By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
July 24, 2012
After winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Bruce Jenner figured he’d be recognizable for a few years before fading out of the public’s eyes. Little did he know that three decades later, he would be instantly recognizable to a new generation of fans who knew of him not only as an Olympian, but as Kim Kardashian’s stepfather. Jenner, 62, appears on the reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” This summer, he’s also the E! News special correspondent for the Olympic Games in London.
Q. What are some of your most memorable travel memories?
A. My first time out of the country was to Europe for the 1972 Games, so that made the Munich Olympics pretty special. I came out of nowhere to make the team in 1972. It was so unexpected that I didn’t even have a passport. I had never been out of the country before. I was living in Connecticut and had to call the governor so that he could help expedite my passport, which I needed within two weeks. I was 22 years old and really knew nothing about what was going on in the world.
Q. Were you fearful for your own safety during the Munich massacre?
A. It happened in the building next to me, but I never really felt in danger. It was kind of interesting. Today if that happened, they would’ve evacuated the entire village. Back then, they just cordoned off that one area. We could walk around and some of us went to where the Puerto Rican team was and we snuck onto the porch and put our heads up over the railing and there was a terrorist maybe 20 yards away with a gun. I had to compete the day after. I wound up in 10th place and went home.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Every country has beautiful scenery and things to see. But I don’t think I’ve ever been to a nicer, more friendly place than New Zealand. I tend to judge a country by its people, and the people there are so friendly and nice. I spent a week in Christchurch and soaked everything in. They love America and speak the same language, which is a plus for me. I like Australia, too, but I’ve always felt that the difference between those two countries is that Australia is kind of like a big city, whereas New Zealand is more like a small town. I like that small town feel.
Q. Where do you enjoy going in the United States?
A. I love taking my two youngest girls to Wyoming every summer to my sister’s ranch. My brother-in-law’s family owns the Moose Head Ranch, which is a working guest ranch.
Q. People tend to love or hate the Kardashians. Have you had any issues when you’re on the road because of the way you’re portrayed on the series?
A. No, because I’m not a very controversial character on the show. The reaction from 99.9 percent of the people I meet is very nice. I come from a very positive place, thanks to the Olympic Games. I am proud of the show, because we do a good job.
Q. Where have you traveled to for the show that was awesome?
A. Bora Bora was very nice. We stayed in a hut on the water. This year we went to the Dominican Republic. But even before the show, we liked to travel as a family and take vacations together. I will say that it can be tough traveling with all the kids because there are so many pieces of luggage to take. And my wife has a suitcase per day. Why she needs a suitcase for each day is beyond me. It takes massive amounts of people to move everybody.
Q. Would Kris say the same about you?
A. No. I travel very light. When I travel for my speeches, I bring just one carry-on. Before we got married, Kris used to travel very light. But then we got married and she doubled the baggage.
Q. What are some of your favorite cities?
A. I love cities like Paris and Rome, where there’s so much history and old architecture. I find all that fascinating.
Q. Where was the first place that you and Kris visited overseas?
A. Ireland. We went and played the golf courses there and stayed in the old castles.
Q. What are your memories of traveling with your children when they were younger?
A. Kris and I have 10 children total now. But when we met 21 years ago, she had four kids and I had four kids and she decided that we should go on a ski trip. So that’s 10 people total. That meant 20 skis, 20 poles, 40 gloves and a minimum of 20 ski outfits — and that’s just for Kris! The prep started weeks in advance. The living room was filled with ski suits all piled around with the kids’ names on them. We had two SUVs come to the house just to pick up the bags to go to Deer Valley. But the kids are all veteran travelers now and know all the ropes. They’re good at what they do.
© 2012 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.