Fact Check

Was Riley Gaines Chosen as 'Woman of the Year' Over Megan Rapinoe?

We've previously fact-checked other questionable claims about Rapinoe that spread during the 2023 Women's World Cup.

Published Aug. 11, 2023

Image Via @ErynGreenfield/Twitter
Riley Gaines was named "Woman of the Year" over Megan Rapinoe in August 2023.

On Aug. 11, 2023, social media users began to share posts that linked to an article published by the Dunning-Kruger Times that claimed former NCAA athlete Riley Gaines had been chosen as "Woman of the Year" over U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe:

Riley Gaines Chosen as "Woman of the Year" Over Megan Rapinoe

The coveted "Woman of the Year" title has been officially handed to former Kentucky swimmer and up-and-coming conservative pundit Riley Gaines. All nine judges voted unanimously.

While the win should come as no surprise given what Riley has done for women's rights, many believed the crown would likely go to soccer star Megan Rapinoe. Nominating Committee Chair Joe Barron said Rapinoe wasn't a consideration at all.

We found social media posts spreading the claim that contained a link to the Dunning-Kruger Times article on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

The claim surfaced after the U.S. lost to Sweden during the 2023 Women's World Cup, with Rapinoe missing her first-ever World Cup penalty kick, according to The Athletic. Rapinoe has publicly supported the inclusion of transgender athletes in sports, while Gaines is an advocate against transgender woman competing in female sports and has previously "called out" Rapinoe for her support.

The Dunning-Kruger article wasn't factual. While Gaines was nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award by the athletics department of her former university, the University of Kentucky, we could not find any evidence that she had been nominated for any woman of the year award for which she was competing against Rapinoe.

The Dunning-Kruger Times describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical.

We've previously fact-checked other satirical claims about Rapinoe that spread after the 2023 Women's World Cup, such as Rapinoe supposedly being released by the U.S. Olympic Team. 

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


"About Us." Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/about-us/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

Austin, Ahmad. "Riley Gaines Calls Out Megan Rapinoe for Opposing Trans Ban." Mediaite, 11 Apr. 2023, https://www.mediaite.com/sports/riley-gaines-takes-aim-at-megan-rapinoe-for-speaking-out-against-trans-sports-bans-you-have-nothing-to-personally-lose/.

Humbles, Andy. "Sumner County's Riley Gaines Talks about Texas Protests over 'Save Women's Sports Act.'" The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/sumner/2023/08/10/riley-gaines-on-texas-protests-over-anti-transgender-athlete-bill/70559098007/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

Liles, Jordan. "Was Megan Rapinoe Released by US Olympic Team After Women's World Cup 'Blunder'?" Snopes, 7 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/rapinoe-released-olympic-blunder/.

Linehan, Meg. "Linehan: This World Cup's Anti-USWNT Outrage Isn't Just Hateful, It's Irrational." The Athletic, https://theathletic.com/4760154/2023/08/09/uswnt-world-cup-criticism/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

"Riley Gaines Nominated for 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year." UK Athletics, 14 July 2022, https://ukathletics.com/news/2022/07/14/riley-gaines-nominated-for-2022-ncaa-woman-of-the-year/.

Zucker, Joseph. "Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird Among Athletes to Sign Letter Opposing Trans Athlete Ban." Bleacher Report, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10071944-megan-rapinoe-sue-bird-among-athletes-to-sign-letter-opposing-trans-athlete-ban. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.