Soccer star Megan Rapinoe has been named the Sports Illustrated’s 2019 Sportsperson of the Year after becoming a household name during the World Cup.
Rapinoe scored six goals while she led the U.S. to victory with her three co-captains in the Women’s World Cup in July.
She gained both fans and detractors over the summer for speaking out about issues of racial social injustice.
Sports Illustrated announced Rapinoe as their pick on Monday and she appears on the cover with her now iconic pink hair, holding a sledgehammer.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 9, 2019
She is the fourth woman to win the award by herself in the award’s 66-year history.
“A feat that is both a remarkable athletic achievement and a reflection of entrenched gender biases,” Jenny Vrentas wrote for Sports Illustrated.
Rapinoe and her teammates on the U.S. Women’s National Team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay.
“I feel like I’m being recognized on behalf of the team and everything we do on the field and off the field for reasons of like trying to do better in the world,” Rapinoe said. “That really means a lot to me, cause like yes it’s a sports award, you have to go out and perform, but really me winning it I feel like is like a win for the good guys.”
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) December 9, 2019