This week Sports Illustrated revealed that Serena Williams would be the recipient of their Sportsperson of the Year Award. They referred to Serena’s stellar year as reasons why she was the most deserving of this award — 2015 included Williams hailing a 53-3 record and taking 5 titles, including the No. 1 seed in the WTA rankings.
And, yet, there were many who claimed that American Pharaoh, a horse, should have taken the title for being the first to win the Triple Crown in 37 years.
Critics aside, Serena’s award is well deserved and significant for many reasons. Here are three:
Serena deserves the recognition that comes with being the only tennis player ever to win four slams consecutively, twice. (Once in 2002-2003 and in 2014-2015.)
Serena will not be the first athlete to win Sports Illustrated’s award, but she will be the first recipient to received it under its new name of “Sportsperson of the Year Award.” Sports Illustrated decided to go with the gender neutral term for the first time this year, stating, “It just feels like the right time to make the change.”
Over 30 Years
Williams is the first female athlete to receive Sports Illustrated’s award in over 30 years. The last time a solo female athlete won the award was in 1983 when runner Mary Decker won.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.