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Nadal, Rapinoe, Peng Shuai: Which athletes are named in TIMEs top 100?

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Rafael Nadal, Peng Shuai and Megan Rapinoe are among a number of sportspeople named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

The list has been published since 1999 and is now a highly publicised annual event. Entrants from the world of entertainment, politics, sports, business and other fields are all recognised. 

In total there are eight athletes featured this year, across multiple categories. Here’s a rundown of how some of these names came to be included. 

Peng Shuai included in ‘icons’ section

Last November, tennis player Peng posted on the Chinese social media website Weibo regarding how China’s former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli forced her to have sex with him. 

Peng subsequently disappeared from the public eye, leading to widespread concerns over her safety and a US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

The 36-year-old re-appeared two weeks later in state media, but many believe her appearances were staged in response to foreign inquiries. 

Peng Shuai

Writing on the Time website, feminist activist and writer Lü Pin said: “Peng undoubtedly was aware from the start of the dangers inherent in speaking out.

“In the now deleted post, she described her actions as a moth to a flame, an egg to a stone, and a self-­destruction. Her account has catapulted an unprecedented defence of women’s rights against authoritarian power.”

USWNT trio make list for securing equal pay

US Women’s National Team stars Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Rapinoe all made significant contributions in the fight for equality in women’s football. 

After a six-year legal battle, they secured a £24 million settlement and the acknowledgement of discrimination. 

And last week the USWNT and US Soccer agreed to a deal that achieves “equal pay and sets the global standard moving forward in international soccer.”

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who successfully campaigned for equality in tennis, wrote in Time: “These women have shown up and spoken up. When they were not recognised for their accomplishments, and not paid equally to the men’s team, they vowed to drag soccer to the right side of history.”

Nadal included for breaking Grand Slam record

Nadal won his 21st major title at the Australian Open earlier this year –– moving clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to become the most decorated male player in history. 

NFL superstar Tom Brady stressed his admiration for Nadal in the magazine: “I admire athletes who push themselves to the limit, and I’m absolutely inspired every time Rafa takes the court. 

“There’s something to be learned from watching his determination, his strategy, everything that it takes for him to never take any moment for granted. He’s forever going to be remembered as one of the very best athletes in all of sports.”

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