I went into that competition knowing that would be the last time I would ever do this." As a result of winning the Olympic decathlon, Jenner became a national hero and received the James E.
Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States and was also named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976.
He and wife, Chrystie, are so high up on the pedestal of American heroism, it would take a crane to get them down." After the expected Olympic success, Jenner planned to cash in on whatever celebrity status could follow a gold medal in the same mold as Johnny Weissmuller and Sonja Henie, who had become major movie stars following their gold medals.
In the 1970s, Olympic athletes were considered to be amateurs and were not allowed to seek or accept payment for their positions as sports celebrities.
During the Cold War in 1972, three major Olympic titles that had a long history of American success – basketball, the 100 meter dash, and decathlon – were won by Soviet athletes.
If everything works out all right, we should be ahead after it's all over." Following a rainstorm on the second day, Jenner had a strong but cautious showing in the hurdles and discus, then personal bests in the pole vault, when Jenner took the lead, and javelin.
By that point, victory was virtually assured, but it remained to be seen by how much Jenner would improve the record.
This converted mark stood as the American record until 1991, when it was surpassed by eventual gold medalist, and world record holder, Dan O'Brien of Dan & Dave fame.