Megan Rapinoe: Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year
The hero of the World Cup and American athlete Megan Rapinoe has been declared Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, confirming that 2019 is her year indeed.
And what a year it has been for the outspoken lesbian winger, social activist, and captain of the professional Seattle Reign FC.
The declaration of the Sportsperson of the Year
SI posted the cover on Twitter with this caption: “This year, Megan Rapinoe was a galvanizing force on a team that is now looked up to by any woman who doesn’t want to be told she’s come far enough, who’s taking matters into her own hands.”
Rapinoe is featured in her pink hair and holding a sledge hammer. She is shown wearing a sheer turtleneck Valentino gown.
Rapinoe said in an Instagram post of the SI cover: “”While we do not get to choose what we see or what happens around us, and sometimes to us and others, we do get to choose how we bear witness to it.”
Rapinoe is the fourth woman to win the award’s 66-year history unaccompanied.
Megan Rapinoe acclaimed Sportsperson of the Year
SI had named Rapinoe as the Sportsperson of the Year after she had led the US soccer team to a World Championship in July.
“Playing the world’s game, on the world’s stage, under attack by a world leader, she dominated. And in doing so without fear, Megan Rapinoe became a voice for so many across the world,” Jenny Vrentas wrote for the sports magazine.
But this is more than the World Cup victory, Vrentas noted: “Rapinoe challenged perceptions of her, of female athletes, of all women.”
The SI sportswriter further wrote that Rapinoe also led her teammates to sue the US Soccer Federation for equal pay and refused to visit the White House and President Donald Trump if they won the Cup.
Megan Rapinoe is more than just an athlete
Rapinoe has used her voice to support others, like banished football player Colin Kaepernick and soccer players Raheem Sterling of Manchester City and Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli.
Vrentas wrote that Rapinoe was declared Sportsperson of the Year “not because of her newfound fame but because of how she’s handled it. She owned the biggest moment of her life and silenced all the doubts.”
When Rapinoe was recently named winner of the second-ever Ballon D’Or Féminin award, she called on well-known football players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to fight against racism and sexism in soccer.
When she was given a FIFA Award in Milan, she cited Sterling and Koulibaly for playing even in the face of racism. She also lauded Collin Martin, then the only openly gay male athlete in professional sports.