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 Crime

The Oscar Pistorius Case: How It All Began

The March 11, 2013, cover of TIME
The March 11, 2013, cover of TIME Cover Credit: PIETER HUGO / THE NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATE

In March 2013, TIME took a deep look at the origins of the Pistorius case

The murder trial that transfixed the world for much of 2014 began drawing to a close on Thursday, as a South African judge found Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius “negligent” but not guilty of murdering his girlfriend. Pistorius, 27, fired four shots into a bathroom at his Pretoria home in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013, killing model Reeva Steenkamp, but based his defense on thinking she was an intruder.

Global media relentlessly followed the case, which at times grew graphic and included a break so Pistorius’ mental health could be evaluated by experts. The judge is expected to issue a formal verdict on Friday, Sept. 12. Pistorius can still be found guilty of culpable homicide, or murder without premeditation, and may face years in prison.

Last March, TIME featured Pistorius in a cover story about this tragic series of events — not just it’s beginning between Pistorius and Steenkamp, but also in terms of the place of violence in South African society. The relationship between that culture and the famous athlete is a meaningful one, Alex Perry wrote:

If South Africa reveals its reality through crime, it articulates its dreams through sports. When in 1995—a jittery year after the end of apartheid—South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela, adopted the Afrikaner game, rugby, and cheered the national team on to a World Cup win, he was judged to have held the country together. In 2010 his successors in the ANC delivered the message that Africa was the world’s newest emerging market and open for business through the faultless staging of a soccer World Cup.

Pistorius was the latest incarnation of South African hope. He was born without a fibula in either leg, and both were amputated below the knee before he reached his first birthday. Using prosthetics, Pistorius went on to play able-bodied sports at Pretoria Boys High School, one of the country’s most prestigious private schools, before a knee injury left him on the sidelines. Advised to run for his recovery, he began clocking astonishing times using carbon-fiber blades that copied the action of a cheetah. In 2012 in London, he took two Paralympic gold medals and one silver and ran in an Olympic final and semifinal.

That March 11, 2013, story is now available free of charge in TIME’s archives. Click here to read it in its entirety: Pistorius and South Africa’s Culture of Violence

Read next: Oscar Pistorius Gets 5 Years for the Culpable Homicide of Reeva Steenkamp

TIME conflict

“Murder in Munich”: A Terrorist Threat Ignored

19720918 cover
The September 18, 1972, cover of TIME TIME

September 5, 1972: Terrorists kidnap and kill Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics

Police psychologist Georg Sieber imagined 26 ways the 1972 Summer Olympics could go terribly wrong. Commissioned by organizers to predict worst-case scenarios for the Munich games, Sieber came up with a range of possibilities, from explosions to plane crashes, for which security teams should be prepared.

Situation Number 21 was eerily prescient, as TIME would describe many years later. Sieber envisioned that “a dozen armed Palestinians would scale the perimeter fence of the [Olympic] Village. They would invade the building that housed the Israeli delegation, kill a hostage or two (“To enforce discipline,” Sieber says today), then demand the release of prisoners held in Israeli jails and a plane to fly to some Arab capital.” The West German organizers balked, asking Sieber to downsize his projections from cataclysmic to merely disorderly — from worst-case to simply bad-case scenarios. Situations such as Number 21 could only be prevented by scrapping the Olympics entirely, they argued. Instead of beefing up security, they scaled back their expectations of threat.

So they were unprepared when, early this morning in 1972, an attack unfolded almost exactly according to Sieber’s hypothetical specifications. Eight men affiliated with the Palestinian terrorist group Black September broke into the Israeli apartment before dawn and took 11 athletes and coaches hostage.

Thanks to lax security — exposed decades later when a classified report was made public in 2005 — it was a relatively easy task for the terrorists. They were seen scaling the fence, but, wearing tracksuits, were taken for athletes and ignored. Getting into the Israelis’ housing was even easier: Among other departures from Sieber’s recommendations, the team had been assigned rooms on the ground floor. Once inside, the terrorists killed two hostages almost immediately and demanded the release of 234 prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for the rest. While the world watched, West German officials launched into poorly planned, ineffectual action. First, they dismissed Sieber, telling him his services were no longer needed. Then they botched a rescue mission that culminated in the deaths of all the remaining hostages, a German officer and five of the eight commandos. The three who survived were captured but later released in exchange for a hijacked Lufthansa plane.

Sept. 18, 1972,
A diagram of the events in Munich, from the Sept. 18, 1972, issue of TIME

The tragedy was also devastating to the Germans, who had hoped that being gracious Olympic hosts would distract from the memory of Nazi propaganda at their last games, the Berlin Olympics in 1936. They had given the 1972 Olympics the official motto Die Heiteren Spiele, which translates variously as the happy games, the cheerful games or the carefree games. That phrase presented a stark contrast to reality — and a grim reminder that merely hoping for the best will not prevent the worst.

Read TIME’s Sept. 18, 1972, cover story about the attack: Horror and Death at the Olympics

TIME Athletes

Here Are 8 Bizarre Yet Beautiful Photos of Women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics

Gymnasts are known for their incredible flexibility, but rhythmic gymnasts take it to new levels, wrapping their bodies around ribbons, clubs, balls and hoops—all with a dazzling smile.

The secret to their rubber-band like contortions? Hours and hours of training, including more time spent in splits—hanging from bars or stretched across foam blocks—than the rest of us would consider humane. These athletes, competing at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, represent the eight top-scoring qualifiers in mind-bending acrobatic routines in the individual all-around finals.

TIME Infectious Disease

West Africans Banned from Some Youth Olympics Events Over Ebola Fears

Taicheng Garden in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, Aug. 14, 2014.
Taicheng Garden in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, Aug. 14, 2014. Xinhua/Sipa USA

Three athletes will not be able to participate in pool sports or combat sports during the 2014 Youth Olympic Games

Young athletes from West Africa will be prohibited from participating in certain events at the Youth Olympics, organizers said Friday, in an effort to protect all participants from the Ebola outbreak in the region.

The games are set to kick off this Saturday and run until Aug. 28 in Nanjing, China.

Athletes from West Africa, where Ebola has spread rapidly over the past several weeks, will have their temperature and wellbeing checked throughout the 12-day games. The prohibition will also directly impact three West African athletes who will not be allowed to compete in combat sports and events in the pool to prevent potential infection.

“We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice, both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games,” the International Olympic Committee and the Nanjing Youth Olympic Organizing Committee said in a joint statement. The committees also said countries are free to decide on their own whether or not to attend.

The Olympic committees said the World Health Organization had been working with the Chinese government in preparation for the games in light of the largest Ebola outbreak in history, but that these policies will serve as an extra precaution.

The Youth Olympic games started in 2010 and are held every four years.

TIME

New Clinton Docs Disparage Ginsburg, Underscore Security Concerns at Atlanta Olympics

Clinton Global Initiative America Meetings Begin In Chicago
Former President Bill Clinton listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to guests at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on June 13, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson—Getty Images

Among other revelations in the newly-released papers, the White House warned of the Supreme Court candidate's "halting speech" and "laconic nature" in one memo

The latest trove of previously-unreleased documents from the Clinton White House reveal the administration’s candid and at times unflattering assessment of Ruth Bader Ginsburg before her confirmation to the Supreme Court.

The memo, drafted by then-White House Associate Counsel Ron Klain to David Gergen, lists Ginsburg’s defense of the American Civil Liberties Union and “her failure to make eye contact, her halting speech, her “laconic” nature” as potential “performance pitfalls” for her in Senate confirmation hearings. It also includes the underlined warning that, “Judge Ginsburg views the White House’s interest and her interests as being at odds with each other.”

“She sees us as having a stake in presenting her as a moderate and in getting along well with the Senate; she sees her interests as ‘being herself,’ preserving her ‘dignity,’ and promoting her ‘independence,’” the memo continued.

The document is part of the latest batch of memos from the Clinton administration that have been released by the Clinton Library over the past several months. Also in this release is a memo from Klain outlining the subjects President Bill Clinton should bring up and which to avoid in a conversation with soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Also of note is the multiple-choice memo to Clinton seeking his preferences for a planned trip to Spain, Poland, Romania and Denmark, and a White House memo outlining contingency planning for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Bonus: With this check mark, President Bill Clinton began the process of nominating Sonia Sotomayor to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Clinton Library

The Ginsburg memo:

The Breyer memo:

The Olympics memo:

The trip planning memo:

TIME

Pregnant Olympic Runner Finishes 800-Meter Race

A pregnant Alysia Montano runs in the opening round of the women's 800 meter run during day 2 of the USATF Outdoor Championships at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California on on June 26, 2014.
A pregnant Alysia Montano runs in the opening round of the women's 800 meter run during day 2 of the USATF Outdoor Championships at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California on on June 26, 2014. Ezra Shaw—Getty Images

The crowd cheered as she crossed the finish line

Alysia Montano ran an 800-meter race at the U.S. Track and Field Championships on Thursday while 34 weeks pregnant.

The five-time national champion posted a time of 2 minutes and 32.12 seconds, nearly 35 seconds shy of her personal best of 1:57.34 from 2010, according to the Associated Press.

The 28-year-old Olympian received approval from her doctor to race. By running, Montano says she hopes to clear up any misconceptions people have about running while pregnant.

“What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby…I did all the things I normally do…I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year,” Montano said.

The American Pregnancy Association encourages women to exercise during pregnancy: “Being active with 30 minutes of exercise on most or all days can benefit your health during pregnancy. The important note is that you want to seek to be active and get your blood flowing.”

The relaxed pace is something Montano will likely blow past when her doctor gives the thumbs up to run again after the baby is born.

 

TIME olympics

Olympic Swimmer Amy Van Dyken Rouen Severs Spine in ATV Accident

Denver Broncos side line reporter for 850 KOA Amy Van Dyken. Reporting on the Broncos vs the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, October 7th, 2007 at Invesco Field. Andy Cross / The Denver Post
Amy Van Dyken reporting on the Broncos vs the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, October 7th, 2007 at Invesco Field. Andy Cross--Denver Post via Getty Images

The six-time Olympic champ was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident on Friday and was airlifted to a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital

Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken Rouen was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident in Arizona on Friday that severed her spine.

The champion swimmer was airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center after the ATV she was driving hit a curb in a parking lot and threw her down a drop-off that was thought to be between 5 to 7 feet. She reportedly told paramedics that she couldn’t move her toes or feel anything touching her legs. Van Dyken Rouen’s husband — former Denver Broncos player Tom Rouen — was with her at the time of the accident and told authorities that his wife hadn’t been drinking.

According to the Associated Press, a letter from the Van Dyken and Rouen families said that the 46-year-old swimmer had severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebrae and that the broken vertebrae had come within millimeters of piercing her aorta.

Van Dyken Rouen made her name at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where she became the first U.S. female athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympic Games. (She snagged the top prize in the 50-meter freestyle and 100 butterfly events and was part of the winning relay teams in the 400 free and 400 medley.) Four years later in Sydney, Van Dyken Rouen won two more gold medals when she competed with the winning U.S. relay teams for the 400 free and 400 medley.

“The USA Swimming family is devastated to learn of Amy Van Dyken’s unfortunate accident this weekend,” said the national governing body for competitive swimming in a statement on their website. “We’re happy to hear that she escaped and is now in great care. That she is already ‘acting like her typical spunky, boisterous, ebullient self’ shows she’s on a great path. Amy is a champion who has proven throughout her life that she is a fighter who takes on challenges and comes out on top. We know Amy will tackle her rehabilitation with vigor and be back on her feet sooner rather than later.”

Despite the severity of the accident, Van Dyken Rouen has been posting photos to social media from her hospital bed, including a snap of artwork made by her niece and nephew, along with the hashtag #hostpitalsSuck.

 

TIME South Africa

Psychiatrist Says Pistorius Has Anxiety Disorder

The psychiatrist called as a defense witness on Monday in the murder trial of paralympian Oscar Pistorius said childhood events, including the loss of his lower legs and late mother's habit of sleeping with a gun, are linked to his "escalating" anxiety levels

A psychiatrist called as a defense witness in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial said Monday that the South African Olympian has an anxiety disorder that affects how he responds to perceived threats.

Dr. Merryll Vorster said events in Pistorius’ childhood, like the amputation of his lower legs and his late mother’s paranoid habit of sleeping with a gun under her pillow, contributed to his “escalating levels of anxiety,” the Associated Press reports.

Pistorius is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he shot early on Valentines’ Day morning last year. Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. Prosecutors say he intentionally murdered Steenkamp during an argument.

Vorster testified that Pistorius, the double-amputee who became famous as “Blade Runner,” had a fear of crime, and that his amputated limbs caused him to respond to threats differently than other people. She said that he would more likely try to “fight” a perceived intruder rather than run away, because his stumps make it difficult to flee. “Overall, Mr. Pistorius appears to be a mistrustful and guarded person,” she said.

On cross-examination, the chief prosecutor asked Vorster if someone with Pistorius’s anxiety condition and access to guns would be a danger to society; Vorster answered yes. Following the psychiatrist’s testimony, the chief prosecutor requested that Pistorius be placed under psychiatric observation, but Judge Thokozile Masipa has not yet ruled on the request.

[AP]

TIME 2016 Summer Olympics

Olympic Committee: No Truth To Rumors About Moving 2016 Games To London

The International Olympic Committee flatly denied rumors circulating in the British press that the 2016 Summer Olympics may be moved from Brazil to London because of construction delays in host city Rio de Janeiro

A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee flatly denied Friday rumors circulating in the British press that London had been approached about taking over the 2016 Summer Olympics from Brazil.

“Not a shred of truth to it,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told the Associated Press in an email. “Simply a non-starter –totally without foundation and totally unfeasible.”

The London Evening Standard reported earlier Friday that London, which hosted the 2012 Olympics but has already begun dismantling or converting some of the sporting venues, “has been secretly asked” to take over.

Brazil, which is also hosting the FIFA World Cup this summer, has drawn criticism for massive construction delays and other issues. ICO vice president John Coates said last week the country’s preparations were “the worst I have ever experienced,” but he also said there was no “plan B.”

[AP]

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