Mikaela Shiffrin and Brittney Griner are among the Olympians on this year’s Time 100 Most Influential list.
Shiffrin made the list after a 14-win World Cup season that included breaking a 34-year-old record for career Alpine skiing World Cup victories. Shiffrin, 28, is up to 88 wins.
“Most people thought that record would never be broken, and having a female athlete do it is a really big deal,” fellow Olympic Alpine skiing champion Lindsey Vonn wrote for Time. “With Serena Williams stepping away from tennis, there’s room for another big female global sports superstar, and Mikaela can fill that opportunity. She’s really stepped into the spotlight and done a great job moving the needle for our sport. She’s competing against herself at this point — she could reach 100 wins. It’s just a matter of how long Mikaela Shiffrin wants to keep at it. The sky’s the limit for her.”
Griner, a two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist, was arrested in Russia in February 2022 on drug-related charges and later convicted and sentenced to nine years in a Russian jail. The State Department said that Griner was wrongfully detained until she was brought home in December on a prisoner swap.
Griner, 32, is expected to return to the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, which starts in May.
“BG’s wrongful detainment brought attention to issues like the inequities in pay for women athletes, which sometimes compel us to put ourselves in dangerous situations to maximize our financial worth,” Olympic champion teammate Sue Bird wrote for Time. “It brought to light the dozens of Americans wrongfully detained around the world, and BG continues to use her platform as a sports superstar to advocate for their release. It speaks to the power of the women who rallied around her — Black women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, our WNBA community — and who made certain her name was never forgotten, that she’d return home. These are the women who get sh-t done.”
The most influential list also included two-time Olympic refugee team swimmer Yusra Mardini and her sister, Sara. Mardini, 25, made her Olympic debut in 2016, about one year after the sisters swam for their lives for three hours in the Aegean Sea while fleeing Damascus for Europe.
Lionel Messi, a 2008 Olympic champion who last fall led Argentina to its first soccer World Cup title since 1986, and Iga Swiatek of Poland, the world’s top female tennis player, also made the list. Messi also made the list in 2011 and 2012.
At least one Olympian made each year’s Time 100 since it debuted in 2004. Listees are based on factors including relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition and success.
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Olympians and Paralympians on Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who competed in the Games before being listed:
2023 — Brittney Griner, Yusra Mardini, Lionel Messi, Mikaela Shiffrin, Iga Swiatek
2022 — Nathan Chen, Eileen Gu, Alex Morgan, Rafael Nadal, Candace Parker, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Peng Shuai
2021 — Simone Biles, Allyson Felix, Suni Lee, Naomi Osaka
2020 — Allyson Felix, Maya Moore, Megan Rapinoe, Dwyane Wade
2019 — LeBron James, Alex Morgan, Mo Salah, Caster Semenya
2018 — Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, Adam Rippon
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