Gina Florio
June 28, 2016 2:52 pm
Getty Images/Angela Weiss

Caitlyn Jenner looks seriously amazing in gold. On the recent cover of Sports Illustrated, you can see her rocking a gold jumpsuit decked out in sequins, accompanied by a gold necklace that holds the gold medal she won in the 1976 Olympic decathlon. Although it may have been Bruce Jenner who took the gold home 40 years ago, the medal belongs to Caitlyn now. And she still wears it proudly.

This is so much more than celebrating her hard work and historical win four decades ago, though. This is the first time Caitlyn has donned the medal in public since she earned it in 1976 — and for good reason. While she may be honoring her own accomplishment, she’s also sending an important message to America, insisting that the transgender community needs more love.

It’s a picture that brings attention to this issue,” she told SI. “That’s the important thing. That’s why I wore the medal.

In her interview with SI, she candidly spoke about how much blood, sweat, and tears she poured into her athletic career, and how rewarding it all was. She struggled with a lack of confidence, but powered through until she was the world’s best decathlete in 1975, even before she took the Olympics by storm. Throughout this exciting time, Caitlyn admits that she struggled with her body image. “It disgusted me. I was big and thick and masculine,” she says. “The rest of the world thought it was this Greek god kind of body. I hated it. But it’s what I was given, so I just tried to do the best I could with it.

She always knew she wanted to be a woman, if she didn’t know how to handle these feelings all those years ago. “I was female inside, but I wasn’t an effeminate male. So I could hide easily in the male world,” she continues. “My life was distraction after distraction after distraction. Being a macho male was a way for me to try to convince myself that the woman living inside of me really isn’t living inside me.

Caitlyn says, after transitioning, she’s been happier this past year than she ever has in her entire life. That’s what living authentically does to a person. But there are no ill feelings towards Bruce. “I loved Bruce. I still love him today,” she says. “I like what he did and the way he set an example for hard work and dedication. But this woman was living inside me, all my life, and it reached the point where I had to let her live and put Bruce inside.

Right on, Cait. She’s an inspiration in so many ways. Perhaps it’s her honesty that draws people in the most. She revealed to SI that the momentous gold medal around her neck is kept in a very, very special place in her home. Her nail drawer.

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