A compassionate pal on the track. Bruce Jenner's longtime friend and racing buddy Scott Pruett told the New York Daily News on Wednesday, Feb. 18, that he was surprised to recently learn about the former Olympian's gender transition from male to female.
Pruett, 54, first met Jenner, 65, in 1983, seven years after Jenner's gold decathlon medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. "He was a stud, man," Pruett told the Daily News of when he first met Jenner at a go-kart race in Arizona. "Just a great studly jock that had the world by the tail at the time."
During that period, Jenner was shifting gears from being a celebrated decathlete to becoming a professional race car driver. "Bruce worked really hard at it and had good natural ability," Pruett, now a TV race analyst, recalled of Jenner's athletic prowess. "He knew, with his background, he was in great shape; he had the ability to jump in a car and go drive and be on his game for hours."
The pair raced side by side and oftentimes against each other during the '80s. The peak of Jenner's racing days was in 1986, when he and Pruett were paired together and won a race called the 12 Hours at Sebring.
Pruett said he was stunned when he found out recently that after more than three decades of friendship, Jenner was planning to change his gender. The last time the two connected in person was in August 2013 at the SPF Grand Prix in Kansas City. Since then, Jenner has stepped out sporting fuller lips, longer tresses, and more visible feminine features; however, it was something he concealed from everybody on the track.
"I don’t walk in his shoes," Pruett told the Daily News, "and it’s difficult to understand what he’s going through and what’s taking place." Regardless, Pruett said he has nothing but support for the father of 10.
"I wish him well with whatever makes him happy," Jenner's longtime pal told the paper. "He’s always been nothing but supportive and helpful to me and I wish the same back to him."
Along with Pruett, Jenner's mom Esther Jenner similarly spoke out earlier this month about her son's talked about transition after the two discussed his decision. "It was brief and I said I was proud of him and that I'll always love him," she recalled to the Associated Press of their conversation. "I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce when he reached his goal in 1976, but I'm more proud of him now. It takes a lot of courage to do what he's doing."
As previously reported by Us Weekly, Jenner's journey will be chronicled in his own unscripted E! docuseries. He will also sit down with Diane Sawyer to discuss his transition. "The world will see his full transformation," a Jenner source told Us.