It’s that time again–TIME magazine is electing its Person of the Year. While this year includes an impressive array of leaders and achievers, what’s especially nice to see is that this magazine recognizes so many men and women for their accomplishments–not their looks, like other “person of the year” awards (think: People’s sexiest man/woman alive). Take a look at our top picks of those who have made a difference in health, fitness and overall wellness, and see if you agree:
Felix Baumgartner–Daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner set a new record this year when he jumped from a greater height than humans had ever attempted: 24 miles at the edge of space. And as he fell, he also reached a faster speed than humans had ever moved without artificial propulsion: 834 mph, which is faster than the speed of sound.
Mayor Bloomberg. Say what you will about his ban on Big Gulp sodas, but at least New York City’s Mayor is trying to improve the health of his citizens with his aggressive–and often controversial public health campaign. In addition to the soda ban, he also prohibited trans fats in restaurants and indoor (and even some outdoor) smoking in his city.
Gabby Douglas. Yes, she is more than her hair (something that critics bashed her for during the London Olympics this year). In fact, the 16-year-old became the first U.S. gymnast to win both the all-around and team golds in a single Olympic game and the first African-American gymnast to win the all-around title.
Sandra Fluke. The candid and aggressive women’s-rights activist (who Rush Limbaugh disgracefully called a “slut”) helped to open the conversation to the GOP “war on women.” As she spoke at the Democratic National Convention this year, she made her mark by making reproductive rights a central issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.
Marissa Mayer. Yes, women can be a competent executive and mother, Marissa Mayer proved when she became the new CEO at Yahoo just months before giving birth to a baby boy. In turn, this has made her the Fortune 500′s highest-profile working mom–and a role model to other women who want to continue a career and raise a family.
Michael Phelps. Called the greatest Olympian of all times, Phelps competed in his fourth and final Summer Games this year and set a new record by collecting 22 medals (18 of them gold) during his competitive career.
Chris Christie. The outspoken and brutally honest Christie proved that he has priorities straight about helping others after Hurricane Sandy. When asked if he would tour the wreckage with Mitt Romney, the New Jersey governor responded: “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.” He continued, “I’ve got a job to do … If you think right now that I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
You can cast your vote for the person you think most influenced the news this year for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. this Tuesday, Dec. 12, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 13.
Who will you vote for?