At the 1976 summer Olympics in Montréal, Bruce Jenner won the gold medal for the men’s decathlon, setting a world record with 8616 points.
In July, Jenner will be honored with another award, this time for a much different “achievement.” On Monday, Time reported that at ESPN’s ESPY Awards, the former world’s greatest male athlete will receive the acclaimed Arthur Ashe Award for coming out as a transgender.
In an interview with Diane Sawyer back in April, Jenner stated that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body and had struggled with this conundrum since childhood.
Jenner explained in an interview with Vanity Fair that his cover photo shoot with legendary photo-journalist Annie Leibovitz “was a good day. This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”
Jenner told VF, “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”
The transition hasn’t been entirely smooth for Jenner. He admits that he had some second thoughts about becoming a woman. In a passage from the VF interview, Jenner tells reporter Buzz Bissinger that he suffered a panic attack the day after undergoing 10-hour facial feminization surgery in March.
Jenner remembers thinking, “What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?”
Bissinger reveals in the interview that Jenner has not removed his penis.
The Ashe Award, which Jenner will be receiving alongside his family at the ESPY award show in July, is one of the most prestigious in sports. According to ESPN, “the recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost.”