So many people go through life, and they never deal with their own issues, no matter what the issues are - ours happen to be gender identity. But, how many people go through life and just waste an entire life 'cause they'd never deal with themselves to be who they are.
If I had not been dyslexic, I wouldn't have needed sports. I would have been like every other kid. Instead, I found my one thing, and I was never going to let go of it. That little dyslexic kid is always in the back of your head.
When the time comes for your brain to process the information, the second word comes up faster than the first one. So when it's in your head, all of a sudden, it comes out backwards and you think of the word backwards.
We have a rich tradition here in the United States of great decathletes, which is amazing 'cause we have absolutely no program to develop these guys. Zero. There's nothing. They do it on their own, just like I did back in '76.
I spent 12 years of my life, the last six years training six to eight hours a day, every day of my life. At the time, when I was 20 to 26, I could do things like that, and you're not going to notice it.
I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you're a musician, a writer, an athlete or a businessman, there is no getting around it. If you do, you'll win - if you don't, you won't.
I called Daley Thompson after the Games of '84, when he won. He'd had this phenomenal decathlon for nine events - and then he went out there and jogged the 1,500 meters and missed the world record by, like, three points.
If I wasn't dyslexic, I probably wouldn't have won the Games. If I had been a better reader, then that would have come easily, sports would have come easily... and I never would have realized that the way you get ahead in life is hard work.
The truth is everybody does it from time to time. People dial telephone numbers and they get a wrong number only to find that they've read the last two digits backwards. Everybody does it, but dyslexics have this tendency to a higher degree.
What I went through in 1976, it's the same today: It's about all the pressure that you feel, the anxiety, the family, and everything that surrounds the Games, and then getting there knowing this is your big chance, and you're able to come through. It's such a satisfying thing.
Decathletes have to train for every event: sprints one day, field events the next. You pump up to make yourself strong enough to throw? Try pole vaulting at 250 pounds. There are 32 guys in most decathlons, and they're in 32 little track meets.