Posted on Thu, Dec. 19, 2002
Serena Williams Tops Reuters Sportswoman of Year Poll
BY JOANNE RUSSELL
LONDON - World tennis number one Serena Williams, winner of three grand slam titles in 2002, is the Reuters sportswoman of the year.
Thirty-four sports editors and journalists from 27 countries nominated up to three leading sportswomen of 2002. Each first place choice was awarded three points, second place got two points and third place received one.
American Williams won the poll with 65 points out of a possible 102 ahead of world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe who got 58 points. Swedish golfer Annika Sorenstam came third with 27 points.
Williams enjoyed an outstanding season, beating her sister Venus in the finals of the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
"Her play during 2002 reached standards no woman has previously achieved," said Joseph Romanos at The Listener in New Zealand.
Williams won eight titles in 2002 and ended the year 940 points ahead of Venus, her nearest rival.
"She's been living in the shadow of the big sister for so long and emerged this year as number one in the world," said Malachy Logan at The Irish Times.
Britain's Radcliffe shattered the world marathon record in Chicago in October and smashed the European record in the final of the 10,000 meters at the European championships in August.
She also won the London marathon and took the Commonwealth 5,000 meter title.
"Nobody's perfect? Yes she is!" said Philippe Vande Weyer at Le Soir in Brussels.
"Years of dedication, suffering and frustration are rewarded at last. She's undoubtedly the best female long-distance runner ever after what she achieved in 2002."
Radcliffe was also chosen as woman's athlete of the year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
"She's been around a long time and a lot of people wouldn't have expected her to make such a giant leap now. She's had a spectacular year," said Mark Smit at Business Day in South Africa.
Roger Crutchley at The Bangkok Post in Thailand voted for Annika Sorenstam, who racked up 13 titles in 2002 to complete one of the most successful seasons in golfing history.
"Anyone who wins more than 10 top class golf events in one season has to be something very special," he said.
Croatian skier Janica Kostelic gained 19 points in the poll, while U.S. sprinter Marion Jones came fifth with 11 points.
Austrian skier Michaela Dorfmeister also won plaudits, along with Turkish middle distance runner Sureyya Ayhan.
Andre Fontenelle, a contributing editor at Placar in Brazil, nominated Briton Ellen MacArthur as top sportswoman of the year.
MacArthur, who finished second in the Vendee Globe single-handed round-the-world yacht race in February 2001, won the monohull class of the Route du Rhum transatlantic single-handed race in November.
"MacArthur's win of the Route du Rhum puts the young female skipper alongside the great names of transatlantic sailing," Fontenelle said.