Serena Williams has been crowned Sports Illustrated (SI) Sportsperson of the Year after a 2015 in which she won three grand slam singles titles to take her tally to 21, and lost only three times in 53 matches. But her victory hasn't been well received by everyone.
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Some sports fans are distraught that racehorse American Pharoah didn't take the prize after winning the Triple Crown in the United States. The three-year-old also won the prestigious Breeders' Cup in his last ever race to round off a stellar season.
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Williams claimed the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles in a landmark year, and said she was "beyond honored" to become only the third individual female winner in the award's 61-year history. It offered "hope to continue on and do better," she said.
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Serena was on the brink of a calendar grand slam before she was beaten in the semifinals of the U.S. Open by Italy's Roberta Vinci. It was one of the biggest shocks in recent memory and left her slam record in 2015 as played 27, won 26.
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American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to complete the Triple Crown, winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes before bowing out in style by clinching the Breeders' Cup crown. In a poll run by SI on who should win Sportsperson of the Year, the colt attracted 47% of the vote to Williams' 1%.
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The horse racing fraternity reacted angrily to SI's decision. Brian Zipse, editor of Horse Racing Nation, claimed SI had an "agenda" while the horse's jockey Victor Espinoza called it a "sham." One Twitter user added: "American Pharoah overwhelmingly won online poll and yet you pick someone else? What a joke."