The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes

The Best Athletes of 2012

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6,552 views 127 items 24,777 votes 4,241 voters 22 followers 18reranks
The best athletes of 2012 won Olympic gold medals, helped clinch team championships, broke world records and became some of the most admired athletes in the world. These athletic stars come from all sports and each offer something different to their adoring fans but they all accomplished incredible things during the 2012 calendar year. These are the best athletes of 2012.

With the 2012 London Summer Olympics the big highlight in the year in sports, it should be no surprise that many of 2012's best athletes were Olympic medalists. American swimmer Michael Phelps was easily the top athlete at the 2012 Summer Olympics when he brought home another six medals, bringing his career total to 22. But Phelps wasn't the only athlete to become an instant favorite at the 2012 games with sprinter Usain Bolt, tennis stars Andy Murray and Serena Williams and fellow swimmer Missy Franklin each winning big in their respective events.

There was much more to see than just the Olympics however with stars in the worlds of football, baseball, basketball and hockey, among other sports, dominating the action. Repeating their honors as top athletes of 2011, names like Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, Justin Verlander, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, LeBron James, small forward for the Miami Heat, and Tiger Woods, pro golfer, all returned to see success again in 2012.

Selecting a top athlete for a calendar year is often a matter of opinion and fandom so if you see someone you think should be higher or lower, vote accordingly. Want to re-rank the list or add someone we missed, do all of that below and help us rank the best athletes of 2012.
Be sure to also check out the Biggest Sports Disappointments of 2012, Famous Sports Speeches and the Best Sports to Watch.

List Criteria: Only 2012 performances on the field. Other years do not count

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 872
    Down 393

    ranked high on reranks
    Usain Bolt

    1986 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 771
    Down 371

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Michael Phelps

    1985 More
    98
  3. 3
    Up 1111
    Down 587

    the people's #1 &often listed
    LeBron James

    1984 More
    96
  4. 4
    Up 835
    Down 415

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Gabby Douglas

    92
  5. 5
    Up 593
    Down 350

    often listed
    Kevin Durant

    1988 More
    90
  6. 6
    Up 703
    Down 287

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Peterson

    1985 More
    89
  7. 7
    Up 415
    Down 290

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lionel Messi

    1987 More
    85
  8. 8
    Up 247
    Down 91
    1976 More
    84
  9. 9
    Up 445
    Down 281

    often listed
    Missy Franklin

    1995 More
    81
  10. 10
    Up 426
    Down 263

    often listed
    Calvin Johnson

    1985 More
    80
  11. 11
    Up 342
    Down 235
    1983 More
    71
  12. 12
    Up 221
    Down 186
    1991 More
    71
  13. 13
    Up 329
    Down 291

    often listed
    Aaron Rodgers

    1983 More
    71
  14. 14
    Up 402
    Down 346
    1977 More
    66
  15. 15
    Up 379
    Down 345

    controversial
    Serena Williams

    1981 More
    66
  16. 16
    Up 76
    Down 21

    RGIII

    62
  17. 17
    Up 148
    Down 168
    1991 More
    61
  18. 18
    Up 186
    Down 232

    controversial
    Roger Federer

    1981 More
    61
  19. 19
    Up 73
    Down 102

    controversial
    R. A. Dickey

    1974 More
    60
  20. 20
    Up 191
    Down 206
    1983 More
    58
  21. 21
    Up 247
    Down 315

    controversial
    Kobe Bryant

    1978 More
    58
  22. 22
    Up 205
    Down 252
    1979 More
    58
  23. 23
    Up 196
    Down 237

    controversial
    Anderson Silva

    1975 More
    57
  24. 24
    Up 150
    Down 208

    controversial
    Novak Djokovic

    1987 More
    56
  25. 25
    Up 127
    Down 173
    1981 More
    56
  26. 26
    Up 140
    Down 203

    controversial
    Abby Wambach

    1980 More
    56
  27. 27
    Up 139
    Down 255

    often listed &controversial
    Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    1977 More
    55
  28. 28
    Up 185
    Down 220

    controversial
    Buster Posey

    1987 More
    53
  29. 29
    Up 162
    Down 221

    controversial
    Carmelita Jeter

    1980 More
    53
  30. 30
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1955 More
    53
  31. 31
    Up 157
    Down 216

    controversial
    Bryce Harper

    1992 More
    52
  32. 32
    Up 12
    Down 10
    1981 More
    52
  33. 33
    Up 117
    Down 222

    controversial
    Cristiano Ronaldo

    1985 More
    52
  34. 34
    Up 99
    Down 224

    often listed &controversial
    Manny Pacquiáo

    1978 More
    52
  35. 35
    Up 79
    Down 75
    1989 More
    51
  36. 36
    Up 11
    Down 12
    1987 More
    50
  37. 37
    Up 40
    Down 27
    No image

    Russel Wilsen

    50
  38. 38
    Up 31
    Down 20
    1876 More
    50
  39. 39
    Up 1
    Down 0

    ranked high on reranks
    Henry Armstrong

    1912 More
    49
  40. 40
    Up 12
    Down 12
    1985 More
    49
  41. 41
    Up 1
    Down 0
    No image

    ranked high on reranks
    Humberto Gonzalez

    1966 More
    49
  42. 42
    Up 93
    Down 190

    controversial
    Rafael Nadal

    1986 More
    49
  43. 43
    Up 1
    Down 0

    ranked high on reranks
    Jack Dempsey

    1895 More
    49
  44. 44
    Up 1
    Down 0

    ranked high on reranks
    Muhammad Ali

    1942 More
    49
  45. 45
    Up 1
    Down 0

    ranked high on reranks
    Jack Johnson

    1878 More
    48
  46. 46
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1921 More
    48
  47. 47
    Up 9
    Down 5
    1995 More
    48
  48. 48
    Up 7
    Down 9
    1980 More
    48
  49. 49
    Up 93
    Down 196
    1981 More
    48
  50. 50
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1925 More
    48
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