Every year, editors who are part of the Associated Press network of newsrooms decide upon the stories and people of the year. Among these picks is the “Female Athlete of the Year,” of which U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn was recently chosen.
However, not only does Vonn have the distinction of being the AP’s top female athlete, she can also boast that she’s the only woman to have beaten out a horse.
Yeah, a horse. You don’t see the word “human” in the award name, do you? Finishing second in the poll of AP editors was Zenyatta, a racehorse who received 32 first-place votes to Vonn’s 77. College basketball player Maya Moore and tennis star Serena Williams finished third and fourth, respectively.
I’m not trying to take anything away from Zenyatta. She only lost one race in her career, which is definitely remarkable. It takes a great amount of willpower and dedication, balancing one’s other horsely duties in their busy world while finding the time to train, and saying less would be nothing less than an insult to her. If she could understand you. BECAUSE SHE’S A HORSE.
Horses are born to run and racehorses are bred to run faster. It’s not really something they have a choice in doing, as evidenced in the fact that Vonn doesn’t need a short man in a funny jersey sitting on her shoulders to make her go down a hill. Is Zenyatta a fine, conditioned specimen? Absolutely. Is she an athlete? I argue no. She seems more of a piece of equipment to me, tuned and operated. Could we nominate Jimmie Johnson’s stock car for “Male Athlete of the Year” if we hung one of those hideous rubber “nutsacks” off its back end?
There is a swell of support for the horse, with a significant number of web commenters stating strong points such as her excellent behavior and “personality.” No drugs, no tirades, no scandals, right? That should be befitting of an awarded athlete–especially a woman! But who have recent male awardees been? Tiger Woods. Lance Armstrong. Michael Phelps. Not the best records, but no one seems to complain–and as far as I’ve found, an animal has never cracked the male top five.
Should Zenyatta (who, by the way, finished second in 2009 as well) be considered a sound and creative choice, or is it an insult to female athletes to have her on the list at all? And can you believe I got through all of this without making a Sarah Jessica Parker joke?