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Outsports Person of the Year: Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe used her incredible 2019 soccer success to bring attention to social-justice issues.

USWNT: 2019 FIFA World Cup Champions Victory Tour Training Session
Megan Rapinoe has been a champion on the pitch and as a soccer player and off the field as a champion of human rights.
Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

When we began our conversations at Outsports about our year-end awards, we looked at our readers’ nominees and started with what we considered the most obvious pick of the year: Megan Rapinoe as our person of the year.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Dec. 31st, the USWNT star was also chosen as our “Outsports Person of the Decade.”

Rapinoe was stellar on the pitch in 2019, leading the United States Women’s National Team to World Cup glory, as they outscored opponents 18-0 in group play en route to beating Netherlands in the final, 2-0. Rapinoe tied for a tournament-leading six goals, including the go-ahead first goal in the final, en route to being named best player of the tournament.

This all came after President Donald Trump responded to a comment from Rapinoe with a challenge to the soccer star to, essentially, “shut up and win.” Rapinoe seemingly used the exchange to fuel her performance that would ultimately lead to her being named The Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2019. And no, Rapinoe didn’t go to the White House to celebrate the USWNT’s big win [the entire team opted to decline the invitation, but they did accept an offer to visit Congress at a future date].

She was also named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, the first publicly out LGBTQ person to earn the honor. SI also made her the first out gay athlete to appear in the publication’s swimsuit issue.

Through it all, Rapinoe has continued to use her platform to do what she’s done for years: bring attention to social-justice issues important to her. She has brought national attention to the quest to bring equal pay to women’s sports. Even while representing the United States she has talked openly about not singing the American National Anthem as a “walking protest.”

For all of her accomplishments in 2019, and for continuing to be a champion of LGBTQ people, Megan Rapinoe is Outsports’ Person of the Year.

Prior Person of the Year honorees:

2018: Adam Rippon

2017: Former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan

2016: Duathlete and triathlete Chris Mosier

2015: High school basketball player Dalton Maldonado

2014: NFL draftee Michael Sam