In summer of 1976, McDonald’s did a promotion with the Olympics that made the dreams of little kids everywhere come true. Each time a U.S. Olympian medaled in that Olympic games, you could redeem a McDonald’s scratch card for various food and beverage items at any of their restaurants. Foremost, we all fell in love with the Big Mac. We also came to appreciate the sensational U.S. boxing team. No single person however, made young kids happier than a decathlete named Bruce Jenner.
Jenner dominated the ’76 games by winning gold in the most grueling test of physical and athletic endurance known to man. He, more than anyone else, drove young kids and parents into McDonald’s as winners. Before we knew it, he was on Wheaties boxes everywhere. (Back when kids actually ate Wheaties )
Nobody on our 1976 Olympic team, which was dominant back when the Soviets and Eastern Europeans were Olympic professionals, made a greater athletic impression than Bruce Jenner.
Today, Bruce Jenner reaches more Americans than ever as the disregarded, step-father of the Kardashian Klan. Yeah, those Kardashians! In his role as an Olympian he epitomized athletic excellence. In his television father role he epitomizes the inconspicuous husband and step-father.
Bruce Jenner has gone from Olympic hero who was synonymous with McDonald’s Big Macs and Wheaties for young kids, to showing up weekly on one of the biggest reality television shows exposing himself as someone who is mostly ignored and dominated by the women in his life. Don’t get me wrong, he probably receives a handsome pay check for his fall from competitive grace, but the fall for a generation of American Olympic fans is worthy of an Olympic Gold in itself.
Who will be this generation’s Bruce Jenner? Which athlete will inspire and unite us today and show up in 20 years from now sullying their Gold winnings on reality television for a few dollars? My vote? Lolo Jones. She is talented, beautiful and yep, a self-professed virgin. Ratings bonanza here we come! She will be hosting potential suitors to win her love and become her first.
Then again, the Olympics with their made-for-television personal stories, pro-athletes, doping scandals (we will hear about them soon) and every four year television dominance is already the biggest and best reality television show in the world.