What more can Megan Rapinoe win? On Monday, Sports Illustrated named the Women’s World Cup soccer superstar its 2019 Sportsperson of the Year, after receiving the Balloon D’or last week, and so many other awards.

What else is there to win? Turns out, she can still win our hearts, as she did more than once this year.

As part of honoring Rapinoe, Sports Illustrated interviewed her, and gave fans a glimpse into the whirlwind she’s currently inhabiting without losing an ounce of spunk. The essence of the article, which is well-written and expertly crafted by Jenny Vrentas, can be found in the last four paragraphs.


The last four paragraphs tell the story of how this iconic photo came into being, and we share it here not to steal SI’s thunder, but because it gives us new perspective on “The Pose,” which Rapinoe created on the pitch earlier this year, and then deployed to cheers at the World Cup. It said so much to so many, but until now, we haven’t really heard what message she herself intended to convey.

Scroll down for that story. Thank you, Sports Illustrated!

When I saw this photo of Megan Rapinoe, I thought: “Holy shit! That’s one amazing magazine cover.” I’m pretty sure that was the point.

“…a photographer [Jeffrey A. Salter] asks her to pose with a prop sledgehammer, the concept being that she’s smashing the patriarchy. Someone suggests that she roar, too, the way she does after a goal. She dislikes this idea. The face and the sledgehammer, she scoffs, say the same thing.

“‘What about a smirk?’ she asks. ‘It’s kind of like a little, fuck you, I’m coming.’

She knows the look well. Everyone does by now. Rapinoe first struck The Pose after a goal in an April friendly against Australia. It was her way of asking fans, ‘Are you not entertained?’ As the year progressed, though, it grew to take on greater meaning, purpose, prominence. Maybe you saw self-love, or defiance, or something else entirely. Today, even Rapinoe struggles to explain The Pose. It’s against her nature, after all, to see things in their simplest terms.

‘It’s clearly more than a celebration,’ she says, but ‘I’m still trying to articulate exactly the way I feel in it. This is me in the full. We’re not going to be a certain way for anyone. This is me, and you know you love it.’”

Read the full article by Jenny Vrentas, and see more photos by Jeffrey A. Salter, at Sports Illustrated by clicking here.