It's official: Professional tennis player and literal goddess Serena Williams has been named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated. Williams graces the cover with the typical poise and power she possesses -- the command that has made her an icon on and off the court.
SPOY is another title the 21-time grand slam winner can add to her stellar résumé. With this win, Serena's made history once again, as she's the first individual woman to receive the honor since 1983, when track star Mary Decker was given the title.
"Sports Illustrated honors her dominance in 2015, when she won 53 of her 56 matches, three of the four Grand Slam events and built the most yawning ranking points gap between her and her closest competitor in tennis history," SI's Christian Stone wrote.
The magazine also pointed out that Serena deserves the award for more than her athletic mastery. "We are honoring Serena Williams too for reasons that hang in the grayer, less comfortable ether, where issues such as race and femininity collide with the games...She was a difference-maker in other areas, speaking out against bodyshamers in both words and actions, posing for the Annie Leibovitz–shot Pirelli calendar in only a bikini bottom. The cover shot of this issue? Her idea, intended, like the Pirelli shots, to express her own ideal of femininity, strength, power."
Many on social media were understandably thrilled about Williams' well-deserved win.
Others, like the highly esteemed news network Horse Racing Nation, expressed their disappointment for Williams's win over Triple Crown Winner American Pharaoh -- the winner of the SI readers' poll, and also a horse. American Pharaoh, a non-human mammal who's never had to battle through flagrant sexism and racism, could not be reached for comment.