PyeongChang medalists Chloe Kim and Adam Rippon were among four Olympians named to the 2018 Time 100, along with former gymnast Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.
The other Olympians were Kevin Durant and Roger Federer on the most influential people list. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt also made it.
Kim made the list as a pioneer. Award-winning chef David Chang, a second-generation Korean American and special correspondent for NBC at the PyeongChang Olympics, wrote an essay about watching the snowboarder take halfpipe gold.
“I felt two things simultaneously: incredibly happy for her — I made her a celebratory churro ice cream sandwich, which I think she called “bomb” — but also sad, because the whole world was about to descend on this now 17-year-old girl,” he wrote. “Asian-American fans further piled on their hopes that she would shatter Asian stereotypes on her way to the podium. And to top it all off, she was competing in her parents’ birth country, one that is notoriously judgmental of its diaspora.
“And you know what? She crushed it. Blew us all out of the water. Now the best thing Chloe Kim can do is be Chloe Kim. That’s not being selfish—that’s letting people know they don’t have to be anything that anyone says they should be.”
Cher wrote the Time essay for Rippon, the first openly gay figure skater to compete for a U.S. Olympic team.
“Adam is a skater who happens to be gay, and that represents something wonderful to young people,” she wrote. “When I was young, I had no role models—everyone looked like Sandra Dee and Doris Day. There was nobody who made me think, Oh, I could be like them. They represent me. Adam shows people that if you put blood, sweat and tears into what you’re doing, you can achieve something that’s special. You can be special. And I think that’s very brave.”
Like Rippon, the gymnast Denhollander made the Time 100 in the icon category. Olympic champion gymnast Aly Raisman, also a Nassar survivor, penned an essay.
“Rachael was there for each court session of that sentencing, each impact statement and each fellow survivor,” Raisman wrote. “This show of courage and conviction inspired many people to feel less like victims and more like survivors. We still have a long way to go before we achieve all the change that is so desperately needed, and I am grateful to be fighting alongside Rachael, my sister survivor!”
Here are Olympians and Paralympians on past Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who had competed in the Games before being listed:
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain Bolt, Caitlyn Jenner, Katie Ledecky, Sania Mirza, Ronda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak Djokovic, Lionel Messi, Oscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna Kim, Serena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger Federer, Chien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey Cheek, Steve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali
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