We are nearly 30 years removed from the peak of Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner’s athletic career. It is understandable for people to wonder just how good of an athlete Jenner was. To put it in perspective, during the late 1970’s Jenner was known was the “World’s Greatest Athlete”.
Jenner placed 10th in the decathlon in the 1972 Olympics but is better known for the 1976 Olympic performance. Bruce Jenner won the gold medal in the decathlon while also breaking the world record. From there, Jenner appeared in many commercials, movies and media appearances.
Jenner grew up playing multiple sports and was even offered a scholarship to play football at a small college in Iowa. However, a knee injury forced Jenner to reconsider his football career. He switched to track and field, a sport he played in high school, and the rest is history.
Jenner was such a good athlete that the NBA took a chance on him. The Kansas City Kings selected him in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA Draft. Despite the selection, Jenner never played in an NBA game.
Bruce Jenner was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame. Jenner’s athletic career proved to be the backdrop for ESPN to decide to present the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner.
The move has caused quite a controversy, but ESPN has defended the selection. ESPYS producer Maura Mandt said recently:
“He was one of the greatest athletes of our time. That is what the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is about, somebody from the athletic community who has done something that transcends sport. One of the biggest platforms the Arthur Ashe Foundation has is educational, and I think in this choice we have the opportunity to educate people about this issue and hopefully change and possibly save some lives. I think that is why it was the right choice.”