Chansky’s Notebook: Remembering Bruce Jenner

This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.

Say what you must about Caitlyn Jenner winning the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage Wednesday night on the ESPY’s. Heart-warming that this transgender has finally found her true inner self?  Freak show that cheapens those who have won the award for acts of courage toward others, like Dean Smith? Or just a big WHAT- EVER publicity stunt? Jesse Helms would have loved this girl-guy!

I prefer thinking about BRUCE Jenner, one of the most popular athletes in the country after winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, where by the way, Smith led the U.S. men’s basketball team to its own gold medal. So, for the moment, let’s talk about her in the male gender.

Bruce Jenner was born in 1949, in Mount Kisco, New York. He had dyslexia and struggled in school at a young age, but excelled at sports such as water skiing, football, basketball and track. He accepted a football scholarship from Graceland College in Iowa, but after a knee injury took him out of that game, he concentrated on track and field. His college track coach, L.D. Weldon, convinced Jenner to train for the Olympic decathlon. Little did either know that Jenner would go on to become one of the most beloved athletes of the 1970s.

Jenner mastered the 10-sport decathlon, a grueling combination of track and field events where on Day One athletes compete in the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 meters; on Day Two comes 110 meter hurdles, Discus throw, pole vault, javelin toss and the dramatic 1500 meters.

Weldon encouraged him to train for the 1972 Summer Games, and Jenner placed third in the Olympic trials to qualify and tenth in Munich, where by the way the U.S. men’s basketball team got screwed out of the gold medal. At Montreal four years later, Jenner scored 8,634 points to win the gold and set a new world record and become one of the famous athletes on the planet.

In subsequent years, Jenner appeared with his family on the reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and this year revealed in a Diane Sawyer interview that he is a transgender and identifies as a female. In June, Jenner announced on Twitter that she is a woman known as Caitlyn. The circus of publicity followed.

This may be her biggest battle, but I will always remember HIS golden moment.

Tar Heels Dunn, Cannizzaro Nominees for ESPY Award

CHAPEL HILL– UNC student-athletes Crystal Dunn and Kara Cannizzaro will be going head-to-head as both were nominated for the ESPY Award for Best Female College Athlete.

Both ladies are expected to attend the ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Dunn guided the dynastic Tar Heel women’s soccer team to yet another national title in the 2012 NCAA Women’s College Cup. She took it to another level in the postseason, scoring goals in the first four games of the tournament and assisting on goals in both College Cup games, including the game-winner against Stanford.

Named the Most Outstanding Player in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Cannizzaro also won the Honda Award for women’s lacrosse. The leader of the UNC national championship winning squad, Cannizzaro had four goals in the national semifinals and four goals and two assists in the title game.

Tar Heel fans can help these two star UNC athletes win the award by voting online at

The 2013 ESPYS show can be seen live on ESPN Wednesday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET.