Caitlyn Jenner’s hugely anticipated Sports Illustrated cover has finally arrived, and it features the 66-year-old wearing the gold medal she won as Bruce Jenner in the decathlon at the 1976 summer Olympics in Montréal four decades ago.
In the revealing interview with SI’s Tim Layden, Jenner opened up about her life as Bruce and how being an athlete helped her cope with the lie she was living. “The decathlon for me was the ultimate in what people think of as manhood,” Jenner says. “So for me it was a good place to hide. I had a need to prove myself, that maybe that woman that’s living inside of me really isn’t living there.”
In the interview—which is accompanied by a 22-minute film delving further into her life as a trans person Malibu—Jenner explained that she chose to wear the medal she won as Bruce on the magazine’s cover because it “brings attention to the issue” of the transgender experience in America. “What I’m dealing with now, this is about who you are as a human being,” she adds. “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.”
Jenner also revealed the self-loathing she felt while living as Bruce, despite the adulation that came with being a superstar athlete. “I was big and thick and masculine,” Jenner explains. “The rest of the world thought it was this Greek god kind of body. I hated it. But it’s what I was given, so I just tried to do the best I could with it.”
Despite those experiences, Jenner admitted that she had to experience that inner turmoil to make her who she is today. “I still love him today. … But this woman was living inside me, all my life, and it reached the point where I had to let her live and put Bruce inside. And I am happier, these last 12 months, than I’ve ever been in my life.”
Subscribe to Sports Illustrated to read more, and check out Caitlyn Jenner’s cover below.