How Bruce Jenner became an Olympic icon exactly 39 years ago

ByArash Markazi Via <a Href="" Title="espn" Class="espn_sc_byline">espn </a>
July 30, 2015, 3:32 PM

&#151; -- Before we were introduced to Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner captured the hearts of America exactly 39 years ago Thursday by winning the gold medal in the men's decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Jenner became an instant celebrity and was proclaimed "the world's greatest athlete." Not only was it a significant athletic achievement for the country in its bicentennial year, but the fact Jenner was able to dethrone Soviet decathlete Mykola Avilov, who had won gold in 1972 during the height of the Cold War, made it even more memorable.

Most people under the age of 40 know Jenner best as a reality television star from "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and most recently "I Am Cait," but the gold medal performance on July 30, 1976, remains the moment Jenner became an indelible part of American history. For some, it's a fading memory about a person whose life since has been rebooted. To celebrate the anniversary, here are five things you might not know -- or remember -- about Jenner's Olympic triumph nearly two decades ago.

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