We at Outsports always spend weeks discussing and debating our six year-end awards. Who was most qualified? Who performed the best? Who contributed the most?
This year, of all the year-end honors Outsports bestows, the Person of the Year was the easiest. In early November, when we first started talking about this, both Cyd and Jim had only one person in mind: Chris Mosier.
The person of the year has to embody both of the other two exemplary awards we hand out: Athlete of the Year and Hero of the Year. Both of our previous two award winners — NFL hopeful Michael Sam and Kentucky high school baskeball player Dalton Maldonado — exhibited both perfectly.
Strictly as an athlete, Mosier was a beast.
At the Sprint Duathlon World Championship in June he did exceptionally well, finishing in the top third of his competitors. His race and experience were chronicled by ESPN’s Christina Kahrl.
While we view Mosier as just another male athlete, it’s so important to also acknowledge he’s not just like the other guys. He is a trans man, meaning he was born in a female body. Given all the nonsense we are fed about the inferiority of athletes born in the body of a woman, his performance at the world championship — and all throughout 2016 — was that much more sweet.
Mosier is simply incredibly hard-working and dedicated athlete. We have followed him closely on social media all year long. This is a man who is running before dawn in freezing temperatures. He is training on vacation. In 2016 he was a man on a mission. Mission accomplished.
Mosier ended his season in November with a third-place finish at the Sprint Triathlon World Championship qualifier. He’ll continue to compete on the world stage in 2017 and beyond.
By the way, Mosier was one of the finalists in 2015 for Outsports’ Male Athlete of the Year Award based strictly on athletic performance. Not many people have won an award from us two consecutive years, let alone two different awards. Mosier has earned every bit of it.
As a hero — defined largely for us by off-the-field endeavors — Mosier was a divine inspiration.
We will never forget getting an email from an anonymous source last January that the International Olympic Committee was changing its transgender policy to be more inclusive of trans athletes. That was much about Mosier. That was the power of being out.
Having qualified for the World Duathlon Championship, Mosier was barred by IOC policy from competing. His very existence and hard work forced the IOC’s hand (IOC policy dictates duathlon and triathlon policy worldwide). They had to either continue down their former path and reject Mosier’s qualification for the world championship or change their policy to build inclusion.
They chose the latter.
His participation at the World Championship is the stuff of movies. Of history books. As he wrote on Facebook at the time:
No other trans athlete will need to wonder if they can do it - it's been done. So incredibly honored to pull on this uniform and compete on Team USA today in Spain. History - for me, for the sports equality movement, for all of us.
He appeared in ESPN The Magazine’s Body issue, putting a public face and a body on trans athletes. He looked amazing.
While his accomplishments in 2016 are hard to put in one article, it’s something that transpired in May that brings tears to our eyes.
Six weeks after the North Carolina legislature passed the anti-LGBTQ law HB2, which barred trans people from using facilities of their gender identity, Mosier headed to Cary, N.C., to compete in the Long-Course National Duathlon Championship.
We are told all the time about professional sports teams possibly being “distracted” (we have come to hate that word) by an LGBTQ athlete coming out.
Distracted? Mosier was targeted in May.
Despite the recently adopted law, he went to North Carolina to compete. He rose above the competition and qualified for the 2017 Long-Course World Duathlon Championship.
What does that mean? Mosier isn’t going away anytime soon.
In addition to his on-course performances, he also became a staff member at You Can Play this year.
We at Outsports have had the privilege of sharing the stories of hundreds of LGBTQ athletes and coaches who have aimed to change the world of sports. Each of them has advanced change is their own way. Some have forced conversations, some have generated understanding, and some have led to policy transformations that open the door for countless athletes to follow in their wakes.
Mosier is all of that and more.
If we had to name a Person of the Year for the entire LGBTQ community in 2016, it would be this incredibly brave, humble and dedicated man who has made excellence and inclusion his hallmarks. We hope other outlets like The Advocate, Out magazine and Logo are listening.
We could not be more proud to name Chris Mosier Outsports’ 2016 Person of the Year.
2015 - Dalton Maldonado
2014 - Michael Sam