Sports Illustrated announced that World Cup heroine Megan Rapinoe earned the coveted title of Sportsperson of the Year and unveiled her empowering cover photo. The fourth woman in 66 years to win the spot unaccompanied is shown in a flowing white gown and holding a sledgehammer.
“Megan Rapinoe is Sportsperson of the Year not, though, not because of her newfound fame but because of how she’s handled it,” the cover story reads. “She owned the biggest moment of her life and silenced all the doubts.” In June, just ahead of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s quarterfinal match against France, Donald Trump targeted the midfielder in a Twitter tirade. A video was circulating on social media of Rapinoe matter-of-factly declaring, “I’m not going to the fucking White House” if the U.S. team wins. “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” the president wrote in a multiple-tweet thread. Of course, the U.S. team did win, largely thanks to the impressive pink-haired athlete, who was named MVP of the match. Rapinoe has also led the charge in her team’s equal-pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, and been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.