TIME People

Bruce Jenner Was ‘The World’s Greatest Athlete’

Bruce Jenner
From the Aug. 9, 1976, issue of TIME TIME

Kris Jenner has filed for divorce, but her future ex-husband has something no one can take away

Kris Jenner, matriarch of the Kardashian clan, has officially filed for divorce from husband Bruce Jenner, after decades of marriage and about a year of separation.

But don’t be too sad for the Keeping Up with the Kardashians stars: she’s got her momager empire to keep her busy, and he’s got his Olympic memories. Though she’s a much bigger presence in the reality-television world for which they’re best known these days, we would like to take this opportunity to remind readers that he was a celebrity first — and not just a celebrity. In the Aug. 9, 1976, issue of TIME, the Olympic athlete was lauded as the greatest sportsman on Earth:

Cheered on by a wildly whooping and whistling crowd of 70,000, the United States’ Bruce Jenner grimaced his way across the finish line late last Friday afternoon to claim the one Olympic honor more precious than gold: the title of “the world’s greatest athlete.”

With the waning light shining on his flapping chestnut hair, the beautifully sculpted Jenner had powered his way through the 1,500 meters, the last of the ten labors that make up the taxing, two-day decathlon competition. Too uproariously happy to notice that he had left several contestants crumpled about him in pain on the track, Jenner jogged, danced and leaped through his victory lap. Then embracing his tearfully grinning wife Chrystie, he exulted: “It’s all over. We did it!” With the single-minded ambition that distinguishes Olympic champions—a characteristic that the two-week extravaganza in Montreal brought vividly to an audience of a billion people—the 26-year-old Jenner had achieved a goal set four years ago at Munich: that he would beat Soviet Champion Nikolai Avilov in 1976.

A fierce beating it was. By the end of the first day, the only question that remained was by how much Jenner would break Avilov’s world record of 8,454. The powerfully built (6 ft. 2 in., 195 lb.) Jenner had run faster, thrown farther and jumped higher and longer than ever in his life. “I’m sitting pretty,” he said, with typical elan. “All I have to do is show up tomorrow.”

Jenner and his wife Chrystie separated in 1979.

Read more about Bruce Jenner’s Olympic glory here, in TIME’s archives: The Decathlon: Ten Tests for Two

TIME Soccer

Official Says Qatar Is Too Hot to Host World Cup

FBL-WC2014-QAT-FIFA-TROPHY
A Qatari official stands near the FIFA World Cup trophy following its arrival in Doha, on Dec. 12, 2013. Karim Jaafar—AFP/Getty Images

"Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions"

Qatar likely will not be hosting the 2022 World Cup, a top FIFA official said Monday. Why? The country is too hot.

“Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions,” Reuters reports FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger saying. “I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar.”

Qatar leaders have said they will equip stadiums, fan zones, and training areas with advanced cooling systems during the games, but Zwanziger said it won’t be enough.

“They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there,” Zwanziger said.

A Qatari official quickly pushed back in a statement.

“Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, despite comments of FIFA Executive Committee member Dr. Zwanziger, which reflect his personal opinion and not that of FIFA,” the official said. “The only question now is WHEN, not IF. Summer or winter, we will be ready. We have proven that a FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the summer is possible with state-of-the-art cooling technology. We have demonstrated that our cooling works in outdoor areas beyond stadiums.”

[Reuters]

TIME Television

Watch South Park Poke Fun at the Washington Redskins Controversy

“It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman”

South Park is taking a jab at the Washington Redskins, the NFL team that has been under pressure to change a name considered racist by Native American groups.

In a trailer for the 18th season of the Comedy Central cartoon, Eric Cartman has taken advantage of the fact that the Redskins’ trademark was canceled by a federal board, starting a company that uses the team’s name and logo. And in an ironic twist, a cartoon version of Redskins owner Dan Snyder is offended by the use of his team’s name.

“Don’t you see that when you refer to your company as the Washington Redskins it’s offensive to us?” cartoon Snyder says. “It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman.”

In the ad, which was timed to run during the fourth quarter of the Washington-Philadelphia game on Sunday, Cartman explains that he uses the teams name out of respect. “When I named my company ‘Washington Redskins,’ it was done out of deep appreciation for your team and your people,” he says.

Sound familiar?

TIME NFL

Roger Goodell Is the Committee Commissioner

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell News Conference
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference on Sept. 19, 2014 inside the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. Alex Goodlett—Getty Images

Answers were hard to find during Roger Goodell's eagerly awaited press conference. But there will be a committee

You hoped for something different, but in these kind of settings, Roger Goodell has always been a master of empty words. His annual state-of-the-NFL address press conference, at the Super Bowl, is always worth skipping. Things got moved up a bit this year, thanks to the heat Goodell has faced over the NFL’s handling of recent domestic abuse cases. And the main takeaway from Goodell’s frantically awaited press conference Friday—which was only held after Goodell’s nine-day silence in the midst of the NFL’s worst PR worst crisis in years became utterly indefensible—was that a committee would figure things out.

Ah yes, the committee, the task force, the best way to buy time. The committee itself won’t even be in place, probably, until right before the Super Bowl. That committee, Goodell said, would re-write the NFL’s personal conduct policy—which he himself instituted after becoming commissioner in 2007. Everything is on the table, Goodell said. Maybe he’ll give up some of the judge and jury power the owners granted him, after they wanted to punish misbehaving players to clean up the NFL’s image. And ironically, that very same policy—because of the maddening inconsistencies in its execution—is tarnishing it.

Yes, the NFL’s funding of the domestic violence hotline, as one example, is going to help a lot of people. That shouldn’t be taken lightly. But why now? If the NFL really cared about domestic violence, this kind of donation would have been made years ago. But no, it comes only after a horrifying tape of a star running back punching a woman becomes public. So you can’t talk about getting it right, about being a societal leader, when such moves, though noble and important, are a response. When they’re defense. The NFL can’t hold itself as a “microcosm of society,” as Goodell said, when most of society isn’t bashing heads every week. The league did the same things with concussions, and funded research and restricted return-to-play only after the league was being sued. Heads have been banging together for years. Why now?

Goodell promised transparency and accountability, but punted the most sensitive Ray Rice questions over to the “independent” investigation former FBI head Robert Mueller will lead to figure out who knew what and when. If the personal conduct policy is going to be reworked, it needs to be codified. What exactly triggers punishment? An arrest? An indictment? A conviction?

Tune in after the Super Bowl. In the meantime, tune in Sunday, as so many people surely will. No amount of bad press has stopped the NFL’s financial windfalls. No committee is needed for that.

TIME NFL

NFL Chief Promises Sweeping Response Amid Domestic Violence Scandals

As calls for his resignation continue

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell laid out his most sweeping response yet to a wave of domestic violence scandals on Friday, promising to punish players who commit domestic abuse and touting a new partnership with two leading advocacy groups for abuse victims.

“At our best the NFL sets an example that makes a positive difference,” Goodell told reporters in New York City. “Unfortunately over the past several weeks we’ve seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong. That starts with me.”

Goodell’s remarks followed weeks of controversy surrounding the NFL’s handling of domestic violence that has placed the commissioner in the national spotlight and led some to call for his resignation. In the most highly-publicized incident, Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL earlier this month after a video of the star running back hitting then-fiancée Janay Palmer in February went public. The NFL had originally suspended Rice for only two games based on a less complete video that suggested (but didn’t show) that Rice hit Palmer. Goodell apologized again Friday for his initial handling of the Rice situation.

“I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that I led, to the decision that I reached,” Goodell said. “But now I will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that.”

To that end, Goodell promised that a former FBI director he tapped to lead an investigation of league policies and procedures will have “full cooperation and access,” and that “any shortcomings he finds… will lead to swift action. The same mistakes can never be repeated.”

He touted new league funding for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and promised more comprehensive training for players and league personnel on the issues involved. And he pledged swifter and stricter discipline for players who behave unacceptably, citing not just domestic abuse but also child abuse and illegal use of firearms, drugs and alcohol.

“We strongly, strongly condemn and will punish behavior that is totally unacceptable,” Goodell said.

The Rice scandal embroiled the league in controversy and was quickly followed by others, including when NFL star Adrian Peterson was suspended after being charged with beating his son. Goodell said the NFL would play a constructive role in the national discussion about domestic violence, but also pointed to its own limitations, noting the importance of police and families.

“These are very complex problems, our country has a legal system that we must respect,” Goodell said.

He reiterated his insistence that the league never saw a surveillance video of Rice punching his then-fiancée until it was published by TMZ. But he also acknowledged inconsistency in league policies that has some players currently on the field while under scrutiny for domestic violence but others benched, saying it’s one of the reasons a more comprehensive league review is needed.

And he was as profusely apologetic as he has been at anytime since the scandal broke.

“I let myself down, I let everyone else down, and for that I’m sorry,” he said.

Goodell said he hasn’t considered calls for his resignation.

“I’m focusing on doing my job and doing it to the best of my ability,” he said.

TIME NFL

NFL to Partner With Domestic Violence Groups

Roger Goodell
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at Century Link Field in Seattle. Ben Liebenberg—AP

The league will support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault

The NFL plans to give financial and operational support to two national organizations that serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as it remains under fire for its handling of recent domestic violence scandals.

According to a two-page memo sent to all 32 teams and obtained by The Los Angeles Times, the league will enter partnerships with The National Domestic Violence Hotline, allowing it to add 25 full time advocates and handle 750 additional calls per day, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also said in the memo that the league will introduce programs internally to educate players and team personnel about domestic violence and sexual assault.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME tennis

Li Na, China’s Tennis Superstar, Announces Her Retirement

Li Na of China reacts after defeating Paula Kania of Poland in their women's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London
Li Na of China reacts after defeating Paula Kania of Poland in their women's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 23, 2014. Stefan Wermuth—Reuters

"As hard as it’s been to come to this decision, I am at peace with it," Li said. "I have no regrets."

Li Na, the Chinese sporting superstar credited with buoying the prestige of Asian tennis to Grand Slam heights, announced her retirement on Friday, citing long-term and worsening knee injuries.

“Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honor,” wrote Li in a letter to fans posted to Facebook.

But, she said, “my body is begging me to stop the pounding.”

“As hard as I tried to get back to being 100%, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again,” said Li, who has had four knee surgeries. “The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100%.”

Li, who was recently profiled in a TIME cover article, has had a complicated relationship with her home nation, winning superstar fame as a rebellious, free spirit, and putting Chinese state-controlled media in the nebulous position of both applauding her accomplishments and castigating her for “unbridled willfulness.”

“The tennis star is more than a global sports icon — she inspires millions of Chinese as a symbol of independence and freedom,” wrote TIME’s Hannah Beech this spring.

In 2011, Li won the French Open to become the first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title, and she went on to claim another Grand Slim title at the Australian Open this January. At the height of her career, she was ranked world No. 2, behind Serena Williams.

Meanwhile, the number of women’s tennis events in China has over the past decade gone up from two to 10, Li said in her post.

“I’ve seen change happening in front of my eyes, young girls picking up tennis racquets, setting goals, following their hearts and believing in themselves,” she said.

TIME NFL

America Shrugs Off NFL Scandals, Poll Finds

Baltimore Ravens v Dallas Cowboys
Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens sits on the bench against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Ronald Martinez—Getty Images

After a series of damaging stories indicating that NFL officials had turned a blind eye to systemic domestic violence among some of its players

So much for all that outrage. Nearly 90% of Americans say the recent outcry about domestic violence in the NFL hasn’t changed how much professional football they watch—and less than a third of the nation believes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should resign.

That’s the result of an exclusive NBC News/Marist poll, which also finds that a majority of Americans—including nearly six in 10 self-described football fans—say they disapprove of the way the NFL has handled the domestic-violence allegations.

The poll comes after a series of damaging stories indicating that NFL officials had turned a blind eye to systemic domestic violence among some of its players…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Football

Chicago Bears’ Brandon Marshall Addresses Domestic Abuse Claims

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall looks on from the sidelines during a game against the Buffalo Bills in Chicago on Sept. 7, 2014.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall looks on from the sidelines during a game against the Buffalo Bills in Chicago on Sept. 7, 2014. Scott Boehm—AP

"We have to gather all the facts before we play judge and jury"

Pro football player Brandon Marshall defended himself Thursday against allegations that the National Football League had mishandled Marshall’s alleged 2007 assault of his ex-girlfriend.

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred claimed the NFL had failed to properly investigate Marshall’s arrests on suspicion of domestic abuse and misdemeanor battery in 2007 and 2008.

“We have to gather all the facts before we play judge and jury,” the Chicago Bears star said at a press conference. “Because there are two sides to a story. And there are some thing that we don’t know.”

Marshall has insisted he never “put a hand to” ex-girlfriend Rasheeda Watley, and demanded an apology from ESPN, which resurfaced allegations of domestic abuse in a televised profile.

Still, he acknowledged that his relationship with Watley had been rocky and said that he has been attending therapy sessions since. “We argued every single day. We treated each other bad. We had no business being in a relationship,” he said.

While defending himself, Marshall said his life had been touched by domestic violence growing. “I grew up in a house, in an environment, in a neighborhood where it was volatile,” he said. “Domestic violence is serious. I saw how it affected my mother.”

The wide receiver’s remarks come the day after the Chicago Bears issued a statement defending the player.

 

TIME domestic violence

Pepsi Exec Calls NFL Players’ Behavior ‘Repugnant’

Key Speakers At The Aspen Ideas Festival
Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo., arrives to speak during the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, June 30, 2014. Matthew Staver—Bloomberg via Getty Images

But she backed Roger Goodell

The CEO of PepsiCo on Thursday slammed the behavior of several NFL players who have been accused of domestic abuse in recent days, in harsh words from the head of a major league sponsor.

“I am a mother, a wife and a passionate football fan,” CEO Indra Nooyi said in a statement. “I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who’ve dedicated their lives to a career they love. When it comes to child abuse and domestic violence, there is no middle ground. The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.”

Nooyi went on to place her confidence in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s leadership.

“I know him to be a man of integrity, and I am confident that he will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing,”Nooyi said. “The reality for Commissioner Goodell and the NFL is that they now have an opportunity to effect positive change with the situation presented to them. I urge them to seize this moment.”

Goodell has come under fire in recent weeks after a video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his now-wife was released by TMZ. Goodell has originally suspended Rice for only two games for the incident, but the league decided to suspend the running back indefinitely after the video leaked. The NFL came under further scrutiny when news outlets reported that several other players were under police scrutiny, including Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, San Francisco 49ers’ Ray McDonald and, as of Wednesday night, Arizona Cardinals’ Jonathan Dwyer. Critics say Goodell hasn’t done enough and have some have sought his resignation.

PepsiCo pays over $100 million per year as a sponsor of the NFL. Nooyi is one of the few female CEOs of a major American company and is consistently ranked among the most powerful women in the world.

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