Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, said “for all intents and purposes, I am a woman” and that he “lived a lie his whole life” in an ABC interview that aired Friday night.
“I’ve been thinking about this day forever,” said Jenner, 65, shortly before tears began to flow, and he reached for tissues (full interview here). “What I should do with my life. How do I tell my story? How do I tell people what I’ve been through? And that day is today.”
In 1976, Jenner broke the decathlon world record en route to gold at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. He said he was “a confused person at that time, running away from my life, running away from who I was. Big-time fear. Scared to death. Didn’t know what my future held at that time.”
“We have to keep our sense of humor about this,” Jenner said. “It’s really pretty funny. Me, of all people, Bruce Jenner, has to deal with these issues, literally running away from all of this stuff.”
Jenner said he was confused with his gender identity long before his first Olympic appearance in 1972.
“Since I was this big,” Jenner said, motioning to his knee height while sitting. “God’s looking down, making little Bruce, OK. He’s looking down, he says, OK, what are we going to do with this one? Make him a smart kid, very determined, God gave me all these wonderful qualities. And then at the end when he’s just finishing, he goes, wait a second. We’ve got to give him something. Everybody has stuff in their life they have to deal with. What are we going to give him? God looks down and chuckles a little bit and goes, let’s give him the soul of a female, and let’s see how he deals with that.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer said Jenner said the interview would be Jenner’s last as “Bruce.” Jenner referred to himself as “her.”
“Girl stuck in a guy’s body, I hate that terminology,” he said. “I’m me. I’m a person This is who I am. I’m not stuck in anybody’s body.”