NEW YORK — U.S. national team star Megan Rapinoe has been named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
Rapinoe, FIFA Player of the Year and a two-time World Cup winner, including this year’s tournament in France, was selected for dominating “the world’s game, on the world’s stage, under attack by a world leader.”
The magazine says Rapinoe, who is a lesbian, is just the fourth woman in the award’s 66-year history to win the honor unaccompanied, calling it “a remarkable athletic achievement and a reflection of entrenched gender biases.”
Her pose, arms outstretched, chin up, head tilted back slightly after scoring the World Cup winning goal against the Netherlands, represents one of the signature sports images of 2019.
Rapinoe has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, who responded with critical tweets when she said she would not visit the White House if the U.S. women won the trophy.
“Rapinoe challenged perceptions of her, of female athletes, of all women. She led her teammates, three months before their tentpole tournament, to sue the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay and to declare in advance that they would not visit the White House when they won the Cup,” the magazine said.
Rapinoe also won the FIFA Golden Boot and the Golden Ball for most goals and best player, respectively, after the U.S. beat the Netherlands 2-0 in July at the World Cup in France. She also captured the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award.