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Time picks USWNT as Athlete of the Year

Editors chose the U.S. Women’s National Team for Time Magazine’s “Athlete of the year” for 2019.

Time Magazine chose the USWNT
Cait Oppermann for TIME

Time Magazine announced Wednesday its editors chose the World Cup winning U.S. Women’s National Team as “Athlete of the Year.”

Not just for their back to back victory in France. Not just for the individual performance of athletes like Megan Rapinoe — interestingly, the only member of the team acknowledged as an out gay woman in the article — and Alex Morgan and so many more members of the team. Not just because they continue to fight for equal pay for themselves and for women across the nation.

But as Time’s Sean Gregory wrote, it was because “the rapturous joy of 23 women whose unalloyed pride in their accomplishment, and determination to see it shared, seemed to mark a new era.”

“We’re in a movement,” remarked Rapinoe, “not a moment.”

Time Magazine Athlete of the Year
Cait Oppermann for TIME

Time noted it was this united focus on their impact that made them a natural choice, even though the USWNT did receive criticism for their bravada.

“It’s someone’s prerogative to be saying, ‘They shouldn’t be doing this,’” says U.S. forward Christen Press. “And what makes our team what it is is nobody cares.”

Gregory wrote:

“...it was precisely that honest, unfiltered and unapologetic quality that struck such a chord. The soccer insiders were right about Team USA becoming a national obsession. But they were wrong about the reason. The U.S. women didn’t evoke the easy feelings of patriotism that come from waving a flag so much as embody the evolving spirit of the more perfect union that it symbolizes.”

In case you were wondering, Time’s choice for Person of the Year is 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Read Time Magazine’s story about the USWNT by clicking here.