Bruce Jenner's Fellow Olympian on Friend's Transgender Announcement: 'Hardest Thing I Could Ever Imagine'

by Raphael Chestang 6:23 PM PDT, April 27, 2015
Playing Bruce Jenner's Fellow Olympian on Friend's Transgender Announcement: 'Hardest Thing I Could Ever Imagine'

Olympic medalist Dwight Stones, who trained with Bruce Jenner for the 1976 Games, is speaking out about Jenner's transition, saying that he was shocked to hear the news.

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"I've known Bruce since 1972," Stones said told ET. "He was a little socially awkward even then, but nothing outwardly that I would ever have picked up."

When Jenner won his gold medal in Montreal, Stones won the bronze in the high jump. The two became friends as they competed alongside each other. Their closeness made it all the more surprising for Stones to hear of Jenner's gender identity announcement.

"I saw nothing between gender ID and sexual preference," Stones said. "What he is doing -- gender ID -- it was clear that he was heterosexual. He likes women and has married three of them."

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Jenner was married to Chrystie Scott from 1972-1981, Linda Thompson from 1981-1986 and Kris Jenner from 1991-2015.

"The way I felt watching that interview was, 'Here is a tortured guy,'" Stones said. "All these years, deep down in his soul acting out must be the hardest thing I could ever imagine."

Knowing how difficult his own personal struggle has been, Jenner did his 20/20 special with the intent of helping others who might be in his shoes and educating those who might not understand.

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"What I am doing is going to do some good, and we're going to change the world," Jenner said. "I really firmly believe that. We are going to make a difference in the world with what we're doing."

Dr. Johanna Olson was featured in the special and she considers Jenner to be a hero and a role model.

"I'm really moved by the vulnerability of the interview," Dr. Olson said. "I think it's one of the most brilliant, courageous human things that people can do."

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Dr. Olson has treated more than 420 transgender youth.

"I'm glad this has happened the way Jenner chose," Dr. Olson said.