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Sportsperson Of The Year
Soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe has been named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson Of The Year. Rapinoe has been a pro soccer player for years, but her incredible performance at the FIFA Women's World Cup, her activism, and her position as a major role model.
Rapinoe responded to the news on Twitter, putting the emphasis back on her fans (with a sponsored tweet):
"Honored to win @SInow #Sportsperson of the Year! I couldn’t have done it without the fans. This award is for all of you. #VWAmbassador #DriveBigger @vw"
Rapinoe is just the 4th woman to win the annual award on her own in 66 years, following in the footsteps of Chris Evert, Mary Decker and Serena Williams.
She's Had A Huge Year
Rapinoe has had a huge year. The midfielder led the U.S. Women's National Team to their fourth World Cup victory (their second in a row), absolutely destroying the competition. Her talent and charisma carried over into the victory tour, which won Rapinoe even more fans.
However, she didn't waste her time with this elevated platform. She publicly feuded with President Trump and advocated for equal pay for her teammates with the U.S. Men's Team (which has seen significantly less success), explaining that it's ""so much more than the money."
"It's really more about the investment in the game. Is the investment equal? We're talking marketing dollars and branding, investment in the youth, investment in the players, investment in the coaching staff. I don't think that that's there. I don't think that that's ever been there."
These political statements are nothing new for Rapinoe, who was one of the first athletes to kneel in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. While she now stands for the anthem, Rapinoe continues to support the cause.
"I considered [continuing to kneel]. It’s still something I’m a little conflicted about. I don’t know what would have happened [if I’d continued]. Can you do the same thing without kneeling? Did I make my point? How long do you need to protest? It certainly was better for me to stop kneeling. So, that’s a little, like—"
Ultimately, the world has gotten to see the Real Rapinoe, and that's truly something special. To Rapinoe, from The Pose to her message, it's just her.
"It’s clearly more than a celebration. I’m still trying to articulate exactly the way I feel in it. This is me in the full. We’re not going to be a certain way for anyone. This is me, and you know you love it."