It says something — although we’re not sure exactly what — that when Serena Williams became the first woman to win Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year since 1983, people objected because a horse didn’t win.
American Pharoah won horse racing’s triple crown, and that doesn’t happen often. Still, it’s three races.
Compare to Sports Illustrated’s case for naming Williams.
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. We honor her, too, for a career of excellence, her stranglehold on the game’s No. 1 ranking and her 21 Grand Slam titles, a total that has her on the brink of Steffi Graf’s Open Era Slam record, which Williams will likely eclipse by mid-summer.
Oh, and there’s this, Sports Illustrated says. She spoke out against body shamers.
What did the horse have to say about that?
In a survey of readers, American Pharoah finished first. Serena wasn’t even in the top 10.