These Are the Best Female Athletes of All-time, Ranked. Do You Agree?

Medals and titles might be one way to measure an athlete’s accomplishments, but sometimes it’s a lot more than that. Whether it’s a hardship they overcame during their childhood, or a physical injury they had to endure and recover from during their career, there is so much more behind the top athletes’ success asides from their talent and skills – especially when comparing two athletes from completely different sport disciplins.

We’re all about celebrating the accomplishments of any and all athletes, but we’ve put together a special list of our 41 best female athletes of all time! From the inspiring Nadia Comăneci and the impactful Ronda Rousey to the legendary Simone Biles and the superstar Sonja Henie, can you guess who made it to number one?

Keep on clicking to find out if you’re right and discover some of our favorite fierce femmes in the sports world!

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41. Jessica Ennis-Hill

Seeing as some people feel sore after just one session at the gym, it’s hard to imagine that professional athletes feel pain from sports, right? However, serious athletic injuries are bound to happen and are a big risk and devastating part of the job.

Jessica Ennis-Hill was passionate about running ever since she was a child. And while she might have suffered an almost career-breaking injury causing her to drop out of the Olympics in her 20s, she didn’t let that stop her from running after her dreams.

We don’t just appreciate that she’s a great competitor and world champion, she’s an actual track and field star! Specializing in pentathlons and heptathlons – that’s right, she’s amazing in not one, not two… but seven different track and field disciplinaries!41. Jessica Ennis-Hill

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40. Carolina Klüft

The Swedish track and field prodigy, Carolina Klüft, is one of those athletes that knows and understands the importance of enjoying what you do. Although she’s been known to be quite a heavy competitor — with winning golds at pentathlons, heptathlons, and long-jumping – she actually has a quirky side, too.

Known as Klüft’s mascot, she always packs her little Eeyore stuffed animal around to remind her that sport is an activity to enjoy – recreational or competitive.

“I won him at a fairground in Vienna,” Klüft shared with The Guardian, “And looking at him reminds me of that, of the roller coasters and everything. Sport is fun. Sometimes everyone is so serious.” How inspiring!40. Carolina Klüft

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39. Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Historical figures and impactful individuals are easily some of the best type of people in this world – that is, if their influence is positive, of course. And Babe Didrikson Zaharias is without a doubt one of those fierce femmes that helped change the sports industry and Olympic games almost a century ago!

She wasn’t just great at one thing; she had her hands filled with all sorts of sports from boxing to diving to basketball to skating. However, she chose to focus on track & field and won by a long-shot at her very first attempt at the “Javelin Throw” competition in the 1932 Olympics. Not only did she take the gold medal for this event, she received medals and set world records in both the jumping and hurdle events, as well.39. Babe Didrikson Zaharias

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38. Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey

Anyone who has a signature move is obviously a top athlete. And who can forget Ronda Rousey’s perfected signature move, the “armbar”, that has won her multiple championships?

Rough-housing might have been “just for boys” for a while, but Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey has changed the game in not just one, not two, but three different fighting industries! Along with being a massive influence in the revolution in female Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and WWE, she simply is an incredible fighter with a myriad of championship titles, several broken records, and multiple awards under her belt.

Steph McMahon, the Chief Brand Officer of the World Wrestling Entertainment, publicly declared Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey to be “the most dangerous unarmed woman on the planet” – and we don’t think she’s wrong!38. Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey

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37. Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis is definitely a favored female athlete by many tennis fans out there! Why? Because she’s won countless of tennis championships – 43 to be exact. But it’s not just the fact that she’s won so many competitions and championships that makes her one of the best female athletes.

In the middle of her career in 2007, she had to temporarily take a step back from the sport and heal from an intense injury – whilst being only 22 years old. Can you imagine how hard that must have been for her to overcome? Once she was recovered though, she came powering back in 2013 for a remarkable five years before retiring at age 37.

In her early years of her career, she was considered the “Highest-Paid Female Athlete In The World” from 1997 to 2001. Make it rain girl!37. Martina Hingis

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36. Betty Cuthbert

As we mentioned before, any athlete who has a signature move is one of the coolest ones in our book. And the Australian National Treasure’s track & field star Betty Cuthbert was one of the first Olympians to create her own. The ‘50s and ‘60s legend was known for running with her mouth wide open and a high knee lift – we love it!

And what makes Cuthbert such an Olympic legend is that she cut through all sorts of world records, setting almost 20 new ones for the 60 meters, 100 yards, 200 meters, 220 yards, and 440 yards.

Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1969 after her retirement. But she made an honorable appearance during the opening ceremony at the 2000 Olympics, carrying the Olympic Torch.36. Betty Cuthbert

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35. Rosa Mota

For a whole decade straight, Portuguese power runner Rosa Mota had placed in first in 15 different competitions and marathons all around the globe! She was the very first person to receive a gold medal for her home country of Portugal, raising great pride for her country.

After her retirement, the non-profit organization, the New York Road Runners (NYRR), presented her with the admirable “Abebe Bikila Award” for her impact in the long-distance running discipline and training.

She’s not just one of the best runners of the 20th century, but she remains such a sweet and humble lady until today!35. Rosa Mota

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34. Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova first got her big break and was quite a big deal in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. The determined Russian tennis player had won the prestigious international Wimbledon tennis competition at the sweet, young age of 17.

The thing about becoming a professional athlete, especially at a young age, is that sometimes it can be hard to make an actual living doing it. The world of sports is just as competitive as the actual game itself, and Sharapova was in it to win it all. According to Time Magazine, by the time Sharapova was in her mid-20s, she was making millions of dollars – over $20 million in 2010 alone – along with winning all sorts of titles and championships. Talk about impressive!

‘Til today, Sharapova is training and playing, with competing in over 800 matches to date!34. Maria Sharapova

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32. Ingrid Kristiansen

What’s cool about Ingrid Kristiansen’s story is when she started to improve as a competitor. The Norwegian competitive runner had started her athletic career off strong, coming in at third place in the World Championships in Athletics in 1980 for Track & Field.

But it wasn’t until she had her first child that she really started to make some changes in the history of sports. She wasn’t just beating some of the best runners out there, but she was even breaking her own world records.

If you didn’t already know, in competitive running, every second counts, and to give you some perspective the average person can run a 5k in about 25 minutes. But in 1984, Kristiansen ran the Boston Marathon 10k portion in 30:39, blowing everyone’s minds and setting a new world record. And two years later, she beat her own record by almost a whole minute coming in at 30:13.32. Ingrid Kristiansen

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32. Janica Kostelic

Janica Kostelic is the type of athlete that was determined to win competitions and be the best that she could be, no matter what. The talented competitive skier might have ended up with 6 Olympic gold medals keeping fans on their toes with her brilliant performances time after time on the hill, but she had to overcome quite a lot in her personal life to work her way up to that success.

In Kostelic’s early years of competing in the ‘90s, she and her family would actually camp out in their car or in tents since they couldn’t afford hotels during their travels from competition to competition.

Kostelic’s home country of Croatia surprised her with bouquet of 1,256 roses – one per point she received during the season – upon her arrival back from the World Cup games and honored her by putting her on a Croatian postage stamp, making her the first athlete to actually be on one – how cool!32. Janica Kostelic

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31. Darya Klishina

Darya Klishina is as speedy as she is strong and the 29-year-old long jumper is the future of Russian track and field. She started long jumping at the age of thirteen and she began competing internationally in 2007. Soon enough she was seen making her home-country proud by placing first in her first three competitions which included the World Youth Championships, the European Youth Olympics, and the European Junior Championships.

By 2010, she was already setting records in Russia, achieving a jump of 7.03 meters, which was also the second best junior mark of all time, behind her teammate Olga Kucherenko’s mark of 7.13 meters that year.

Klishina reached her stride in 2017 at the World Championships in Athletes in London, having a season’s best jump of 7.00 meters and finishing with a silver medal, just two meters behind American gold-medalist Brittney Reese.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for Klishina who’s definitely going places.31. Darya Klishina

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30. Tina Maze

Tina Maze a.k.a. Queen Tina a.k.a. Snow Queen has made some big impacts in the realm of sports for women, and more specifically for her home country of Slovenia.

Although, as she mentioned, there was not really much else to do except for ski in her village growing up, it’s still truly saying a lot that she’s the best skier of her country!

And in 2013, she was titled as the world’s “Top Female Alpine Skier.” After that, she was even hungrier for claiming titles and successes she still had yet to do and worked on collecting them for the next three years.

Ending her remarkable career in 2016 with four Olympic medals, beating different records throughout the years, and four world titles, she decided to take a slide away from the slopes and shine her enthusiasm for sports as a commentator!30. Tina Maze

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29. Dana Vollmer

Similar to Ingrid Kristiansen, Vollmer didn’t just excel at her sport – she got energized, improved, and slayed the competition once she got married and became a mother!

Both as a high schooler and as a mother, Vollmer earned herself incredible marks and Olympic medals as an extraordinary competitive swimmer. Time and time again, she proved to be an incredible competitor and a well-achieved goal-oriented athlete.

In July 2019, Vollmer had written a statement in regards to her retirement. She stated, “I am incredibly grateful for many, many years of self-discovery, pushing the limits, breaking boundaries, and being surrounded by women working to be the best that they can be!”29. Dana Vollmer

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28. Michelle Kwan

This American figure skating champion won the hearts of many in her preteen years. Graciously gliding on the ice and brining judges to tears with her heart-warming performances, over the next decade, she had her eye set on winning an Olympic gold medal. Although she never ended up coming in first, she received two Olympic medals and was always a competitor to keep your eye on and was the most decorated female athlete in the United States during that time.

From winning multiple competitions, to receiving endorsements and partnering with high-quality sponsors, and even participating in the “Champions On Ice” tour in the United States, Kwan had quite a fulfilling athletic career.

And until today, she’s incredibly appreciative of the support her family gave her whether it was her parents working two jobs to keep up with the costs, her mother traveling around the world with her, or receiving hand-me-down costumes for competitions.28. Michelle Kwan

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27. Allyson Felix

Look out world, there’s a new strike of lighting hitting the track! Allyson Felix just broke eleven-time World Champion “Lightning Bolt” Usain Bolt’s record for the mixed gender 4x400m relay team race and herself 12 gold medals at the 2019 World Champions. Which, in terms of Olympic history, this actually marks her as the most successful female track athlete.

The track and field star has been blowing fans and the media away with her ambition, speed, and success rate – even the Olympics official website titled her as the “Undisputed Queen of the Track.”

She’s continuing to spread the fierce femme fire by being the very first sponsored athlete by Gap’s female clothing line “Athleta”, and looks forward to competing even more in 2020.27. Allyson Felix

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26. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

As we’ve mentioned before, each and every athlete has their own backstory and their own struggles they had to overcome.

For American long-jumping icon Jackie Joyner-Kersee, one of the hardest struggles she had to overcome was her severe case of asthma. And even with that, she participated in four Olympics games and won six medals in track & field!

But what we love most about this athlete is the amazing support she got from her loved ones. Stated on the official Olympics’ website, her family named her “Jackie”, because her grandmother claimed, “Someday this girl will be the First Lady of something.”

Also, by her second round at the Olympics in ’88, Joyner-Kersee’s skills and capabilities were miles ahead of everyone else’s when it came down to the heptathlon race. So, her husband created an “imaginary opponent” named “Wilhelmina World Record” for her to compete against in spirit. How adorable!26. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

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25. Florence Griffith Joyner

Anyone who gets a spectacular sports sobriquet (nickname) is obviously qualified to be considered a top athlete. Florence Griffith Joyner a.k.a. “Flo Jo” was one of the fiercest and funkiest female athletes out there!

While Jackie Joyner-Kersee was out winning the gold for long jumping and the heptathlon in the ’88 games, Flo Jo was out there winning gold for the 100m, 200m, and 4x400m races!

Not just that, but titled the “Fastest Woman in the World,” she beat the records of both women and men in the 100m race, coming in at 10.49 seconds – and held that world record for the next two decades!

And what made Flo Jo so funky was her signature looks and her vivaciously colorful long nails!25. Florence Griffith Joyner

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24. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Flo Jo might’ve been the funky, fierce femme of the ‘80s, but Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce of Jamaica is the funky, fierce femme of 2010s.

What makes her one of the best athletes isn’t the fact that she’s won six Olympic medals, but her shining personality and attitude. The decorated international champion sprinter is full of life and energy from her big smile to her colorful unicorn hair. Whether she’s staying strong and positive while in recovery from a severe injury, spreading some words of wisdom on how to be humble and respect each athlete, or just showing pride in being a mother for her new baby boy, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has caught the attention of the entire world.24. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

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23. Grete Waitz

Grete Waitz is quite a unique athlete. Running her very first marathon in New York back in ’78 when she was in her mid-20s, she instantly caught the world’s attention. Not only was she one of the first successful female marathon runners, she set a world record.

However, vouching that she didn’t want to run a marathon again, she changed her mind and ran a year later. And you know what happened? She ended up beating her own world record by 5 minutes! And then a year later, she broke her record again at 2:25:42.

Can you imagine if she would have just given up on the sport altogether? And even after retirement from competing, she still kept running in her life as a coach and through a non-profit organization. There is no doubt that she is one of the most impactful female athletes in the track & field disciplinary.23. Grete Waitz

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22. Krisztina Egerszegi

The Hungarian world champion, Krisztina Egerszegi is a great female aquatic athlete to look up to! She broke records not once, not twice, not three times… but seven different years!

She was known as “Egérke” (“Little Mouse”) or “Egér” (“Mouse”), because of her young, innocent age and petite size compared to the other competitors.

She earned her first Olympic medal when she was just 14 years old in 1988, but kept coming back for more for the next few seasons, gaining a total of seven medals.

Speaking of which… 5 of those medals are gold, and she was titled as the first woman to win five gold medals in individual swimming events! And that’s just the Olympics. Throughout her career she won 20 international gold medals, seven silver medals, and 1 bronze.22. Krisztina Egerszegi

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21. Nastia Liukin

Anastaia “Nastia” Liukin might have some winning-gymnastics genes in her blood since she’s the daughter of Russian champion iconic Valeri Liukin and champion rhythm gymnast Anna Kotchneva. And it’s clear she did quite well carrying on her family legend and success throughout her time as a professional gymnast competing for the US. She is currently tied with gymnast Simon Biles and Shannon Miller with the third-highest tally of World Championship medals.

And while she retired in the early 2010s, she kept her life involved with gymnastics by starting up her own competition in the United States known as the Nastia Liukin Cup – how cool!21. Nastia Liukin

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20. Simone Biles

Simone Biles, American gymnast extraordinaire, isn’t just one of the best female sportswomen out there because she was the most decorated female athlete in the 2016 Olympics games. Time and time again, she excels in her field and sets world records left and right, and earning herself a total of 27 gold medals to date!

She’s also incredibly involved in her community outside of the gymnastics world, and has a special connection to helping children in foster care – particularly because she understands the struggles of a foster care child herself.20. Simone Biles

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19. Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton was by far one of the coolest female athletes of the ‘80s! Not only did she go from Amateur Athlete of the Year to Sportswoman of the Year during her career, but she was the first American to win an Olympic all-around gold medal in gymnastics!

On top of that, she earned herself a few “Perfect 10s”, similar to her role model Nadia Comăneci. However, what made her win so much more significant, is that she barely recovered from quite a serious injury right before the Olympics!

What we think is the most unique part of her athletic career, though, was the honor of being the spokeswomen for the “Breakfast for Champions” cereal, Wheaties.19. Mary Lou Retton

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18. Lindsey Vonn

The American Midwestern World Cup Alpine Ski superstar, Lindsey Vonn, hit the slopes with her father and grandfather when she was just a toddler.

What makes Vonn such a fierce femme is that even when she was brutally injured, she powered through and still managed to come back stronger and better.

Throughout her career she broke and set an incredible amount of records, for both men and women! Just to name a few, in less than two decades she accomplished winning 3 Olympic medals, 18 victories on the Canadian Lake Louise course, 20 crystal globe trophies, 43 downhill wins, and unmatched 82 World Cup victories.18. Lindsey Vonn

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17. Jenny Thompson

There’s always a bit of a stereotype and fun poked at jocks saying that they’re only good at sports, and less so when it comes to hitting the books. But American swimming champion Jenny Thompson is far from that!

She was a star successfully swimming competitively in college at Stanford University, and continued on to the Olympics, becoming one of the most decorated female swimmers! After setting records and winning medals all around the globe, she decided to retire and focus on her career as an anesthesiologist.

But the swimming never left her heart, as she still keeps herself involved in the Swim Across America charity that raises money for cancer research. Not just that, but she’s still a sucker for the Olympics: “I’d love to be able to go to the Olympics forever, because it was such an important part of my life.”17. Jenny Thompson

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16. Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova is an American tennis champion, but has started out her career and was born in Czechoslovakia.

Her love for the sport started when she was only four years old, when she used to throw a tennis ball up against a concrete wall. A few years later, she picked up a racket and started playing the actual game.

Even with having to overcome the difficulties of moving countries and becoming an American resident as a teenager, Martina Navratilova powered through and became one of the most successful tennis players of all time from 1975-2005!

To give you a taste of just how good she is, she is tied with Serena Williams in the Open Era records, where both have achieved six major singles crowns consecutively.16. Martina Navratilova

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15. Birgit Fischer

Many athletes peak in their early 20s, but Birgit Fischer isn’t one of those people. While age might be just a number, this amazing athlete is still paddling through her competitive kayaking career in her late 50s!

She won her very first Olympic gold medal for her home country Germany when she was at the ripe age of eighteen, and then continued on to win eleven more after that – eight total gold and four silvers! And this is just in the Olympics alone.

What’s her secret? Pure passion. She practices and trains for her sport as a fun activity, not a professional job. “I just continued. I enjoyed winning… So, why should I stop as long as I was winning gold? That made no sense to me. And I had a lot of fun at the competitions…” Fischer shared.15. Birgit Fischer

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14. Inge de Bruijn

One of the coolest things about international sports and athletes, is the fact that taking pride and winning for your country is such a huge honor. The magnificent Dutch swimmer, Inge de Bruijn, was very highly appreciated and admired by her home country the Netherlands.

Although she took a step away from competing in the pool after winning multiple medals and setting records at Olympics, Inge de Bruijn received the annual and honorable Fanny Blankers-Koen Trofee (FBK-Trofee) Dutch award in 2009 for her achievements as a professional athlete in the Netherlands.14. Inge de Bruijn

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13. Chris Evert

Did you know that Floridian tennis player Chris Evert was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school?

It looks like her peers weren’t wrong at all, considering the fact that Everts has the highest and best winning percentage in all of tennis history – for men and women! She has achieved 34 Grand Slam singles titles, and won 88.52% of her games – which is well above average.

The amazing tennis star retired from competing on the court in 1989, but she’s made a few cameo appearances as herself in films like 2004 Wimbledon and 2015 Trainwreck. How cool!13. Chris Evert

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12. Paula Radcliffe

We’ve talked a lot about Olympic champions and a lot about track & field stars. But there are so many other competitions outside of the majestic Olympics, especially when it comes to running.

Paula Radcliffe was a long-distance running marathon queen, embarking on her competitive journey at age 12 in the mid-80s. Whether it be the London Marathon, the New York Marathon, or the Chicago Marathon, for over two decades, the British running icon was quite the competitive champ, and had won multiple titles and medals until retiring in 2015.

She actually never won an Olympic medal, however, from 2003 she was considered the “fastest female Marathon Runner” of all time until 2019, for her marathon time of 2:15:25. Talk about incredibly impressive!12. Paula Radcliffe

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11. Katarina Witt

German figure skater Katarina Witt was an ‘80s star on ice. Her passion and love for the sport started when she was five years old in 1970. A little over a decade later, Witt had started her career and built up momentum to later win two Olympic gold medals, multiple international competitions, and being honorably inducted to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

She was a fierce femme and dressed the part, too! The wondrous Witt loved pushing the boundaries of the costume requirements, whether it would be a glittering and sparkling costume with a tiara, or skating around the ice without a skirt!11. Katarina Witt

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10. Annika Sörenstam

Sometimes, some of the best athletes are the best because of their accomplishments for the industry, as opposed to, because of the industry. What we mean is, pro champion golf player Annika Sörenstam has taken her love and success of her sport and found a way to give back and is making an impact behind-the-scenes!

After she retired from her incredibly successful career, Sörenstam found interest in actually designing golf courses. Her input, perspective, and thoughts as a female golfer have proven to be a bit of a challenge in this male-dominant sports, but she’s not giving up.

“If we’re going to grow this game it needs to be more accessible for juniors and women,” Sörenstam told CNN. She continued on by explaining that the golf courses should be more fun and diverse. “I think the game is too hard and it turns people away. It shouldn’t really be a gender question.”10. Annika Sörenstam

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9. Marit Bjørgen

Marit Bjørgen is one athlete that’s only been excelling since the start of her career back in 1999. Two decades later, the Norwegian cross-country skiing superstar is now known as the most decorated Winter Olympics athlete of all time.

After competing in the Olympics from 2002 to 2018, she opened up and revealed that her secret was to push herself each race to win a medal – which proved to work well as she has 15 Olympics medals to her name! After retiring at age 38, she shared with the Olympics, “It’s incredible when I look back and see what I’ve done… I’ve had a wonderful career.”9. Marit Bjørgen

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8. Sonja Henie

Sonja Henie was quite a ground-breaking figure skater. In 1932, she earned her very first gold medal at the Olympics at the sweet, ripe age of 15 years and 10 months old, making her the youngest athlete to have won in that disciplinary until Tara Lipinski in 1998.

Henie was also the very first female athlete to take figure skating outside of the competitive route, and create a career with it outside of the box. After she retired from competing, she toured with her ice show and became a successful actress for Century Fox.

Whether she was graciously gliding on the live on ice rink at the Olympics or if she was being observed on the screen at the cinema, many people adored and loved watching Sonja Henie do her thing.8. Sonja Henie

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7. Lidiya Skoblikova

You might not think speed-skating is as graceful as figure skating since it’s focused on speed rather than tricks, but there is something quite special about the sport. Gliding as fast as you can to get to the other side of the finish line on speed-skating blades looks a lot easier than it actually is – and that’s what makes the sport that much more fun to watch!

And the ‘60s OIlympic USSR’s team star Lidiya Skoblikova was basically like the road runner of the ice route. She was and still is the first and only female athlete to have won not one, not two, but six gold medals in individual events! Not to mention, setting some wild world records for her speed during that time, as well!7. Lidiya Skoblikova

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6. Yelena Isinbayeva

Yelena Isinbayeva is an incredible pole-vaulting machine, setting almost 30 world records to date! And in 2005, she was the very first female athlete in history to make it over the 5-meter barrier.

The fierce femme is one of the ambassadors for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which is incredibly fitting since one of her motivations when competing is inspiring children.

On the Olympic official YouTube channel, she shared what her breakfast of champion consists of:

Breakfast:

Some bread with butter & cheese, and black coffee with honey

Lunch:

“Pasta Bianca” (pasta noodles with olive oil with cheese and tomatoes)

Dinner:

Meat or fish that is high protein and vegetables

And on game day, she splurges on some nuts and chocolate for breakfast, too!6. Yelena Isinbayeva

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5. Larisa Latynina

As we mentioned before, many athletes peak in their early 20s, but gymnast Larisa Latynina was just getting started on her epic and soon-to-be legendary adventure. For almost half a century, the wondrous USSR gymnast had held the world record for most decorated Olympic athlete – both female and male – with a total of eighteen medals achieved in the three seasons she participated in!

While Latynina has repeatedly shown her humbleness to this achievement, claiming that it was perhaps even a bit unfair to compare to the other disciplinaries that only allowed to win one medal to begin with, she remained extremely passionate about her sport.

Gymnastics wasn’t just a sport to Latynina, it was an art form that she was able to combine her background and love of ballet with, too. On the Olympics’ website, Latynina further explains that “floor is and has always been my favorite because it is the exercise where people can most express themselves.”5. Larisa Latynina

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4. Věra Čáslavská

Many women we’ve ranked on this list have been incredible gymnasts, but the most decorated gymnast for Czech is Věra Čáslavská. Her success was actually a huge deal for her country, since they were on the verge of invasion and take over by the Soviet Union at that time. She wasn’t even sure she would be able to compete because of this dilemma. In fact, three weeks before the Olympic games, Čáslavská went into hiding, and used potato sacks as weights to train.

Thankfully, Čáslavská was allowed to compete in the ’68 Olympics Games held in Mexico. As a tribute to all the admiration she received from Mexico, the globally grand gymnast performed a routine to the “Mexican Hat Dance” – how heartwarming!4. Věra Čáslavská

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3. Nadia Comăneci

You know how they say that nobody can get a perfect score? In 1976, the scoreboards weren’t even programmed to display “10”!

Well the marvelous Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci proved that theory wrong… not once, not twice, not even three times. She received perfect scores in international gymnastic competitions six times in her early teenage years! Not only was she the youngest all-around Olympic medalists in 1976 at 14-year old, but she was also the very first Olympic gymnast to receive a perfect score. As a matter of fact, when she received her scores, the board displayed it as “1.00”.

So, it’s not surprising that the perfect gymnast will be ranked in the top three!3. Nadia Comăneci

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2. Serena Williams

Serena Williams is a 23-time champion of major tennis tournaments with the official Olympics’ site titling her as “The Golden Girl of Tennis” and the “Greatest Women’s Tennis Player of all Time.” Which comes as no surprise since she’s been an inspiration for female athletes around for decades and has earned herself endorsements from some incredibly big companies – Beats by Dre, Delta Airlines, Gatorade, and Pepsi to name a few!

Whether she’s playing singles or teams, Serena Williams has always turned up the heat and slayed at her matches, and is always sporting an interesting ensemble. On top of her achievements on the court, off the court, she’s started up her own clothing line and become a certified nail technician, too!

So if she’s not number one – who is?2. Serena Williams

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1. Steffi Graf

We’ve talked lots about international competitions and awards. But the Olympic Order is one of the highest and most honorary awards any athlete can ever receive. And Germany’s Steffi Graf’s received it in 1999. Not only that, but out of the five athletes to have received it that year, she was the only female.

However, it was in the ’88 games that she really took over the world of Tennis with her “Golden Slam” achievement – winning the Olympic gold medal along with all five Grand Slam titles!

In addition, Graf won 7 singles titles at Wimbledon, 6 singles titles at the French Open, 5 singles titles at the US Open, and 4 singles titles at the Australian Open. Her overall record in 56 Grand Slam events was 282–32 (89 percent). She was ranked World No. 1 for 186 consecutive weeks — from August 1987 to March 1991, tied with Serena Williams, a record in the women’s game — and a record total 377 weeks overall.

Along with her forehand signature move, there is no doubt that Steffi Graf is one of the fiercest female sportswomen in history.1. Steffi Graf

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