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The cover marks the 40-year anniversary of the last time Jenner covered SI, when the Olympian was photographed crossing the finish line in Montreal.
Now, Jenner keeps the medal in her nail drawer.
“For those two days in July of 1976, I was the best in the world at what I did,” Jenner said in her SI interview. “On the other hand, the decathlon was my best friend, and that was over. I lost my beard.”
She said she remembers staring at her body in the mirror during the Olympics and feeling “disgusted.”
“The rest of the world thought it was this Greek god kind of body,” said Jenner. “I hated it. But it’s what I was given, so I just tried to do the best I could with it.” She said she filled her life with distractions so she wouldn’t think about her gender.
“Being a macho male was a way for me to try to convince myself that the woman living inside of me really [wasn’t] living inside me,” said Jenner.
Jenner said that following her transition she is a lot happier and she finds more meaning in life.
“Sports. It’s not real life. You go out there, you work hard, you train your ass off, win the Games. I’m very proud of that part of my life,” said Jenner. “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.”
Transparent creator Jill Soloway was also interviewed for the cover story. She said it’s important to remember that Jenner won an Olympic medal “in the most American of years” and was seen as an American hero.
“To not support Caitlyn now is, in some ways, a destruction of a part of you that believes in a certain ideal of American heroism,” said Soloway.
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