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Book excerpt: Caitlyn Jenner felt ‘neither confident nor attractive’ after Olympic triumph

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Bruce Jenner broke the decathlon world record en route to winning the 1976 Olympic gold medal in Montreal.

But struggling with confusion over gender identity, Jenner felt conflicted by the newfound title of “world’s greatest athlete.”

Jenner, who is now known as Caitlyn after announcing in 2015 that she was transitioning to living as a woman, revealed her mindset the morning after the Olympic triumph in the following excerpt from her best-selling memoir, “The Secrets of My Life,” which is available now:

I am looking in the mirror in a suite of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal the morning after my Olympic win. I am naked with the gold medal around my neck. Now that it’s over, who am I?

I am trying to see if I feel different after winning the gold and setting a world record and already being offered a broadcasting job by ABC.

The world’s greatest athlete.

Nobody can say that except the thirteen gold medalists who have come before.

But I don’t feel particularly different. I look into the mirror and I still see what I always see to one degree or another—a person who in working so hard to erase what is inside him has overcome nothing. Now that the Grand Diversion of training for the Olympics is over, now that I have won, what happens next? Will I find something else to preoccupy me, to take the edge off? My wife, Chrystie, is sleeping in the next room. She thinks she knows me almost four years into our marriage. She does know me.

She doesn’t know me at all.

My fingers feel like talons, my shoulders and arms humped and ridged with bony muscles. My hair…I hate my hair no matter how long I try to make it. I look into my eyes. I take a few steps closer and burrow into them. What do I see?

What do you see?

I still see Bruce Jenner.

Not the Bruce Jenner the world now sees and wants and desires.

The Bruce Jenner I never wanted and never desired.

I am proud of my accomplishment. The day of the closing ceremonies at the Munich Olympics in 1972, where I finished tenth as a twenty‐two‐year‐old, even I was surprised to have gotten that far. I wondered, But what if I spend every minute of the next four years of my life training? What if I test myself to the limits to see how good I can become at something?

I did exactly that.

But now that I have won, how special it could possibly be if I could do it. I am a skilled athlete who works harder than the rest, who has to prove his manhood more than the rest. I may act self‐assured, but I still am not. I may exude an attractive confidence, but I feel neither confident nor attractive.

I still see Bruce Jenner.

Excerpted from THE SECRETS OF MY LIFE by Caitlyn Jenner. Copyright © 2017 CJ Memoires, LLC. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

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Kerri Walsh Jennings’ next partner is a familiar one

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Kerri Walsh Jennings is slated to play with with 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh this summer, after she and Olympic bronze medal teammate April Ross split last month.

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion with Misty May-Treanor before that bronze in Rio, and Branagh, who made the Beijing Games quarterfinals with Elaine Youngs, are entered in an FIVB World Tour event in Croatia the last week of June.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are both 38 years old and briefly paired in 2010 when May-Treanor was uncertain about making a run for the London Olympics. When May-Treanor told Walsh Jennings she was all-in for London, Walsh Jennings split from Branagh.

Walsh Jennings and Branagh are hoping to play together through the World Tour Finals in late August, according to Volleyball Magazine.

That includes the world championships in Vienna, Austria, in late July and early August.

It’s not known if they will have the combined ranking points to earn an outright worlds spot. They could also receive a wild card for worlds. Entries will be announced next month.

Walsh Jennings, a mother of three, has said she hopes to play in the 2020 Olympics at age 41, when she will be older than any previous Olympic beach or indoor volleyball player, according to Olympic historians.

Branagh returned to competition this year after a one-year break to have her second child. She has played few international events since 2012 and last won internationally in 2010 (with Walsh Jennings).

Ross, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist and 2009 World champion, is now partnered with Lauren Fendrick, who played with Brooke Sweat in Rio. Ross, 34, said she will figure out her long-term partner plans for Tokyo 2020 after this season.

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Catching up with Ross Powers

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Ross Powers, now 38 years old and 15 years removed from his Olympic snowboarding title, is still out with halfpipe riders on the snow five days per week.

The difference now is that Powers is coaching. He runs the snowboarding program at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, where he graduated from in 1997.

Powers spoke with OlympicTalk before last season, reflecting on 20 years of snowboarding in the Olympics, Shaun White and how he likes coaching.

OlympicTalk: The PyeongChang Winter Games will mark 20 years since snowboarding’s debut in Nagano. What was it like competing in the first Olympic halfpipe?

Powers (who won bronze in Nagano at age 19): It seemed kind of like a regular World Cup. We were up in the mountains. At the time, it was a really good halfpipe, but we ended up competing in some bad weather, some rain. I didn’t realize until I left Japan and got home how big the Olympics were. But looking back, it was a special time. And I really learned from the ’98 Olympics, like if I get this chance again, I’m going to go there, I’m going to do it all. I’m going to go to Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, watch as many events as I can and just make the most out of the Games.

OlympicTalk: The Nagano halfpipe was about half the size of today’s superpipes (394 feet long with 11 1/2-foot walls vs. 590 feet with 22-foot walls in Sochi). Could today’s snowboarders compete with you guys back in 1998?

Powers: It was so different. At the time, I want to say it was the biggest pipe we rode, but compared to today’s standards, it’s small. The weather was tricky. I think a lot of those guys [today] could ride it, but it’s so much different than today’s halfpipe for sure.

OlympicTalk: In 2002, when you led a U.S. men’s halfpipe medal sweep, the rider who just missed the Olympic team was a 15-year-old Shaun White. What do you remember about him?

Powers: You kind of knew he was going to be the next guy. Where he took our sport and certain tricks. One thing that really impressed me about him is he’ll train really hard for an event, show up, even if the conditions are bad, he’s planned this trick he wants to do, and he’ll try it no matter what. Most of the time he’ll give it a go and land it. That actually hurt him in Russia [White attempted but couldn’t perfect the YOLO Flip 1440 in Sochi] because he probably could have stepped down a notch, gotten a medal and maybe even won the event.

OlympicTalk: Did Shaun ever beat you before you retired?

Powers: I had my run from 1998, ’99, ’00, ’01, all those times that I was doing really well. I tried to make the 2006 Olympics in Italy. I was the alternate, so I just missed that. He was definitely beating me up through those times.

OlympicTalk: Did you travel to the Torino Olympics as an alternate?

Powers: I did, yeah. I traveled over there and actually watched my buddy [Seth] Wescott win the gold in boarder cross. That night, he was like, you should try boarder cross. That kind of got me into doing that my next few years after that.

[Editor’s Note: Powers almost made the 2010 Olympic team in snowboard cross, even finishing third in a December 2009 World Cup.]

OlympicTalk: Which is tougher, coaching or competing?

Powers: I would say it is tougher coaching than competing. You just have so many responsibilities and so much work. The nice thing about coaching, though, compared to competing, is you can kind of push yourself and have fun [riding] on certain days but then also sit back and really work with the athletes on all other days. So when you’re feeling it, you can push yourself. So it’s not like an athlete, where you have to push yourself.

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