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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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MORE: Olympic decathlon title one half of ‘ultimate double’ for Caitlyn Jenner

David Boudia adjusts diving event, goal for world championships

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David Boudia earned diving medals at his last three world championships and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but that was on the platform. He competes on the global stage on the springboard for the first time at worlds this week.

“I don’t have a lot of high hopes,” Boudia, who is still learning the springboard after switching to it in the last year, said in a phone interview from South Korea, where he begins competition Wednesday (TV schedule here). “But I think my biggest goal is to walk away with an Olympic spot.”

An Olympic spot not necessarily for himself, but for the U.S.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, and any other American will clinch 2020 Olympic quota spots by placing in the top 12 in their respective individual events this week. Those spots, and any others earned at later competitions in the next year, will be filled at trials in June in Indianapolis.

NBC Sports analyst Cynthia Potter believes Boudia, who left the sport to sell homes in 2017 and came back and suffered a concussion off the platform in 2018, can meet his goal of making Friday’s 12-man final in Gwangju.

“He would have to dive well, but not better than he’s been diving,” she said. “His springboard is really well-timed, rhythmic, and he’s for a long time known how to go into the water without making a splash.”

But challenging Rio Olympic gold and silver medalists Cao Yuan of China and Jack Laugher of Great Britain, plus defending world champion Xie Siyi of China would be very tough.

Boudia lacks their degrees of difficulty, for now. He hopes to switch out two of his six dives before his first competition of 2020, though he could insert one of them should he make the world final.

“I need a good six months, so from August to December is when we’re kind of really drilling the fundamentals of learning those new dives and getting them perfected,” he said.

Boudia rallied to beat Rio Olympic springboard diver Michael Hixon for the title in May at nationals, where the top two per event earned world berths. But Boudia competed there with about a month of competition dive practice, about half as long as he would prefer.

“Hix and I are going to have a lot of training to do if we want to be even close to cracking that top five,” at worlds, Boudia said in May, according to TeamUSA.org.

Boudia is the lone U.S. diver to earn an individual world medal in an Olympic diving event since 2009.

The U.S. produced breakthroughs at worlds so far. Sarah Bacon became the first American woman to earn a world title since 2005, taking the non-Olympic 1m springboard event. Murphy Bromberg and Katrina Young bagged bronze in synchronized platform, ending a decade-long medal drought in any synchro event.

But Boudia’s goal must be shared among the whole team — as many top-12 finishes individually and top three in synchro events to gobble up Tokyo 2020 quota spots. The U.S. failed to qualify full teams for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

“Getting in the top 12 in the four individual Olympic events is the big deal right now,” Potter said. “Whether you are on the awards stand or not, that would be icing on the cake for a lot of these divers.”

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Anita Wlodarczyk, one of track and field’s most dominant, sidelined

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Poland hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, the only woman to win the last five combined Olympic and world titles in a track and field event, will not go for a fourth straight world championship this fall.

Wlodarczyk had season-ending, arthroscopic left knee surgery on Monday, according to Polish media citing her coach.

Wlodarczyk, 33, has the top 15 throws on the IAAF’s all-time list, and 27 of the top 29. Her world record of 82.98 meters (scribbled on her leg pre-op) is 11 and a half feet farther the second-best woman in history. She originally took silver at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 Worlds but was upgraded to gold after Russian Tatyana Lysenko was stripped for doping.

Wlodarczyk won a reported 42 straight finals between 2014 and 2017, then suffered three losses in 2018 and two so far this year in three lower-level meets before the operation.

Americans DeAnna Price and Brooke Anderson rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world this year. A U.S. woman has never finished in the top five of an Olympic or world championships hammer throw, which debuted at worlds in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000.

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