Caitlyn Jenner appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated with her Olympic gold medal

The 30th of July 1976 should have been the greatest day of Caitlyn Jenner’s life. Back then, she was called Bruce, and had just won the gold medal in the decathlon at the Olympic Games in Montreal, anointing her one of the greatest athletes of her generation. Still, while she had broken records and was portrayed as a veritable all-American hero, Jenner says she despised her "Greek god" physique. "I hated it. But it’s what I was given, so I just tried to do the best I could with it," she tells Sport Illustrated as she returns to the cover to pose with her medal 40 years later. "Being a macho male was a way for me to try to convince myself that the woman living inside of me really [wasn’t] living inside me". sports-illustrated-jenner-435   Whatever turmoil she had experienced at that time of her life, Cait seems to have finally found peace with herself. "I like what he did and the way he set an example for hard work and dedication. I'm proud of that part of my life," she says. "But this woman was living inside me, all my life, and it reached the point where I had to let her live and put Bruce inside." 40 years later and Sports Illustrated has just released a new cover, a cover on which Caitlyn appears to be wearing the gold medal she had only looked at, hidden away in her makeup drawer for the past four decades. “It’s a picture that brings attention to this issue," she says. "That’s the important thing. That’s why I wore the medal." Once a world-renowned athlete; currently a world-renowned TV star, what Caitlyn Jenner aspires to be in the future is an inspiration to people afraid to make a transition that could set them free. "I am happier, these last 12 months, than I've ever been in my life." Jenner's full interview and exclusive 22-minute film with Sports Illustrated are available here. caitlyn-jenner-sports-illustrated-cover-01-1200x800 Words: Salomé Baudino More stories: US singer Ryan Beatty comes out as gay London commuters stand up to homophobia in public and it’s amazing – WATCH