clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Yulimar Rojas is Outsports’ 2020 LGBTQ Female Athlete of the Year

The LGBTQ triple jumper set a world record and is the first Venezuelan to be named World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year. Sue Bird and Nyla Rose are our other honorees.

TOPSHOT-ATHLETICS-WORLD-2019
Yulimar Rojas had the second-longest women’s outdoor triple jump distance in history at the World Athletics Championships in 2019.
Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

With so many athletes sidelined by the pandemic in 2020, Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas had a career year. She set the indoor world record for the triple jump in February and became only the second woman ever to record two career jumps of over 15.4 meters.

Rojas set a new world indoor record for the women’s triple jump at 15.43 meters (that’s about 15 feet, 7 1/4 inches) at the final meet of last season’s World Athletics Indoor Tour, held last February in Madrid.

She was also named World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year. Rojas is the first Venezuelan to receive the prestigious honor. You can watch the teary moment she found out she had won that award:

The triple jump, in case you’re not familiar with the track and field event, is a hop, skip and a jump. Literally. As a former triple jumper myself, I can tell you it’s not easy to master the technical aspects of each component. Understatement: Rojas has done just that.

You can watch her record-setting jump on YouTube. The excitement of the announcers — who know right away that it’s a world record — is great. The previous record had stood for 16 years. Her jump was only 7 centimeters (less than 3 inches) from the overall world record, set outdoors in 1995.

Accentuating the importance of her athletic accomplishments is the fact that she’s publicly out in Venezuela, which she represents on an international stage. Same-sex relationships are not recognized in the country, and she is regarded as a trailblazing lesbian in the country.

All of that makes Rojas Outsports’ Female Athlete Of The Year.

Even before 2020, Rojas has had a stellar career, winning two world championships in 2017 and 2019, as well as a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

She will be a favorite to win gold next summer in Tokyo.

Other honorees:

Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird and wrestler Nyla Rose.
Sue Bird, left, and Nyla Rose.
Shelby Weldon/Photo by Stephen Gosling NBAE via Getty Images and Slaven Vlasic Getty Images

Sue Bird — The 11-time WNBA All-Star won her fourth league title, tied for most by a single player in WNBA history. Bird was also a ray of light during the initial pandemic lockdown, along with fiancée Megan Rapinoe posting fun videos to put a smile on people’s faces.

Nyla Rose — In February, Rose won the AEW Women’s World Championship, becoming the first trans woman to win a world title in a major U.S. wrestling promotion. She successfully defended her title before losing it to Hikaru Shida in the spring.

Follow Yulimar Rojas (@yulimarrojas45) on Instagram by clicking here. Click here to follow Sue Bird (@sbird10) on Instagram and follow Nyla Rose (@nylarosebeast) by clicking here.

Outsports is unveiling the 2020 honorees every day through Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Prior Female Hero Of The Year winners:

2019: CeCé Telfer

2018: Sue Bird

2017: Seimone Augustus

2016: Nicola Adams

2015: Abby Wamback and Megan Rapinoe

2014: Brittney Griner

Outsports has divided year-end Athlete and Hero awards to highlight accomplishments of people across genders. We understand that not everyone fits into the binary gender world currently established in sports, and we honor that identity with the Non-Binary Award.