Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bruce Jenner Is A Hero

Imagine holding a secret for sixty-five years. That is exactly what Bruce Jenner did. Bruce Jenner courageously went on national television and exposed himself as being a woman trapped in a man's body. He did it with courage and honesty Diane Sawyer seemed shocked at several times throughout the interview the other night.

At one point, he pointed about two feet off the floor and told Diane Sawyer, from about this age I wanted to wear dresses. His mother, Estelle let him do it. I thought that was pretty cool of her she recognized something in her son was different from the other boys.

Obviously, he was raised as a boy and competed in the decathlon as a boy and later as the "World's Greatest Athlete" in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montréal on July 29th and 30th. He not only beat the evil, communist Soviet bad guy, Ukrainian-born Nikolay Avilov who had the record which he set in the 1972 Olympics in Munich but raised the points record as well.

According to an article in the New York Daily News, "Darkness was falling on Stade Olympique when Jenner crossed the finish line in 4:12.61, assuring his victory and giving him a final point total of 8,618, which is 164 more than the record Russian Nikolay Avilov set in 1972, 425 more than Bill Toomey, 617 more than Rafer Johnson, 887 more than Bob Mathias and 1,862 more than Jim Thorpe."

For all of you who are not familiar with the names in the paragraph above, they are all Americans who won previous Olympic Decathlons. FYI: Rafer Johnson and Roosevelt Grier were bodyguards for Robert Kennedy on June fifth, the night he was killed in 1968. Roosevelt Grier was a member of the Fearsome Foursome the famed defensive line of the Los Angeles Rams. 

Bill Toomey won the 1968 Decathlon in Mexico City. Bob Mathias won two decathlons. In 1948 he won his first one In London, and he won his second in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. He went on to become a U.S. Congressman from California. Jim Thorpe was the first American Indian to win Olympic gold in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He not only won the decathlon, but the pentathlon as well (five events). No one in history has ever done that! In doing some research on all of these men, I found enough information to do a post on each one! Google is my friend!

Jenner was an exceptional athlete from the time he was young. He competed in a number of sports including football, baseball and ultimately track and field. He was a state champion in the high jump and pole vault when his family moved to Newtown, Connecticut after his sophomore year.

For those of you not familiar with track and field, the decathlon is something special. It combines the ability to jump (hurdles, long jump, high jump, pole vault), run (100 meters, 400 meters, 1,500 meters) and throw (javelin, shot put, discus) is one two-day test of speed, strength and stamina.

Jenner qualified for the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany but did not place. As a small boy Jenner was diagnosed with dyslexia, which made reading and school difficult for him. He found his release through athletics. He competed in a number of sports but found his niche in the decathlon. Here is an iconic photograph of him as he crossed the finish line in the 1500 meter run to set the record:

As always, click on the image to make it larger:

Bruce Jenner showed no signs of being a woman in that picture. However, he was hiding a deep secret inside himself for many years until his interview with Diane Sawyer.

At one point, he let his ponytail down and shook his head as if to free himself of his secret. He joked about it but it seemed like it was a freeing experience in a way that loosened him up and enabled him to be who he was.

Back to the reason I called him a hero. He was a hero to me watching him win the decathlon and doing it in record numbers. My dad was a track man his entire life, and I love track as well. Watching Jenner at that moment was a tremendous feeling as I was both a track man and a United States patriot. After all, we had just scored a huge victory over the evil Soviet Empire! 
I believe everyone needs to find their inner self and be able to show that. It seemed to be a huge load off his shoulders to come out of the closet of being a transgender woman. I believe it was a huge step for the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) to finally show someone who is famous for two things. First of all, he was known as the World's Greatest Athlete, and secondly he was known as the wife of Kris Kardashian whom he married in 1991. She is his third wife.

He is part of the reality show "Keeping up with the Kardashians" that has been running since 2007. All of the extended family, both his, hers and theirs support him in his going public about his sexual identification.

As always, I look forward to your comments.




Tory said...

The interview moved me. So sad that he couldn't be himself for all those years, yet so freeing to let it out, finally. He is a hero on so many levels. I hope people will leave him alone, but I know that's a far-fetched idea on my part!
Blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Bruce Jenner. I did before and do even more after seeing his interview.

Stacy said...

Amen Mike! He is a hero, people who have a different opinion now than they did prior to his announcement should look in the mirror and check themselves! Everyone deserves to live and be who they are without any judgement of others. Amen!

Todd Lowry said...

About 20 years ago when I was working as an attorney for a music publisher, I knew another attorney I will call Bob Gold, a big, bearish, heavy-bearded man. We'd go to Milwaukee Brewers games with the corporate president and other big-wigs on the company's season tickets. We drank lots of beer and made comments (often inappropriate) about women, like guys will do. I didn't see Bob for a year or two and then he re-appeared--he'd undergone a sex-change operation and now went by the name Patty Silver (I've changed the names). She still worked as an attorney and was seeking employment so I gave her some leads and good references. She was still the same person, she just looked different and her voice was higher. The funny thing was, she was still interested in women--Bob Gold had been a lesbian trapped in a man's body. Unfortunately, the people we used to hang out with--the corporate bosses--completely shunned her and wouldn't even take her phone calls! I always thought that they were particularly cruel and it really showed me what puny, small-minded individuals they really were at heart. (I eventually had to quit that business because it was filled with people like that.) You never know about people and what secrets they hold. Bob Gold was really a female and a lesbian trapped in a man's body. Every person in the world is a unique individual and there are wide ranges when it comes to things like sexual identity. Being a musician who's worked a lot in the theater and dance world, I've been working side-by-side with gay men, lesbians and trans-genders for 40+ years. I am gratified to say that over that time society as a whole has become more open and accepting of individual identity. That is one good thing that's happened. I lost touch long ago with "Patty Silver." I hope she did well and was happy.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Michael……so many people hurt so deeply and never have the opportunity to do anything about their pain…Its incomprehensible to even consider the sorrow the man must have lived through. Hopefully he will finally have some peace in his life.

Colleen said...

Let's hope he can have some peace of mind in the days ahead of him. It's difficult to imagine the pain so many people have gone through--let's hope and pray that this old world of ours can become more compassionate and understanding in this day and age.