Caitlyn Jenner was in the fifth grade when she realised she had a gift for sports. Her gym teacher made everyone go for a run, and Caitlyn was the fastest in the school.
For a kid who was dyslexic and had identity issues, it was a life-changing moment.
“If I would have been average, good student, no identity issues, I wouldn’t have needed sports,” Jenner says in Netflix sports documentary series Untold. “But for me, I needed it because I was different. Nobody knew it, but down in my soul, I was different. So I built this Bruce character.”
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At the time, Jenner was sneaking into her mum’s closet, dressing in her clothes and putting on her lipstick, but not sure why she was doing it.
“I always wondered, ‘Am I doing this for, like, a high? Is that the excitement? Am I just, like, a risk taker?’” she remembers thinking.
Jenner’s gift for sports won her a football scholarship to Graceland College in Iowa.
Chrystie Crownover was also starting at Graceland College, and she remembers “Bruce” running up to her on her first day and asking her to go to the movies.
“He was really funny, and he didn’t know how handsome he was,” she says in Untold.
“He was just the boy next door.”
Jenner’s promising football career was abruptly halted by a knee injury. But a coach convinced her to give decathlon a try.
At the age of 22, she qualified for the 1972 Munich Olympics and finished tenth.