Caitlyn Jenner's 'Sports Illustrated' Cover Shows Who She Is & Always Was

In the past -- oh, we don't know, eight? Nine? -- years, Caitlyn Jenner has become so famous off the success of the Kardashian regime and off her public transition and trans advocacy that we almost forgot she's also an Olympic athlete. But she hasn't forgotten. Caitlyn posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated this month with her hand on her hip, her Olympic gold hanging around her neck, and her 1976 SI cover picture for comparison but pushed jauntily to the side. 

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The main title text -- "Where Are They Now?" -- looms over her head almost as aggressively as she's looming over you. But it's almost a joke next to Caitlyn's cocked hip and smug gaze. Where's Caitlyn now? You know where she is. You don't need us to tell you.

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The medal itself stares you down, too. It's a relic from her past, and one she hasn't worn since it was placed around her neck in 1976. It's a relic with timeless weight and universal meaning. She wears it with a familiarity that says "this is me, it is mine," and that familiarity indicates that while her body has changed, she hasn't -- not really. This is who she's always been, and hopefully, everyone will see her medal for the beacon of her identity that it is.

(It was also, according to Caitlyn, pretty good for show-and-tell when her kids were little. Could this be why the Kardashian-Jenners were always so popular? Debate.)

The timing of the cover, which corresponds both with the world's growing excitement for Rio 2016 and Brazil's somewhat concerning "oh, sh-t" about the whole thing, also dates this issue just about 40 years after Caitlyn's win in Montreal and her SI cover then.

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It also aligns with the one-year anniversary of her stunning "Call me Caitlyn" debut and the spotlight that put on the trans community. She's not the first trans public figure to talk candidly about her transition, but she's arguably one of the most well-known. People listened to her story when she volunteered to tell it, and that in itself is huge.

It's been a fulfilling journey, according to Caitlyn. She told Sports Illustrated that though she's proud of the sports era of her life, her work as a trans advocate now has meant much more. "What did I do for the world in 1976, besides maybe getting a few people to exercise a little bit?" she said. "I didn't make a difference in the world."

But she is now. We're proud of ya, Caitlyn.

 

Images via London Entertainment/Splash; Sports Illustrated

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