kendall Jenner
Kylie Jenner
Sports career
Country United States
Sport American football, automobile racing and track and field
Event(s) Decathlon
College team Graceland Yellowjackets
Coached by L. D. Weldon
Bert Bonanno
Randy Trentman

Caitlyn Jenner (born October 28, 1949), formerly known as Bruce Jenner, is a retired American athlete known for winning the men's decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Since 2007 she has been appearing on E!'s reality television program Keeping Up with the Kardashians and is currently starring in her own reality show I Am Cait, which focuses on her gender transition. Multiple publications have described her as the most famous openly transgender person in the world since she came out in 2015.[2][3][4]

Jenner was a former college football player for the Graceland Yellowjackets before she incurred a knee injury requiring surgery. Coach L.D. Weldon, who had coached Olympic decathlete Jack Parker, convinced Jenner to try the decathlon. After intense training, Jenner won the 1976 Olympic decathlon title (after a Soviet athlete had won the title in 1972) during the Cold War,[5][6][7] gaining fame as "an all-American hero".[8][9] A third successive world record led to the unofficial title of "world's greatest athlete", which traditionally goes to the winner of the Olympic decathlon.[10] Jenner subsequently established a career in television, film, auto racing and business.

Jenner has six children from her marriages to Chrystie Crownover, Linda Thompson and Kris Jenner. A few months after divorcing her third wife, Jenner revealed her gender identification as a trans woman in an April 2015 interview with Diane Sawyer.

Early life

Caitlyn Jenner was born William Bruce Jenner on October 28, 1949, in Mount Kisco, New York,[11] to Esther R. (née McGuire) and William Hugh Jenner, an arborist.[12][13] She has two sisters, Lisa and Pam.[14] Her younger brother, Burt, was killed in a car accident in Canton, Connecticut, in 1976, shortly after Jenner's success at the Olympics.[15][16]

As a young child, Jenner was diagnosed with dyslexia.[17] She attended Sleepy Hollow High School in Sleepy Hollow, New York, during her freshman and sophomore years[18][19] and Newtown High School in Newtown, Connecticut, during her junior and senior years, graduating in 1968.[20] 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 because of a knee injury.[21] Jenner's mentor, Graceland track coach L. D. Weldon, was the first to recognize Jenner's potential and encouraged her to pursue the decathlon.[22] Jenner debuted in the decathlon at the Drake Relays in Des Moines in 1970, placing fifth.[23] Jenner graduated from Graceland College in 1973 with a degree in physical education.[24]

Olympic career

At the 1972 men's 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 men's 1500 meters, she ran a fast last lap, separating from the other runners by 22 seconds to make the Olympic team. The Eugene Register-Guard asked "Who's Jenner?"[25][26] Jenner went on to finish in 10th place at the 1972 Summer Olympics held in Munich, Germany.[27] After graduating from Graceland, Jenner sold insurance at night (earning $9,000 a year[28]) while training during the day.[29] In the era before professionalism was allowed in athletics, this kind of training was unheard of. During this period, Jenner trained at the San Jose City College track.[30] Centered around Bert Bonanno, the coach at SJCC, San Jose was at the time a hotbed for training which was called the "Track Capital of the World"[29] by aspiring Olympic athletes including Jenner, Millard Hampton, Andre Phillips, John Powell, Mac Wilkins, and Al Feuerbach.[30][31] Jenner's most successful events were the skill events of the second day.[8][32]

Jenner was the American champion in the men's decathlon event in 1974 and was featured on the cover of Track & Field News's August 1974 issue.[33][34] While on tour in 1975, Jenner won the French national championship.[35] She first set the world record of 8,524 points at a meet in Eugene, Oregon August 9–10, 1975.

At the 1976 Olympic Trials again in Eugene, Jenner scored 8,538 points, slightly improving the world record.[26] At the Olympic Games in Montréal, Canada, Jenner won the gold medal in the men's decathlon,[36] scoring 8,616 points, thereby beating the world record set at the Olympic Trials.[26] She hit a "home run" by achieving personal bests on the first day, turning the notorious second day into a gold medal coronation.[8] After the event, Jenner took an American flag from a spectator and carried it during the victory lap, starting a tradition that is now common among athletes.[37][38]

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?[8]

As a result of winning the Olympic decathlon, Jenner became a national hero, receiving the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States and being named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (both in 1976).[21] She was inducted into the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980, the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1986, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.[39]

Jenner's 1976 world record was broken by 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.[40] As of 2011, Jenner is No. 25 on the world all-time list and the No. 9 American.[41]

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.[42]

Post-Olympic career

Capitalizing on Olympic fame

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

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 wrote, "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."[8]

After Olympic success, Jenner decided to cash in on celebrity status, which required forgoing any future Olympic competition. Jenner's agent George Wallach felt at the time that Jenner had a four-year window to capitalize upon. Wallach reported that Jenner was being considered for the role of Superman, which ultimately went to Christopher Reeve. "I really don't know how many offers we have," Jenner was reported to have claimed. "There are still unopened telegrams back at the hotel and you just can't believe the offers that poured in during the first two days."[43]

Wheaties spokesperson

Jenner on Wheaties box

In 1977, Jenner became a spokesperson for Wheaties brand breakfast cereal and appeared on the now iconic front of the cereal box. After taking over from Olympic champion Bob Richards, Jenner was the second of a succession of athletes featured as spokespersons for the brand. Mary Lou Retton succeeded Jenner in 1984.[44]

On November 22, 1977, Jenner went to San Francisco to refute charges filed by the San Francisco district attorney, Joseph Freitas, that General Mills, the maker of Wheaties, had engaged in false advertising in its campaign featuring Jenner. Jenner liked Wheaties and ate the breakfast cereal two to three times a week which supported the advertising campaign claims. Two days later, Freitas withdrew the suit, saying that it was "a case of overzealousness" on the part of his staff.[45]

When Jenner came out as Caitlyn in 2015, General Mills stated that "Bruce Jenner continues to be a respected member of Team Wheaties." After the company was called out for misgendering Jenner, Mike Siemienas, General Mills's brand media relations manager, clarified its original statement, stating that "Bruce Jenner has been a respected member of Team Wheaties, and Caitlyn Jenner will continue to be."[46]

Television and film career

Jenner starred in the disco-era Village People comedy, Can't Stop the Music (1980). The movie was a flop. Jenner's performance was nominated for the 1980 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor, and the film won the Award for Worst Picture. It was Jenner's only theatrical release until 2011. Jenner had some success in a television career, starring in the made-for-TV movies The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story (1980) and Grambling's White Tiger (1981). During the 1981-1982 season, Jenner 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.[5] Jenner also appeared on an episode of the sitcom Silver Spoons called "Trouble with Words", wherein her personal issues with dyslexia were revealed in a storyline about a recurring teenage character with the same problem. Jenner appeared on the series Learn To Read and in the video games Olympic Decathlon (1981) and Bruce Jenner's World Class Decathlon (1996). The iconic "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".[47]

Jenner has appeared on a variety of game shows and reality television programs, including staring with Grits Gresham in an episode of ABC's The American Sportsman.[48] The program featured Gresham hunting, fishing, or shooting in exotic areas with celebrities. In the early 1990s, Jenner was the host of an infomercial for a stair-climbing exercise machine called the Stair Climber Plus.[49]

In January 2002, Jenner participated in an episode of the American series The Weakest Link, featuring Olympic athletes. In February and March 2003, Jenner was part of the cast of the American series I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. She made a cameo appearance in a season-three episode of The Apprentice, which aired in May 2005. She also partnered with Tai Babilonia for Skating with Celebrities in a series that aired January–March 2006 (they were eliminated during the fifth of seven episodes), served as a guest judge on Pet Star on Animal Planet, and appeared on NBC's game show Identity as well as (with the Kardashian family) Celebrity Family Feud. 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 and such talk shows as Hannity[50] 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's marriage to attorney Robert Kardashian); and daughters Kylie and Kendall.[51] Jenner has also made cameo appearances on the show's spin-off 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. Jenner's 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. The pair won their class and finished 4th overall in the 12-hour endurance race. 1986 was also the most successful year of Jenner's career, finishing second in the championship to Pruett.[52][53] Jenner commented, "I was a lot more badass runner than I was a driver."[54]


Jenner's company, Bruce Jenner Aviation, sells aircraft supplies to executives and corporations.[28] Jenner was the business development vice president for a staffing industry software application known as JennerNet, which was based on Lotus Domino technology.[55]

Jenner had licensed her previous name for Bruce Jenner's Westwood Centers for Nautilus & Aerobics in the early 1980s, though she had no ownership in the centers,[28] which were owned by David Cirotto.[56]

Personal life

Jenner is a Christian, leans politically conservative, and is a Republican.[57][58] Prior to her public gender transition, she had been married three times. She was married to Chrystie Scott (née Crownover) from 1972 to 1981. They have two children, son Burton and daughter Cassandra, known as Burt and Casey.[59][60] Jenner and Scott's divorce was finalized the first week of January 1981.[61]

On January 5, 1981, Jenner married actress Linda Thompson in Hawaii.[62] They have two sons together, Brandon and Sam Brody (known as Brody).[63] By February 1986, Jenner and Thompson had separated and subsequently divorced.[64] Their sons later starred on the reality show The Princes of Malibu, and Brody appeared in the reality show The Hills.

On April 21, 1991, Jenner married Kris Kardashian (née Houghton) after five months of dating.[65] They have two daughters, Kendall and Kylie. While married, Jenner was also the step-parent to Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Rob, Kris's children from her previous marriage who star in Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The couple announced their separation in October 2013,[66] though they had actually separated a year earlier.[67] Kris filed for divorce in September 2014, citing irreconcilable differences.[68] Their divorce terms were finalized in December 2014 and came into effect on March 23, 2015, because of a six-month state legal requirement.[69]

In February 2015, Jenner was involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle collision on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. Kim Howe, an animal rights activist and actress, was killed when Jenner's SUV ran into Howe's car which had just run into the back of another car. The impact from Jenner's vehicle pushed Howe's car into oncoming traffic. Eight others were injured, but Jenner was not.[70][71][72][73] Howe's stepchildren sued Jenner for wrongful death in May, stating that Jenner drove at an unsafe speed and alleging she was negligent, careless, and reckless.[74][75][76] In July 2015, Los Angeles investigators determined that Jenner was inattentive, but "not intoxicated or texting" and would not face felony charges.[77] In August 2015, Los Angeles County Sheriff officials submitted the matter to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office recommending a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge based on Jenner's speed of travel which was believed to be unsafe amid existing road conditions.[76]

The Washington Post commented that Jenner's debut Vanity Fair cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz, had special significance for its subject: "After all the magazine covers that featured the former athlete, once lauded as the 'world's greatest athlete,' the Leibovitz photograph will be the most meaningful. Looking directly at the camera, Jenner is finally herself for the first time publicly."[78]

In an April 2015, 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Jenner came out as a trans woman, saying she had dealt with gender dysphoria since her youth, and that, "for all intents and purposes, I'm a woman." Jenner cross dressed for many years and took hormone replacement therapy but stopped after her romance with Kris Kardashian in the early 1990s became more serious.[79][80][81] Jenner recounts having permission to explore her gender identity on her own travels but not when they were coupled, and that not knowing the best way to talk about the many issues contributed to the deterioration of the 23-year-long marriage, which formally ended in 2015.[81]

While she has undergone some cosmetic surgery, she has not undergone sex reassignment surgery or ruled it out; she stated that, for her, life as a woman is primarily a matter of mental state and lifestyle.[82] She said she has never been attracted to men, had exclusively been attracted to women before her transition and now identifies as asexual.[83][84]

Gender transition

In June 2015, Jenner debuted her new name and image, and marked using feminine pronoun self-descriptors.[85]

Media coverage

Jenner's announcement came at an unprecedented time for trans visibility, including legislative initiatives.[86][87] 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".[88] The Daily Beast stated that Jenner's "honesty, [...] vulnerability, or [...] fame" may have caused "cheap jokes" about trans people, like those which aired during the show as part of the interview's educating the public on transphobia, to "seem mean to a mainstream audience on an unprecedented scale".[89] 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".[89]

Prior to Jenner's 20/20 interview, a two-part special titled Keeping Up with the Kardashians: About Bruce was filmed with the family to answer questions and prepare their children for personal and public aspects of the transition.[90] The episodes aired in May 2015; they emphasized a point made in the 20/20 prelude: that there is no one right way to transition. Jenner made it a priority to ensure that all her children were independent first before focusing inward.[90] Premiering the new "her"—as Jenner referred to her emerging gender identity—was done with a photo spread, interview, and Vanity Fair cover shot by Annie Leibovitz, which was released by Jenner via Twitter.[91] Jenner is the first openly transgender woman featured on the cover of Vanity Fair.[92] The Vanity Fair cover shot included the caption, "Call me Caitlyn", and accompanied her new Twitter handle, @Caitlyn_Jenner, and the message, "I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know her/me." She amassed over one million Twitter followers in just over four hours, setting a new Guinness World Record and surpassing United States President Barack Obama, who, a month before, accomplished the same feat in four and a half hours.[93] Four days later Jenner was up to 2.37 million followers, with another 1.5 million followers on Instagram.[94]

LGBT community

With her profile raised by her national coming out as a trans woman in April 2015, Jenner became one of the most recognized LGBT people in the world and arguably the most famous LGBT athlete.[95] Jenner acknowledged in her 20/20 interview that part of her reason for being so visible was to bring attention to gender dysphoria, violence against trans women, and other transgender issues.[96] She also sought to promote more informed discussion of LGBT issues at a time when the trans community has unprecedented visibility.[96] She signed with Creative Artists Agency's speakers department and will collaborate with the CAA Foundation on a philanthropic strategy focusing on LGBT issues.[97] She made a private appearance at the Los Angeles LGBT Center on June 9, 2015, where she spoke with at-risk trans youth.[98]

Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2015 ESPY Awards on July 15, 2015. According to ESPN executive producer Maura Mandt, Jenner was given the award because "she has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces."[99] She is the third consecutive openly LGBT person to receive the award following footballer Michael Sam (2014) and anchorwoman Robin Roberts (2013).[100]

I Am Cait

Main article: I Am Cait

Jenner's gender transition is the subject of an eight-part TV documentary series, I Am Cait, which premiered on E! in July 2015 to an audience of 2.7 million viewers.[101][102][103][104][105] The series focuses on Jenner's transition and how this affects her relationships with her family and friends. The show additionally explores how Jenner adjusts to what she sees as her job as a role model for the transgender community.[106][107] Critics of I Am Cait have been generally positive, particularly praising the approach taken to the social issues of the transgender community and its influence on the way Americans see and understand transgender people in general. The show's informative and serious tone has also been noted, and how it differs from the Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality series in which Jenner has been shown in a supporting role with her family.

See also


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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