Serena Williams was honored Tuesday night at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony in New York City. After a ridiculously successful year that included capturing the Australia Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles, its safe to say that Serena deserves the recognition—and certainly more than some damn horse.

She spoke at the event about wanting to win the US Open as a child (she’s now won it six times), growing up as a female athlete in Compton, and all the people who have doubted her over the years for being a strong black woman who happens to be a cut above almost everyone else in the sport:

I’ve had people look down on me. I’ve had people put me down because I didn’t look like them—I look stronger. I’ve had people look past me because of the color of my skin. I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman. I had critics say I will never win another grand slam when I was only at number seven and now here I stand today with 21 grand slam titles and I’m still going.

Appropriately, she ends her speech with an excerpt from Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise. It was a satisfying ending for what has been nothing less than the Year of Serena Williams.


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Image via Theo Wargo/Getty.