“Sports Illustrated” Names Megan Rapinoe 2019 Sportsperson of the Year

Rapinoe is the fourth woman in the award’s history to win it unaccompanied

"Sports Illustrated" Names Megan Rapinoe 2019 Sportsperson of the Year
Megan Rapinoe reacts after a goal by teammate Allie Long. (Streeter Lecka/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / December 9, 2019 10:59 am

U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the 2019 World Cup champions, has been named Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsperson of the Year for 2019.

“I mean, it’s kind of crazy,” 34-year-old Rapinoe said of winning the award in a YouTube video posted by Sports Illustrated. “I feel in a way, in particular, the World Cup gave people not only like a motivation or an inspiration but almost like a path forward to doing something. Doing anything. During a time that feels paralyzing.”

A frequent critic of President Trump who has also advocated for gender equality and equal pay for her team as compared to the U.S. men’s national team, Rapinoe will appear on the cover of the December 16 issue of SI.

“Even in a year with many great candidates, choosing Megan as the Sportsperson of the Year was an easy decision,” said SI co-editor-in-chief Steve Cannella. “She is a force of nature on and off the field, a trailblazing soccer player who also proves every day how large and loud a voice a socially conscious athlete can have in 2019.”

SI’s Jenny Vrentas, who wrote the cover story that accompanies the Sportsperson of the Year award, tweeted that Rapinoe being just the fourth woman in the award’s history to win it unaccompanied is “a reflection of both her achievement and entrenched gender biases.”

She also called Rapinoe “a triumphant, subversive and at times reluctant American icon.”

Past recipients of the award include J.J. Watt, Jose Altuve, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, Wayne Gretsky, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and the Golden State Warriors.

Rapinoe will be presented with the award on Monday at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.

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