With the end of 2014 right around the corner, TIME’s editors announced their eight final candidates for their famed Person of the Year cover. The tradition began in 1927, originally called “Man of the Year.” Since then, the most influential figure of the year has been featured for a cover story every December. Several presidents and political figures have made the list, from John F. Kennedy to Pope John Paul II, and even controversial dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. No matter how good or how bad, each person has left a major impact on the world. Here are the eight nominees for TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year in no particular order:
Roger Goodell is the National Football Leagues commissioner who has been making headlines all year in a series of controversies. Under his leadership, the NFL reached a settlement in a number of player brain injuries lawsuits. In 2014, the settlement cap was removed for not adequately compensating the nearly 20,000 men affected by traumatic inquires. Later in the year he was caught on a casino security camera hitting his fiancée, Janay Palmer, in the face and then dragging her unconscious body into an elevator. After a few slaps on the wrist, he was eventually and reluctantly suspended indefinitely after mounting media pressure accusing the NFL of trying to cover up the incident.
The Ebola Caregivers responded to the epidemic that reached critical numbers taking the lives of over 7,000 people in West Africa. In dangerous and poor conditions, doctors and caregivers have been fighting the disease every step of the way. In a country suffering from a shortage of doctors, several have traveled cross-country to offer their aid. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the World Health Organizations reports that at least 416 health care working have contracted and 233 have died from Ebola, which kills 90 percent of its victims. These men and woman continue to risk their lives in order to save an entire country.
Taylor Swift has become one the top earning and selling pop stars in the industry, recently releasing an album this year called 1989. She recently made headlines by removing her music from Spotify, shaming streaming services for not properly compensating artists for the millions they make off their music.
Masoud Barzani has been president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region since 2005, as well as the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party since 1979. Barzani has been fighting for independence against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, while attempting to keep his people safe in the midst of what has been a violent and ongoing war. This year, his exclusive interview with CNN opened the world to his dedication and hope for a better future.
The Ferguson Protestors flooded the streets of Ferguson, MO, in August, and again in November, following the shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old boy by a white officer. When the grand jury declined to prosecute the officer, riots ensued leading to the arson of several downtown businesses. This has sparked and serious of protests on Police violence and civilian protection.
Jack Ma, a former English teacher turned richest man in China, has earned a reported $25 billion for Alibaba. This e-commerce giant created its Single’s Day digital shopping event which generating $9 billion in sales in 24 hours. Its digital wallet will soon be adapted by several American companies such as Bloomingdales and Macy’s.
Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple Inc. and introduced the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Apple Watch, and Apple Pay to the market this year. He has also become the first openly gay man on the Fortune 500 list. If chosen, he will also be the first openly gay man to make TIME’s Person of the Year.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, began his campaign in media headlines the beginning of the year during the Sochi Winter Olympics. Conditions for athletes and visitors were reported at an all time low in the history of the event. Tensions continued to mount after Putin’s leadership lead to the annexation of Crimea, as well as the ongoing civil conflict in eastern Ukraine. Putin has already been featured on TIME’s Person of the Year twice. Relations with the US and Russia remain on rocky slopes. TIME will announce its person of the year officially this Wednesday.
By Morgan Louchen