Growing up in the 1970’s in the Midwest, I loved watching sports on television. NFL Football and the Chicago Cubs on WGN with announcer Jack Brickhouse were my favorites. But I relished watching the Olympics when they came on. During the two weeks they took place, my family would gather around the television each evening to watch. Like many Americans, my nationalistic pride would soar as Team USA racked up the medals.
During the 1976 Summer Games, I still remember as a young teenager watching Bruce Jenner compete and win the Decathlon, the premier event of the Olympics. The underdog against the favored Soviet Union athlete and previous Olympic champion, Nikolai Avilov, Jenner excited the nation as we rooted for this chiseled, flowing haired competitor clad in his red tank top and blue shorts. Not only did he pull off the upset with his running, jumping, hurdling and hurtling, but he set a world record in the process.
Yet life goes on. Though I remember afterwards seeing Jenner’s winning pose with outstretched arms on Wheaties boxes and his smiling, fresh face on the occasional sports commentary, to be honest like most of my childhood sports idols he simply disappeared from my radar screen. Since I […]