Jenner says in Sports Illustrated of her former life as Bruce Jenner: "I'm proud of that part of my life. But ... it reached the point where I had to let [Caitlyn] live and put Bruce inside"

By Stephanie Petit
June 28, 2016 12:45 PM

Even when Caitlyn Jenner was in peak physical shape, she felt like she was in the wrong body.

Jenner opened up to Sports Illustrated to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her decathlon win at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, admitting that, even as fans admired the athlete’s skills and sculpted body, Jenner says was “disgusted” by it and considered plastic surgery.

“I was big and thick and masculine,” she says. “The rest of the world thought it was this Greek god kind of body. But I hated it. But it’s what I was given, so I just tried to do the best I could with it.”

Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Sports Illustrated

The 66-year-old say in SI‘s cover story that she used training for the decathlon as a diversion from her confusing feelings.

“Sports. It’s not real life,” she says. “You go out there, you work hard, you train your ass off, win the Games. I’m very proud of that part of my life. And it’s not like I just want to throw it out. It’s part of who I am.”

Caitlyn Jenner in 1976

“My life was distraction after distraction after distraction,” she added. “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. Obviously, it didn’t work.”

The I Am Cait star felt ready to transition before age 40, around 1989, but the timing wasn’t right.

“It wasn’t time in my life, and it wasn’t time in society,” she said. “The issue was totally misunderstood.”

After publicly transitioning, Jenner says the past year have been the best 12 months of her life. However, she doesn’t forget Bruce.

“I loved Bruce,” she said. “I still love him today. I like what he did and the way he set an example for hard work and dedication. I’m proud of that part of my life. 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.”