Google “top 10 female athletes” and roughly 7 out of the top 10 results will be a list of the hottest or sexiest female athletes. But these athletes are doing amazing things in their respective sports. Let’s take a look at the top 10 female athletes today.
Quite simply, Ronda Rousey is a badass. A mixed martial artist, UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion, consensus #1 female MMA fighter in the world, and Olympic medalist in Judo, Rousey may be the biggest name in UFC today – male or female. In February she fought the #1 contender for the bantamweight title, Cat Zingano. Rousey won in 14 seconds, the fastest victory in UFC history. Rousey’s popularity has extended to the screen, where she’s appeared in The Expendables and Furious 7. She is also appearing on the cover of the May 12, 2015 issue of Sports Illustrated.
The US Women’s National Soccer Team has been incredibly successful, winning the gold medal in 2012, ranking number one from 2008-2014, and currently ranking as the second best team in the world. And Abby Wambach is one of the key pieces. She has played on the team since 2001, winning 2 gold medals, 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, and US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year a record six times. This year Wambach was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
One of the most dominant and greatest tennis players ever. Williams is the current world #1, a title she first took in July of 2002. She is one of 10 women to achieve the career Grand Slam (winning the four biggest tournaments – Australian Open, US Open, French Open, and Wimbledon) and one of five women to hold all 4 championships simultaneously. Williams holds a total 19 Grand Slam titles, along with 4 Olympic gold medals.
Taurasi is one of the best women’s basketball players of all-time. Before joining the WNBA, she led the University of Connecticut to 3 straight NCAA championships, winning National Player of the Year twice. Professionally she has won the award for Most Valuable Player, is a 3-time champion, and 5-time league scoring champion. As one of the league’s premier players, she made headlines in February of this year by deciding to not play in the WNBA this year due to low pay. She made just under $107k in the WNBA, while making $1.5 mil in Russia. Her decision to not play could be a watershed moment for women’s basketball.
Ko is a professional golfer who, in February of this year, rose to the ranking of world #1. It’s an impressive feat for anyone, but even more impressive considering she was 17 at the time, the youngest to reach world number 1 for men or women. She turned pro at 16 and became the youngest ever to win an LPGA tournament. She has already won 7 times on the LPGA Tour. In April she tied the LPGA record for most rounds under par at 29. Now 18 years old, Ko is one of the brightest rising stars in women’s athletics.
One of the most successful women’s tennis players over the last 15 years, Sharapova has won 5 Grand Slam titles, along the way holding the world #1 ranking 5 separate times. Her streak of winning a singles title over the past 13 years is a record only 4 women’s tennis players have topped. Sharapova, a native of Russia, has also been a UN Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, focusing particularly on recovery in Chernobyl.
One of the few female athletes competing against men, Patrick has held her own in the world of auto racing. She is only woman to ever win an IndyCar Series race, and a third-place finish in the Indy500 was the highest ever for a woman. In the 2013 Daytona 500, Patrick was the first woman to begin the race from the pole (the front position), and finished 8th. Her success moved forward the popularity of NASCAR. TV ratings grew 24% compared to the previous year, and saw huge growth in major US cities compared to 2012 (Chicago: 91%; SF: 64%; LA: 60%).
Another member of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, Morgan is an up-and-coming star on the squad (age 25 vs. Wambach’s 34). Morgan really came on the national scene in 2012, as she helped guide the US Team to gold, scoring and assisting on huge goals all along the way (including a goal in extra time in the 2012 London Olympics that sent the US women to the gold medal match). She finished those Olympics with a team-high tying 10 points (goals + assists), a gold medal, and was named 2012 US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year.
In the US, the 2012 Olympics were highlighted by the incredible women in female gymnastics, headed by Douglas. The 16-year old won gold in individual all-around and in team competitions. She became the first African-American woman to win individual all-around gold, and was the first American gymnastic to achieve gold in individual all-around and team competition at the same Olympics. Douglas looks to retain her top position in the 2016 Olympics. Her toughest competition may come from fellow American Simone Biles.
The Little League World Series was one of the biggest sports spectacles in 2014 thanks to 13-year old Mo’ne Davis. Davis was the first girl in Little League World Series history to earn a win and pitch a shutout. But she didn’t just win; she dominated. In her postseason shutout victory on August 15 she gave up 2 hits, striking out 8 batters, while consistently throwing 70 MPH. Most boys in the tournament throw in the high 50s / low 60s. Considering the pitcher’s mound is 14+ feet closer to the batter in Little League, one expert said her pitching would be like hitting a 93 MPH pitch for a major leaguer. Oh, and did I mention she also has a devastating curve ball? Davis was the cover athlete for Sports Illustrated after her performance, becoming the first Little Leaguer to ever appear on the cover. Expect to hear more from her.