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Monday, May 4, 2015

Bruce, We Hardly Know You

I suspect that most people's impression of Bruce Jenner derives from his participation in the "reality" series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Which is too bad because after he won a gold medal for the decathlon in the 1976 Olympic Games, Jenner was as popular an athlete then as Lebron James is today. After the Olympics, 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." In 1976 Jenner was selected as the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States and the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. He has been inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame, United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, and the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.

I had the pleasure of hearing him speak in the Fall of 1975. He trained for the 1976 Olympics in the Bay Area where he sold insurance at night and worked out during the day at San Jose City College. He also spoke at local high schools about his quest for the gold medal, which is how I got to hear him. He was, by far, the best motivational speaker I've ever heard, and my family and I became some of his biggest fans that night.

That's the Bruce Jenner I wish people knew today. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the case.

1 comment:

  1. I believe you may be right. Unfortunately, this is the comparison today:
    Wheaties vs. Fruit Loops