The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
Ultimate List
19  reranks 26,937 votes 4,350 voters 8,191 views more info

The Best Athletes of 2012

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

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 is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 19 ReRanks
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 874
    Down 404

    most listed 1986

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 774
    Down 382

    1985

    open report item
  3. 3
    Up 1112
    Down 597

    the people's #1 1984

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 836
    Down 425

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 259
    Down 91

    1976

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 594
    Down 359

    1988

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 458
    Down 281

    1995

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 416
    Down 296

    1987

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 704
    Down 290

    ranked low on reranks 1985

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 427
    Down 265

    1985

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 408
    Down 346

    1977

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 330
    Down 292

    1983

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 223
    Down 188

    1991

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 343
    Down 239

    1983

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 380
    Down 353

    1981

    open report item
  16. 16
    Up 251
    Down 317

    1978

    open report item
  17. 17
    Up 188
    Down 236

    1981

    open report item
  18. 18
    Up 152
    Down 169

    1991

    open report item
  19. 19
    Up 35
    Down 12

    ranked low on reranks 1985

    open report item
  20. 20
    Up 79
    Down 104

    1974

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 113
    Down 197

    1986

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 147
    Down 262

    1977

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 153
    Down 213

    1987

    open report item
  24. 24
    Up 133
    Down 176

    1981

    open report item
  25. 25
    Up 207
    Down 254

    1979

    open report item
  26. 26
    Up 143
    Down 205

    1980

    open report item
  27. 27
    Up 118
    Down 119

    1987

    open report item
  28. 28
    Up 114
    Down 226

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1978

    open report item
  29. 29
    Up 13
    Down 1

    added by Boqueman Sebastian Vettel

    open report item
  30. 30
    Up 193
    Down 207

    1983

    open report item
  31. 31
    Up 15
    Down 0

    added by Boqueman 1986

    open report item
  32. 32
    Up 14
    Down 1

    added by Boqueman Rūta Meilutytė

    open report item
  33. 33
    Up 31
    Down 11

    1981

    open report item
  34. 34
    Up 13
    Down 1

    added by Boqueman Sebastian Brendel

    open report item
  35. 35
    Up 198
    Down 239

    1975

    open report item
  36. 36
    Up 12
    Down 1

    added by Boqueman 1987

    open report item
  37. 37
    Up 114
    Down 220

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1975

    open report item
  38. 38
    Up 61
    Down 6

    ranked low on reranks 1912

    open report item
  39. 39
    Up 60
    Down 5

    ranked low on reranks 1955

    open report item
  40. 40
    Up 174
    Down 220

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1992

    open report item
  41. 41
    Up 53
    Down 2
    No image

    ranked low on reranks 1966

    open report item
  42. 42
    Up 176
    Down 229

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1980

    open report item
  43. 43
    Up 93
    Down 23

    ranked low on reranks RGIII

    open report item
  44. 44
    Up 205
    Down 222

    1987

    open report item
  45. 45
    Up 24
    Down 10

    1980

    open report item
  46. 46
    Up 15
    Down 1

    added by Boqueman 1982

    open report item
  47. 47
    Up 15
    Down 0

    added by Boqueman Yuliya Zaripova

    open report item
  48. 48
    Up 15
    Down 1

    added by Boqueman 1981

    open report item
  49. 49
    Up 52
    Down 5

    ranked low on reranks 1921

    open report item
  50. 50
    Up 12
    Down 0

    added by Boqueman 1988

    open report item
  51. 154 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 50 of 153

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists