Caitlyn Jenner Forged Olympic Glory and Cultural Fame Decades Ago - NBCNews.com

When ESPN announced that it would present the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner at its annual sports awards show, the ESPYs, the network said she had shown "the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years. The citation also noted an achievement that almost seems forgotten, and for which whole generations have no living memory: She was one of the most celebrated Olympians of all time — and perhaps the most marketable athlete in America. The award that Jenner accepted Wednesday night had previously gone to such luminaries as Billie Jean King, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. She represents "possibly this first crossover athlete who had massive, massive fame and visibility in one gender, and now probably equaling it in a second gender," said Rick Burton, a former chief marketing officer for the U. S. Olympic Committee... ) Jenner's victory earned her the unofficial title of greatest athlete alive. The Soviet Union had won not just the gold but the silver in the decathlon four years earlier in Munich, and the American ice hockey team's Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviets in Lake Placid was still four years away. When Jenner burst across the finish line in the 1,500 meters on the final event of the second day — all good looks and toned muscle and flowing hair — someone handed her a small American flag on a stick for her victory lap. Jenner had clinched gold. Source: www.nbcnews.com