Caitlyn Jenner has revealed that the years of training she went through for the Olympics was nothing compared to the lifetime she spent preparing to transition.
The former Olympian and member of the Kardashian clan won the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, as well the 1975 French national championship and the 1975 Pan American Games.
Her athletic successes made her celebrated as an American hero, but transitioning from male to female is her greatest achievement, she said on the BBC Radio 4 podcast Don’t Tell Me The Score.
“I trained for 12 years for the Games. I trained 65 years to transition in 2015. It was harder to do, it was less accepted. It wasn’t like the ‘right thing’ to do,” Jenner said.
“Everyone loved the Games, [but] a lot of people when they see you transition hate your guts. Look at the quotes on Instagram.
“So by far, that was a lot more difficult. I didn’t want to disappoint people, as they had [me] up on this pedestal. So it was not an easy decision to make. But eventually I had to do it, because I knew that’s what I had to do to live.”
And she admitted that much of her dedication to her training was an attempt to hide from her feelings of gender dysphoria. “A lot of the training was really running away from the issues I had,” she explained.
“I remember getting up the next morning, didn’t have a stitch of clothes on, walking to the bathroom, medal sitting there on the table, put the medal around my neck, looking in the mirror and I go, ‘What have you just done? Am I stuck with this person the rest of my life?’ It was scary.”
When Caitlyn Jenner finally came out as transgender in 2015 she came under an immense amount of scrutiny, but the lessons she learned in her Olympic career helped her through the hardest parts of her transition.
“Self-confidence. If I can take on the world physically and kick their butt, I can take on the world here,” she explained.
“Has it been easy? Not even close,” she said.
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