Sports Illustrated named athlete Megan Rapinoe as the 2019 Sportsperson of the Year.
Presenting SI’s 2019 Sportsperson of the Year: Megan Rapinoe ????
She owned the biggest moment of her life and silenced all the doubters, all while becoming a voice for so many across the world https://t.co/Djg6rbAqj3
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 9, 2019
“Playing the world’s game, on the world’s stage, under attack by a world leader, she dominated,” the outlet said about Rapinoe’s successful year. “And in doing so without fear, Megan Rapinoe became a voice for so many across the world.”
Her year included winning the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France as part of the United States’ Women’s National Soccer team. Rapinoe earned the Golden Boot at the tournament after contributing six goals and three assists, Bleacher Report reported.
Rapinoe reacted on social media by thanking her fans. (RELATED: Megan Rapinoe Reveals She Thinks Her Dad Voted For Donald Trump)
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) December 9, 2019
“Honored to win @SInow #Sportsperson of the Year! I couldn’t have done it without the fans,” she tweeted. “This award is for all of you.”
Despite having a successful year in soccer, Rapinoe also used her platform to speak out about equality issues in the sport. After beating out Alex Morgan and Lucy Bronze to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or, she publicly called on male soccer stars Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Cristiano Ronaldo for not helping her cause.
Megan Rapinoe calls for help from Ronaldo, Messi and Zlatan ✊ pic.twitter.com/73rPRKOEoj
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 4, 2019
“I want to shout: ‘Cristiano, Lionel, Zlatan, help me!’ These big stars do not engage in anything when there are so many problems in men’s football. Do they fear losing everything?” she questioned. “They believe that but it is not true. Who will erase Messi or Ronaldo from world football history for a statement against racism or sexism?”
Rapinoe also gained attention after claiming she would refuse to attend a trip to the White House if the United States won the World Cup. She also sparked outrage after she kneeled during the U.S. National Anthem during the 2019 World Cup.
The female soccer star is only the fourth woman to be named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year. Other women who have been given the honor include Chris Evert, Mary Decker, and Serena Williams.