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PhantomoftheWolves

American Pharoah vs Serena Williams

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Well... AP is a horse. So I'm not sure the award really makes sense for him anyway. He certainly deserves all honor and respect, but to call a horse 'sportsperson' is a bit odd, I think. Surely there's some equestrian equivalent?

Edited by Lurhstaap

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American Pharoah is an athlete. He has a strict diet and training regimen, rules that must be followed, a concrete method by which mastery can be measured. His sport has leaderboards, records, titles, all that. If Serena Williams deserves to be considered as someone who can literally come back year after year and keep trying her best, then a horse that has but ONE chance at immortality, and is the first to achieve it in 37 years, certainly belongs in her midst.

 

The thoroughbred racing equivalents are the Eclipse Awards, but Sportsman of the Year honors encompass all achievements by athletes in any sport - so why snub the genuine article simply because he's a horse?

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Well, because the award was designed and meant for human athletes, not athletes of any species. To me it's a bot like trying to nominate a dog in a conformation drill meant for Arabians. It may be beautifully conformed for its breed, but it just isn't relevant to compare it to a totally different species even if the sport is the same. At least so I understand. If indeed it's not explicitly limited to humans that's different, but for most humans, at least, a horse is not a 'person' and therefore ineligible for a' sportsperson 's' award.

 

Whether I AGREE that horses or other animals are not people is a different question. tongue.gif I'm just trying to go with the majority definition.

Edited by Lurhstaap

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Did the rules originally specify that the winner of Sportsman of the Year had to be a human athlete? I don't believe they did. And if they didn't that means that any athlete should be considered if their accomplishments were sufficiently notable. After all, the Kansas City Royals are not a person either, but a team.

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Sportsmammal of the year?

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I think that both athletes accomplished a lot during the year, but I agree with the article's comment "Zayat Stables' Justin Zayat said: 'Why have a poll if you totally ignore it? Serena FAILED at winning the Grand Slam. AP once in a lifetime horse.' "

 

Race horses Secretariat (#35), Man o' War (#84), and Citation (#97) made ESPN's list of the top North American Athletes of the 20th Century.

 

Maybe Sports Illustated should change the name of the award to Athlete of the Year?

 

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Well... AP is a horse. So I'm not sure the award really makes sense for him anyway. He certainly deserves all honor and respect, but to call a horse 'sportsperson' is a bit odd, I think. Surely there's some equestrian equivalent?

I agree.

 

~

 

And I'm honestly kinda bothered by the question posed here, which is unfortunate because the article brought up some actually great considerations we could be discussing instead.

 

But if you want to, instead, ask me if a black woman who has dominated her sport for years and had her accomplishments unrecognized and toned down because she is black and a woman deserved sportsperson of the year over a horse who trains because that's what its trainers tell it to do, then hell asterisking yes, the right decision was made here.

 

=\

 

Serena has been ranked #1 in women's singles tennis six times. She's considered the reigning champion of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and Olympic women's singles and doubles. She's earned 36 major titles, which puts her 5th overall on the all-time list and 2nd in what's called the open era. Ask any current player and 99% of them will say Serena is the toughest competitor they have ever faced. She's won 21 grand slams. Serena won three Grand Slam singles titles this year alone. This title was a long time in coming IMHO.

 

Serena is only the 10th woman to receive this award - and the first since the 9th in '83. 61 people have won this award. That means 16% have been women. That's not even a quarter of recipients. If I have the energy later, I could look and see how many have been poc and woc in particular. Tbqh, I don't care for non-human athletes being named for this honor. Do a sportsperson of the year and a sportsanimal of the year or something.

Edited by SockPuppet Strangler

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Dears in Hungary we have a tripple crown winner in this year too.

I love the horse racing but Pharaoh didnt win the derby if the jockey didnt use the whip. ;d

 

The tripple crown is nice but only 3 races. The modern racehorses can't produce that a racehorse in the 19th century (Kincsem etc.)

 

AND... I don't really like the tennis smile.gif

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Let me get this straight, Halatir. You're saying that if the jockey -doesn't- beat the horse, it's not a win? What kind of twisted logic is that?

 

This is coming from someone who's ridden for a number of years, and does use a crop.

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I think the horse should win.

Me too. And there's a lot of precedent for it. Sports Illustrated named Secretariat its "Athlete of the Year" in 1973 for becoming the first thoroughbred since Citation in 1948 to win America's Triple Crown.

 

Racehorses are not robots nor machines, they are flesh and blood, they have different personalities, and they have a desire to win. They train, they diet, they have setbacks, and they keep going. They are in every sense of the word athletes.

 

 

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I'm pretty sure the main issues in question here are:

 

1) Should the Athlete of the Year award be able to go to an athlete that isn't human and

2) If yes, which athlete is more deserving?

 

Whatever one's opinions on the caliber of race horses in the present day (and I defy you to show me a single horse past or present who had a snowball's chance in Vesuvius of beating Secretariat on Belmont day, 1973 - that horse is Pegasus incarnate), those are the topics relevant to this post.

 

In my opinion, to answer number 1, if the rules did not explicitly exclude non-human athletes at the time selections were made then non-human athletes deserve to be considered. As StormBirdRising mentioned - horses train, diet, have sport-related injuries, and a will to win exactly like human athletes, and I can name a plethora of human athletes who also compete under a trainer from a young age, with little personal say in the matter. It's a thing that happens.

 

To answer number 2, I think Serena Williams is an amazing athlete. However, this year she was not even the best athlete in her own sport, much less across all of them. Did her accomplishments this year mark a dramatic turn in the reception of Tennis to people who follow the sport or maybe will begin following the sport thanks to her efforts? Did her accomplishments this year mark the achievement of a title that can only be attempted - much less earned - once in her entire career, an achievement which hasn't been obtained in nearly 4 decades? Serena Williams is and will always be a legendary tennis player. She deserves to be recognized, and she is, for her exceptional skill. However, this year, I do not believe she was the athlete of the year. And - unlike American Pharoah - she can always win the honor later.

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