The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes

The Best Athletes of 2012

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6,543 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. 71
    Up 98
    Down 213
    1975 More
    44
  2. 7
    Up 415
    Down 290

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lionel Messi

    1987 More
    85
  3. 57
    Up 11
    Down 5
    1985 More
    46
  4. 88
    Up 103
    Down 169
    1986 More
    42
  5. 103
    Up 39
    Down 118
    1992 More
    38
  6. 93
    Up 108
    Down 198
    1988 More
    40
  7. 8
    Up 247
    Down 91
    1976 More
    84
  8. 10
    Up 426
    Down 263

    often listed
    Calvin Johnson

    1985 More
    80
  9. 20
    Up 191
    Down 206
    1983 More
    58
  10. 11
    Up 342
    Down 235
    1983 More
    71
  11. 75
    Up 3
    Down 2
    1985 More
    44
  12. 80
    Up 11
    Down 38
    1983 More
    43
  13. 13
    Up 329
    Down 291

    often listed
    Aaron Rodgers

    1983 More
    71
  14. 17
    Up 148
    Down 168
    1991 More
    61
  15. 86
    Up 68
    Down 172
    1984 More
    42
  16. 21
    Up 247
    Down 315

    controversial
    Kobe Bryant

    1978 More
    58
  17. 69
    Up 2
    Down 2
    1973 More
    45
  18. 40
    Up 12
    Down 12
    1985 More
    49
  19. 118
    Up 55
    Down 118
    1985 More
    33
  20. 113
    Up 19
    Down 86
    1987 More
    35
  21. 123
    Up 34
    Down 102

    ranked low on reranks
    Rudy Gay

    1986 More
    28
  22. 125
    Up 23
    Down 90

    ranked low on reranks
    Tony Allen

    1982 More
    27
  23. 122
    Up 47
    Down 120

    ranked low on reranks
    Zach Randolph

    1981 More
    31
  24. 3
    Up 1111
    Down 587

    the people's #1 &often listed
    LeBron James

    1984 More
    96
  25. 6
    Up 703
    Down 287

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Peterson

    1985 More
    89
  26. 14
    Up 402
    Down 346
    1977 More
    66
  27. 22
    Up 205
    Down 252
    1979 More
    58
  28. 25
    Up 127
    Down 173
    1981 More
    56
  29. 70
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1986 More
    45
  30. 36
    Up 11
    Down 12
    1987 More
    50
  31. 19
    Up 73
    Down 102

    controversial
    R. A. Dickey

    1974 More
    60
  32. 65
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1987 More
    45
  33. 12
    Up 221
    Down 186
    1991 More
    71
  34. 79
    Up 1
    Down 2
    No image
    43
  35. 5
    Up 593
    Down 350

    often listed
    Kevin Durant

    1988 More
    90
  36. 82
    Up 115
    Down 155
    1988 More
    43
  37. 89
    Up 59
    Down 177
    1985 More
    41
  38. 33
    Up 117
    Down 222

    controversial
    Cristiano Ronaldo

    1985 More
    52
  39. 77
    Up 2
    Down 4
    1986 More
    44
  40. 98
    Up 55
    Down 161
    1989 More
    39
  41. 28
    Up 185
    Down 220

    controversial
    Buster Posey

    1987 More
    53
  42. 52
    Up 4
    Down 5
    1986 More
    47
  43. 94
    Up 22
    Down 33
    1985 More
    40
  44. 51
    Up 107
    Down 192
    1981 More
    47
  45. 26
    Up 140
    Down 203

    controversial
    Abby Wambach

    1980 More
    56
  46. 31
    Up 157
    Down 216

    controversial
    Bryce Harper

    1992 More
    52
  47. 38
    Up 31
    Down 20
    1876 More
    50
  48. 16
    Up 76
    Down 21

    RGIII

    62
  49. 30
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1955 More
    53
  50. 67
    Up 1
    Down 1
    1952 More
    45
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