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Biden the oldest person to be TIME’s ‘Person of the Year’

… Harris the first person of Jamaican descent

By Ricky Browne

US President Elect Joe Biden and US Vice President Elect Kamala Harris are this year’s Person of the Year for TIME magazine.

Each year, TIME names the person (or people) who had the most influence over news in the previous 12 months — for better or for worse.

There was a lot going on this year, apart from the US election — the coronaviurs basically sucking up all news coverage since February, and the idea of Britian and the European Union not having a trade deal another major story. There was also lots of concern about Black Lives Matter (BLM) with people across the globe campaigning for equal rights.

Previous Presidential winners

But TIME chose 78-year-old Joe Biden for its annual award, along with Kamala Harris, who will become the first woman to be US Vice President, as well as the first person of mixed Jamaican and Indian heritage.

“I’m honored to be Person of the Year with @KamalaHarris and grateful to be on this list with so many extraordinary folks. From front line workers to racial justice organizers, Americans met this year with strength, fortitude, and an unflinching belief in a brighter tomorrow,” Biden tweeted on the news.

Harris followed with similar sentiments;

“Honored to be named @TIME’s Person of theYear with President-elect @JoeBiden. We’re at a moment where we’re being confronted by multiple crises that have converged. We have a lot we need to handle in the days ahead but I know together we can get it done,” Harris tweeted.

US President Donald Trump was in the running for this year’s title, but will have to make do with the knowledge that he won it single-handedly in 2016 when he won the US general election.

Others who were up for the title this year included the coronavirus front-line health workers and Dr Anthony Fauci, and the movement for racial justice — particularly in the US.

Khomeini was Man of the Year in 1979

That’s not to say that winning the title is a necessarily a great accolade. Previous winners of Time’s Man of the Year title, include Adolf Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1942, Nikitia Kruschcev in 1957 and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

The Ayatollah may have ben one of the oldest people to get the title. He was 77 in 1979, when he returned to Iran to lead its revolution against the Shah.

But Biden beats him by a year.

As a matter of fact Biden is set for the the Guiness Book of World Records, as he is now the oldest person to ever get the title. He beat the title holder by a few days. Former Chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer was the record holder. He was aged 77 years 364 days on 4 January 1954 (a day short of his 78th birthday) when he got the title.

West Germany’s Konrad Adenauer was previously the oldest person to hold the award

Biden turned 78 on November 20.

Biden also beat Pope Francis who was 77 years 6 days when he appeared on the 23 December 2013 double issue of Time.

Greta Thunberg won in 2019

Biden also beats last years winner, environmental activist Greta Thornburg by 62 years. Thornburg was 16 when she got the title last year, TIME’s youngest winner.

Almost every person who has won a US presidential election has become Time’s Person of the Year at some point. There are only three exceptions. they are Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover from the 1920s, and Gerald Ford who became president briefly in the 1970s after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. 

Ghandi got the title in 1930

Kamala Harris is the first person of Jamaican descent to win the title, but not the first Indian. That honour goes to Mahatma Ghandi, who won the title in 1930, The magazine also described him as ‘Saint  Gandhi’ and later said he was one of top 25 Political Icons of all time.

Charles Lindbergh, TIME’s first Man of the Year in 1928.

His win was just two years after TIME started the award in 1928. The first winner was Charles Lindbergh, who had flown across the Atlantic on his own, and was a big star in 1927.

Although no Jamaican has ever got the title, a man who is idolized by many jamaicans, and who is identified with the island, won the title in 19

Emperor Haile Salassei of Ethiopia won the title in 1936

The first woman to become “Man of the Year” was Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee, who King Edward abdicated the throne to marry.

The House of Windsor would have to wait another 15 years before it got its first ‘Man of the Year”, when Queen Elizabeth got the title.

In 1999, thinking that “Man of the Year” was too sexist a title, TIME changed the name to “Person of the Year”.

In total only six women have won the award. Simpson, The Queen, and Greta Thurnberg, but also Soong Mei-ling who was the wife of Chinese premier Chiang Kai-shek in 1937 — “No woman in the West holds so great a position as Mme Chiang Kai-shek holds in China,” TIME said — Corazon Aquino, the Philippines’ first female president, in 1986 and Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany in 2015.

The Queen was the last British person to win the award. But Winston Churchill won twice before, in 1940 and again in 1949.

Winston Churchill won two times

Martin Luther King won the title in 1963, the first black person to win after Hailie Sellassie

Billionaires who’ve won the title include Jeff Bezoz of Amazon in 1999 followed by Marc Zuckerberg of Facebook in 2010..

So while its not unusual for US Presidents or Presidents-elect to win the TIME Person of the Year award — this year history has been made. Joe Biden is the oldest winner ever. And Kamala Harris is the first Vice President and person of Jamaican extraction.ß

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