The decathlon days of Montreal were cool and gray, and by the time Jenner chose to vault again, at 15'1�", he had lain about for hours, rested but rusty. While the height was well within his reach, he missed on his first attempt. He looked tentative. Could he have cooled out? He did make it on his second attempt, but failed twice at 15'5". Kratschmer, vaulting better than ever in his life, was right with Jenner. The American paced, shook his head, fretted, and then, at almost the instant he prepared to go, a fanfare blared from the public-address system, announcing a medal ceremony. Jenner had to stop, put his warmups on. At last, several minutes later, he could go again. "Can I make this?" he thought. He started to run. "You always make these things," he told himself. And of course he did. Then Kratschmer missed on his third attempt. The gold and the record and the success of Bruce Jenner's life were assured.
He finished two hours later, sprinting the last 300 yards of the 1,500, flying before a tumultuous crowd that roared and waved Old Glories. Many of the other decathletes dropped to the ground, gasping, heaving. Jenner began a jaunty victory lap. At the end he saw his wife Chrystie in the stands. She was struggling to reach him, but the police would not allow it. "My God, it's my wife!" Jenner cried at them, and somehow she got to him and fell into his arms. "It's over now, it's over," he whispered. She hung there and would not let go. The last time she had been alone with him was the day before the competition, when they drove up to Ste. Ad�le, a ski area. They stood on a dock, looking out over a lake, and suddenly she realized that he was unconsciously pantomiming the throwing of a discus.
Chrystie is a minister's daughter. She met Jenner at Graceland, a small church college in Lamoni, Iowa, which he went to from Newtown, Conn. on a football scholarship. He was also a water-ski champ then, but he took up the decathlon at Graceland, married Chrystie and moved to San Jose, where they live with a hurdle in the middle of the living room. She left school and became a stewardess to support him so that he—they—could go for the gold at Montreal and for all that it could mean.
It was not easy. Chrystie started seeing a psychiatrist. "I was living through Bruce's accomplishments," she says. "They're very exciting. Everybody would want to be in his position, but to live through someone else is very frustrating. The psychiatrist helped me to become my own person, to like myself." Now Jenner can support her—as a sports-caster, a company's spokesman, an endorser, a salesman of some kind, an actor: there is revived talk of Tarzan and Superman movies—and she will finish college.
Chrystie watched him on the victory stand, rising above Kratschmer, who finished second with 8,411, and Avilov, third with 8,369. She was crying again. Her husband was smiling. He took his gold medal and kissed it. Seeing him do that, the immediate recollection was of Barbra Streisand when she won her Oscar. "Hello, gorgeous," Streisand said, and she kissed it. Jenner brought it off better. But then, he does things better. That is what the decathlon is, doing things better.
"Our whole society is based on specialists," Jenner says. "The decathlon goes against that. A decathlon is a presentation of moderation."
And if he wants, if he wills it, in the 11th event of his decathlon, he and Chrystie will live happily ever after.