After a dominating tennis career and year, Serena Williams was honored Tuesday night (December 15) by Sports Illustrated as the Sportsperson of the Year in New York City. The 21 time Grand Slam Champion is the first woman and first black woman in 32 years to ever hold the title. Williams, dressed to the nines, made sure to address the lack of women representation, and the many insults she’s received throughout her career during her speech.
“I’ve had people look down on me, put me down because I didn’t look like them — I look stronger. I’ve had people look past me because [of] the color of my skin, I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman, I’ve had critics say I [would] never win another Grand Slam when I was only at number seven — and here I stand today with 21 Grand Slam titles, and I’m still going.”
The 34-year-old graced the cover of Sports Illustrated Monday sitting on a thrown wearing a black leotard and black heels showing off her toned thighs and legs. The same day, the L.A. Times was on the receiving end of the Internet’s wrath as it attempted to discredit Williams’ award by comparing her to the triple crown race horse, American Pharaoh.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 14, 2015
“I’m not standing here because I’ve just kind of cruised on. I’ve had my share of ups and downs. I’ve had many struggles. I’ve had blood clots in both my lungs at the same time. I’ve lived through tragedies and controversies — and horses,” Williams said.
Check out Williams’ full speech below.