Back in the fall of 1976, maybe as early as spring of 1975, I remember meeting Bruce Jenner. He was this guy who was constantly working out at San Jose City College. The campus was about 2 1/2 miles from our high school, Bellarmine Prep in San Jose.
My training partners, Bob Lucas, Pete Dolan and I would do our easy runs through the streets of San Jose, hurdling bushes, to keep ourselves from nodding off. We would see this guy throwing the discus on a lunch run. Then, later in the day, we would see him still working out as we were finishing a second run or perhaps a some quarters on the City College track.
We knew about him. Jenner was a decathlete. Jenner was an Olympian. He was, in our eyes, a real athlete. I had seen him in Visions of Eight, a Bud Greenspan movie on the 1972 Olympics where he had placed tenth, I believe, knowing that his day was ahead of him.
Not all was easy for Jenner. He had no money. He lived in a small apartment in San Jose, coached by Bert Bonanno at SJCC. Jenner was the beast master, the guy worked out all day. Jenner no heighted in the pole vault one time. That happens when you are a real athlete.
Later, I was able to spend time with him as he and other other American gold medalists supported the VISA Decathlon program, which gave Dan 0'Brien, Dave Johnson, Steve Fritz, Chris Huffins the encouragement that they needed to stay with an event that is much a part of America's Olympic history.
The following video was done at the Eugene Olympic Trials this past summer. Jenner was there to support Ashton Eaton as he set his World record in the city that Jenner set two of his three WRs.