Venezuelan triple jump record holder Yulimar Rojas and Argentine football star Lionel Messi have been named the Best Athletes of 2021 in the Americas by AIPS America.
Argentina Men’s Football Team, which ended a 28-year drought of major trophies by beating Brazil in Rio’s Maracana stadium to win their 15th Copa America title, was voted as the Best Team, while the Copa America tournament itself and the World Skating Championship held in Colombia were adjudged to have provided the Best Press Centres.
This is the result of the 11th AIPS America Awards poll in which 21 countries participated. Rojas is the Best Female Athlete for the second time in a row after smashing the triple jump world record with 15.67m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to claim gold. She came out on top in all nine of her competitions in 2021 and produced five of the top six jumps in history in any condition.
Rojas also won a Diamond League trophy to cap her impeccable season. Messi’s player-of-the-tournament performance at the Copa America proved vital in helping Argentina to a major international trophy after nearly three decades, and as a result, he also finally marked another important milestone in his career by winning a first major international title. At the club level, the Argentine also inspired Barcelona to the Copa Del Rey title prior to his move to PSG in the summer and would go on to win the Balon d’Or for the seventh time.
Here follow the standings for all four categories:
Best Men’s Athlete of 2021:
1. Lionel Messi, Football (Argentina) – 7 votes
2. Caleb Dressel, Swimming (United States) – 5 votes
3. Richard Carapaz, Cycling (Ecuador) – 3 votes
4. Mijaìn López, Lucha Grecorromana (Cuba) – 2 votes
5. Luis Martinez, Swimming (Guatemala) – 2 votes
6. Carlos Correa, Baseball (Puerto Rico) – 1 vote
7. Anthony Zambrano, Athletics (Colombia) – 1 vote
Best Female’s Athlete of 2021:
1. Yulimar Rojas, Athletics (Venezuela) – 8 votes
2. Elaine Thompson Herah, Athletics (Jamaica) – 6 votes
3. Yocasta Valle, Box Professional (Costa Rica) – 2 votes
4. Sofìa Granda, Bowling (Guatemala) – 2 votes
5. Jasmine Camacho, Athletics (Puerto Rico) – 1 vote
6. Sandra Arena, Athletics (Colombia) – 1 vote
7. Neisi Dajomes, Weightlifting (Ecuador) – 1 vote
Best Team of 2021:
1. Argentina Men’s Football Team – 7 votes
2. VenezuelaU23 Men’s Baseball Team – 5 votes
3. USA Men’s Olympic Basketball Team – 4 votes
4. Brazil Men’s Football Team – 3 votes
5. Colombia Women’s Volleyball Team – 2 votes
Best Press Centre of 2021:
1. Copa América de Fútbol (Brazil) – 8 votes
2. World Skating Championship (Colombia) – 8 votesAbstention – 5 votes