Caitlyn Jenner has been named by Barbara Walters as the Most Fascinating Person of the Year, 2015.

Walters named Jenner with the honour in the annual segment which highlighted Amy Schumer, Tracy Morgan and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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The trans former Olympian came out as trans, revealing her transition on the cover of Vanity Fair earlier this year.

“Our choice for the most fascinating person of the year was once called the world’s greatest athlete,” Walters announced.

“Traditionally that title was given to the man who won the Olympic decathlon. When Bruce Jenner won it in 1976, it was a huge accomplishment that had everybody talking. But it was nothing like this. When Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, there was a seismic shift in the gender universe.”

Going on, Walters said: “She was a lightning rod for criticism… First, for the [Arthur Ashe] Courage Award that ESPN gave her. Then for the glamorous style of her transition. But Caitlyn’s celebrity brought new attention to the grim reality of life for many transgendered people.”

The special highlighted Jenner’s work for trans rights, but did not include an interview with the former Olympian herself.

Jenner last week apologised for comments which led to accusations of transphobia.

The reality star and former Olympian opened up to TIME Magazine, after making the shortlist for Person of the Year.

She said: “If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable.”

Responding to accusations of transphobia following the interview, she has since written for the Huffington Post to clarify her words.

She wrote: “What I was trying to say is that our world really is still a binary one, and that people who look ‘visibly transgender’ sometimes can struggle for acceptance and may be treated poorly by others.

“And while this may be true, it’s also something that needs to change.Some people look gender non-conforming because they want to look that way – they don’t want to conform to society’s expectations. Those people have every right to look and present exactly as they choose.”