Caitlyn Jenner’s ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover Revealed: Controversial Cover Marks 40 Years Since She Won Olympic Gold

Caitlyn Jenner finally debuted on the cover of Sports Illustrated this month, and it wasn’t what people were initially expecting. When the news first broke that the Olympian medalist who appear on the cover, it was suspected that Jenner might appear nude.

It’s unclear where the nude rumors stemmed from, but Jenner didn’t chime in to clear the rumors up, which made some people wonder if this was a way to get herself involved in a publicity stunt or if she was sincere.

Either way, Caitlyn Jenner seems very proud of her Olympic medals, so it makes sense that at a time where she’s finally happy with who she is, she would pose proudly for Sports Illustrated, which is a sports staple in its own right.

Of her Olympic medals, Jenner said, “My gold medal is my most-prized possession — I’m so proud of it. However, I never wanted my kids to feel like they had to have a gold medal in order to be considered a success. I didn’t want them to constantly compare their own achievements to my time in the Olympics, so I haven’t displayed my medal.”

Back in 1976 for the Montreal Games, Jenner won the gold and a world record at the decathlon event and became a cultural icon in sports history. This was, of course, before Bruce Jenner transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner.

Now that we know Caitlyn Jenner won’t be nude on the cover of Sports Illustrated, what exactly does she look like? Well, here’s a look.

The cover isn’t just important because she’s the first transgender woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The cover also speaks to her accomplishments as an athlete, as this marks 40 years since she won gold and became a household name. It’s also significant because we’re only a few weeks away before the next Summer Olympics, which will take place in Rio from August 5 to August 21.

Of the decision to pose on the cover of Sports Illustrated as herself, Jenner said, “It’s a picture that brings attention to this issue. That’s the most important thing. That’s why I wore the medal.”

While Jenner’s statement can be open to interpretation, Caitlyn was very frank when she discussed how it felt to win gold.

“For those two days in July of 1976, I was the best in the world at what I did. On the other hand, the decathlon was my best friend, and that was over. I lost my beard.”

Her “beard” is a reference to a distraction from what was going on inside of her at the time. When Caitlyn Jenner first posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated, she was Bruce Jenner, a muscular man who looked “picture perfect” and represented masculinity, but this wasn’t the image that Jenner identified with.

“It disgusted me. I was big and thick and masculine. 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.”

Caitlyn Jenner continued, “Being a macho male was a way for me to try to convince myself that the woman living inside of me really isn’t living inside me. Obviously, it didn’t work.”

Now that she’s herself, Caitlyn Jenner has a different perspective on what her legendary status means.

“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.”

That said, without that status in America as a “Greek God,” Jenner wouldn’t have the platform she does now to speak about LGBTQ issues. That said, regardless Jenner hopes she “would be doing some of the things I’m doing today, but certainly not on the same scale.”

While Caitlyn says that she loved Bruce and still loves him, she drives her point home further that Caitlyn has always existed inside of her.

“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.”

[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

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