Nearly 40 years after a world-record performance at the Summer Olympics that netted a decathlon gold medal and an iconic Sports Illustrated cover, Caitlyn Jenner again graces the cover of the magazine.
Posing in a gold sequined jumpsuit by Alice + Olivia and wearing her gold medal publicly for the first time since transitioning last year, the former Bruce Jenner, 66, says in the new issue that the cover shot brings attention to the issue of at-risk transgender individuals. “That’s the important thing,” she says. “That’s why I wore the medal.”
Jenner, who scored a decathlon victory that Sports Illustrated says would be competitive even today, downplayed that achievement in favor of her advocacy work on behalf of trans people, whom a 2011 study found are four times more likely than the general population to live in poverty, and who face such hostility that 13 have been murdered in the first half of this year.
“Sports. It’s not real life,” Jenner says. “You go out there, you work hard, you train . . . 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.”
Some pride still showed through in a Twitter post Tuesday, in which Jenner wrote, “So excited to relive my gold medal journey with Sports Illustrated! Can’t believe it’s been 40 years!”