Time 100 again spotlights star athletes, sports innovators

TIME magazine released its annual list of 22 100 Most Influential People today, and a number of athletes make the list, along with other sports personalities who wrote the articles about each athlete’s contribution to Culture. Here are some excerpts from their profiles:

  • soccer players ALEX MORGAN, MEGAN RAPINOE and BECKY SAUERBRUNN: Icon of women’s sport Billie Jean King writes: “More than 50 years after the Original Nine of professional women’s tennis signed token $1 contracts and forever changed the history of the sport, the battle for pay equity in sports continues – and the relay has been passed.” When the USWNT “wasn’t paid the same as the men’s team, they vowed to drag football to the right side of history.”
  • Tennis player PENG SHUAI: Activist PIN LU note: “With a lengthy post on Chinese social media site Weibo, tennis star Peng Shuai has sparked a chain reaction of events that have profoundly changed global sport.” China’s treatment of her “provided the final justification for the US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics and led the Women’s Tennis Association to cancel its events in China.”
  • Tennis player RAFAEL NADAL: Buccaneers QB TOM BRADY writes that Nadal possesses an “unparalleled charisma”. Brady: “I admire athletes who push their limits, and I’m absolutely inspired every time Rafa steps onto the court.”
  • American figure skater NATHAN CHEN: Former figure skater MICHELLE KWAN Chen writes “proved his unrelenting commitment” to the sport. Kwan was “moved to learn that he sees me as a role model as a Chinese-American skater.” “It won’t be long before we hear athletes saying they admire Nathan Chen.”
  • WNBA Chicago Sky F CANDACE PARKER: Former NBA player DWYANE WADE calls it a “force to be reckoned with”. Wade: “She’s a champion (and six-time WNBA All-Star) who built a legacy by revolutionizing her game. As a fellow athlete and parent, I admire what she’s accomplished.”
  • chinese skier EILEEN GU: American skier GUS KENWORTHY writes: “It is difficult for athletes – especially Olympic athletes – to transcend their sport. Eileen Gu is an exception to this rule.” She “proved to be one of the greatest freeskiers of all time, amassed millions of online subscribers and inspired a new generation of girls”.

OTHERS TO NOTE: Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery DAVID ZASLAV made the list following the blockbuster media merger he helped orchestrate. Magnolia co-founders CHIP & JOANNA GAINES writing, “The titan next door. The negotiator. The CEO of the CEO. … There’s something about the feeling that David conveys when he believes in you, that has the ability to change circumstances. To change the result. To change you and the world for the better. And now, as he takes on the role of CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, that opportunity becomes even greater. JAMES LEBRON write the writing on QUINTA BRUNSONwriter, producer, actor, comedian and “game changer in network television”.

IN GOOD COMPANY: For the second consecutive year, TIME highlights 100 influential companies, with the NFL make list. Editor Jeffery Kluger writes, “It’s not easy to get two-thirds of the American population doing the same thing at the same time. But it happened on February 13, when 208 million Americans listened to Super Bowl LVI.” The country’s ‘most valuable sports league’ drew 18.2 million fans to stadiums in 21; its games accounted for 75 of the 100 most-watched US shows — and the league just signed a new $113 billion television deal. The list also includes DISNEYprimarily for lifting COVID restrictions at its theme parks, as well as digital media heavyweights NETFLIX and SPOTIFY (TIME, number 6/6).

Naomi C. Amerson