Jenner at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games prior to her gender transition
William Bruce Jenner
October 28, 1949
Mount Kisco, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Malibu, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Graceland University|
|Net worth||US$100 million (2014 estimate)|
|Television||Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I Am Cait|
Chrystie Crownover (m. 1972–81)
Linda Thompson (m. 1981–86)
Kris Jenner (m. 1991–2015)
6, including Brandon Jenner
|Sport||American football, automobile racing and track and field|
|College team||Graceland Yellowjackets|
L. D. Weldon
Caitlyn Marie Jenner (born William Bruce Jenner, October 28, 1949), formerly Bruce Jenner, is an American television personality and retired athletic champion. In 1976, Jenner won the gold medal for decathlon at the Montreal Summer Olympics. Since 2007, Jenner has been appearing on E!'s reality television program Keeping Up with the Kardashians and is currently starring in the reality show I Am Cait, which focuses on her gender transition.
Jenner was a college football player for the Graceland Yellowjackets before incurring 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, gaining fame as "an all-American hero". 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. Jenner subsequently established a career in television, film, authoring, as a Playgirl cover model, auto racing and business.
Jenner has six children from marriages to Chrystie Crownover, Linda Thompson and Kris Jenner. A few months after divorcing Kris, Jenner revealed her gender identification as a trans woman in an April 2015 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer and publicly announced her name change from Bruce to Caitlyn in a July 2015 Vanity Fair cover story. Her name and gender change became official on September 25, 2015. She is now one of the most famous openly transgender people in the world.
- Early life 1
- Olympic career 2
Post-Olympic career 3
Capitalizing on Olympic fame 3.1
- Wheaties spokesperson 3.1.1
- Television and film career 3.2
- Motorsports career 3.3
- Business 3.4
- Capitalizing on Olympic fame 3.1
Personal life 4
- Marriages 4.1
- Fatal car crash 4.2
- Coming out as a transgender woman 4.3
Gender transition 5
- General media attention 5.1
- LGBT community 5.2
- I Am Cait 5.3
- See also 6
- References 7
- External links 8
Jenner was born on October 28, 1949, in Mount Kisco, New York to Esther R. (née McGuire) and William Hugh Jenner. Her father was an arborist. Her father and paternal grandparents were from Canada. She has two sisters, Lisa and Pam. Her younger brother, Burt, was killed in a car accident in Canton, Connecticut, in 1976, shortly after Jenner's success at the Olympics.
As a young child, Jenner was diagnosed with dyslexia. She attended Sleepy Hollow High School in Sleepy Hollow, New York for freshman and sophomore years and Newtown High School in Newtown, Connecticut for junior and senior years, graduating in 1968. 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. Jenner's mentor, Graceland track coach L. D. Weldon, was the first to recognize Jenner's potential and encouraged her to pursue the decathlon. Jenner debuted in the decathlon at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa in 1970, placing fifth. Jenner graduated from Graceland College in 1973 with a degree in physical education.
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, Jenner ran a fast last lap, separating from the other runners by 22 seconds to make the Olympic team, leading the Eugene Register-Guard to ask "Who's Jenner?" A tenth-place finish in the decathlon event at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich followed. Watching Soviet Mykola Avilov win inspired Jenner to start an intense training regimen. "For the first time, I knew what I wanted out of life and that was it, and this guy has it. I literally started training that night in midnight, running through the streets of Munich, Germany, training for the Games. I trained that day on through the 1976 Games, 6-8 hours a day, every day, 365 days a year."
After graduating from Graceland, Jenner married girlfriend Chrystie Crownover and moved to San Jose, California. Chrystie provided most of the family income working as a flight attendant for United Airlines. Jenner sold insurance at night (earning US$9,000 a year), while training during the day. 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 (SJCC) track. 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", and included many other aspiring Olympic athletes, such as Millard Hampton, Andre Phillips, John Powell, Mac Wilkins, and Al Feuerbach. Jenner's most successful events were the skill events of the second day.
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. While on tour in 1975, Jenner won the French national championship. This was followed by new world records of 8,524 points at the U.S.A./U.S.S.R./Poland triangular meet in Eugene, Oregon on August 9–10, 1975, breaking Avilov's record, and 8,538 points at the 1976 Olympic trials, also in Eugene.
At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Jenner achieved five personal bests on the first day of the men's decathlon, a "home run." Despite finishing the first day in second place behind Guido Kratschmer of West Germany, "The second day has all my good events. If everything works out all right, we should be ahead after it's all over." On the second day, Jenner had a strong showing in the hurdles and discus, and personal bests in the pole vault and javelin. By that point, victory was virtually assured, but it remained to be seen by how much Jenner would improve the record. In the final event, the 1500 meters seen live on national television, Jenner looked content to finish the long competition. Then Jenner sprinted the last lap, making up a 50 meter deficit and nearly catching the event favorite Soviet Leonid Litvinenko who was already well out of contention for the overall title but whose personal best had been 8 seconds better than Jenner's before the race. Jenner set a new personal best time, taking the gold medal with a world-record score of 8,616 points.
|100m wind||Long jump wind||Shot put||High jump||400m||110H wind||Discus||Pole vault||Javelin||1500m|
10.94 +0.0 PB
7.22 +0.0 PB
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. Abandoning vaulting poles in the stadium with no intention of ever competing again, "In 1972, I made the decision that I would go four years and totally dedicate myself to what I was doing, and then I would move on after it was over with. I went into that competition knowing that would be the last time I would ever do this." Jenner explained, "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?"
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).
Jenner's 1976 world record was broken by four points by Daley Thompson in 1980. In 1985, Jenner's Olympic decathlon score was reevaluated against the IAAF's updated decathlon scoring table and was reported as 8,634 for comparative purposes. This converted mark stood as the American record until 1991, when it was surpassed by eventual gold medalist and world record holder Dan O'Brien of Dan & Dave fame. As of 2011, Jenner was ranked twenty-fifth on the world all-time list and ninth on the American all-time list.
Jenner 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. For almost 20 years, San Jose City College hosted an annual "Bruce Jenner Invitational" competition.
Capitalizing on 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. "After the Games were over," Jenner said, "I happened to be the right guy, at that right place, at that right time." 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."
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," Wallach 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."
Jenner appeared on the cover of the August 9, 1976 issue of Sports Illustrated and the February 1979 issue of Gentleman's Quarterly. Jenner became a spokesperson for Tropicana, Minolta and Buster Brown shoes.
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.
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.
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."
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. 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".
Jenner has appeared on a variety of game shows and reality television programs, including starring with Grits Gresham in an episode of ABC's The American Sportsman. 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.
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 and The Bonnie Hunt Show.
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. Jenner has also made cameo appearances on the show's spin-off series.
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. Jenner commented, "I was a lot more badass runner than I was a driver."
Jenner's company, Bruce Jenner Aviation, sells aircraft supplies to executives and corporations. Jenner was the business development vice president for a staffing industry software application known as JennerNet, which was based on Lotus Domino technology.
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, which were owned by David Cirotto.
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 Jenner. Jenner and Scott's divorce was finalized the first week of January 1981.
On January 5, 1981, Jenner married actress Linda Thompson in Hawaii. They have two sons together, Brandon Jenner and Sam Brody Jenner (known as Brody). By February 1986, Jenner and Thompson had separated and subsequently divorced. 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. They have two daughters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner. 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, though they had actually separated in June. Kris filed for divorce in September 2014, citing irreconcilable differences. Their divorce terms were finalized in December 2014 and came into effect on March 23, 2015, because of a six-month state legal requirement.
Fatal car crash
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. Accounts of the sequence of collisions have varied, as have the number of people injured. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges, but two civil lawsuits brought by Howe's stepchildren and the driver of another car involved in the collision are underway.
Coming out as a transgender woman
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. 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.
While she has undergone some cosmetic surgery, she has neither undergone sex reassignment surgery nor ruled it out; she stated that, for her, life as a woman is primarily a matter of mental state and lifestyle. She said she has never been sexually attracted to men, but has instead always been sexually attracted to women, and that, keeping in mind that it is commonly difficult for people to understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, she will identify as asexual for now.
General media attention
In June 2015, Jenner debuted her new name and image, and began publicly using feminine pronoun self-descriptors. Jenner held a renaming ceremony in July 2015, adopting the name Caitlyn Marie Jenner. Prior to her 20/20 interview, a two-part special titled Keeping Up with the Kardashians: About Bruce was filmed with the family in which she answered questions and prepared her children for personal and public aspects of the transition. In the special, which aired in May 2015, the point was emphasized 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 on her transition. In September 2015, her name was legally changed to Caitlyn Marie Jenner and gender to female.
Jenner's announcement that she is transgender came at an unprecedented time for trans visibility, including legislative initiatives. 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". The Daily Beast wrote that Jenner's honesty, vulnerability, fame may have caused "cheap jokes" about trans people to "seem mean to a mainstream audience on an unprecedented scale". Noting the shift in how comedians treated 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".
Jenner's emerging gender identity was revealed in a Vanity Fair interview written by Buzz Bissinger. Annie Leibovitz photographed the cover, the magazine's first to feature an openly transgender woman, which was captioned "Call me Caitlyn". Using her new Twitter handle, @Caitlyn_Jenner, she tweeted that she was "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. Four days later Jenner was up to 2.37 million followers, with another 1.5 million followers on Instagram. In August 2015, she won the Social Media Queen award at the Teen Choice Awards.
In September 2015, Jenner was depicted on the satirical American animated program South Park, which parodied her supporters' political correctness, as well as her driving record. The Jenner-related episodes were "Stunning and Brave" and "Where My Country Gone?" from the show's 19th season.
In October, Glamour named her one of its Glamour Women of the Year, calling her a "Trans Champion." Feminist author Germaine Greer called the magazine's decision misogynistic, questioning whether a transgender woman could be better than "someone who is just born a woman."
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. 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. She also sought to promote more informed discussion of LGBT issues at a time when the trans community has unprecedented visibility. She signed with Creative Artists Agency's speakers department and will collaborate with the CAA Foundation on a philanthropic strategy focusing on LGBT issues. She made a private appearance at the Los Angeles LGBT Center in June 2015, where she spoke with at-risk trans youth.
Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2015 ESPY Awards in July 2015. ESPN executive producer Maura Mandt said 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." She is the third consecutive openly LGBT person to receive the award following footballer Michael Sam (2014) and anchorwoman Robin Roberts (2013).
In October, Jenner presented the Point Foundation's Horizon Award to television producers Rhys Ernst (of the show Transparent) and Zach Zyskowski (of the show Becoming Us). This was her second public speaking engagement after her gender transition.
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. The series focuses on Jenner's transition and how it 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.
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Men's decathlon world record holder
August 10, 1975 – May 15, 1980