The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
Ultimate List
27,119 votes 9,277 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.
  • 19 ReRanks
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
The List
Comment
Embed
Options
rerank list
  1. 40
    Up 117
    Down 220

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1975

    open
  2. 8
    Up 420
    Down 298

    1987

    open
  3. 109
    Up 12
    Down 5

    1985

    open
  4. 67
    Up 11
    Down 0

    added by Boqueman 1985

    open
  5. 110
    Up 105
    Down 171

    1986

    open
  6. 108
    Up 40
    Down 120

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1992

    open
  7. 106
    Up 110
    Down 199

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1988

    open
  8. 5
    Up 266
    Down 94

    1976

    open
  9. 10
    Up 429
    Down 266

    1985

    open
  10. 33
    Up 194
    Down 207

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1983

    open
  11. 14
    Up 344
    Down 241

    1983

    open
  12. 90
    Up 3
    Down 5

    1985

    open
  13. 74
    Up 12
    Down 38

    1983

    open
  14. 12
    Up 332
    Down 292

    1983

    open
  15. 18
    Up 153
    Down 170

    1991

    open
  16. 86
    Up 69
    Down 172

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1984

    open
  17. 16
    Up 253
    Down 318

    1978

    open
  18. 82
    Up 3
    Down 2

    1973

    open
  19. 22
    Up 36
    Down 13

    ranked low on reranks 1985

    open
  20. 136
    Up 56
    Down 119

    1985

    open
  21. 141
    Up 20
    Down 87

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1987

    open
  22. 149
    Up 35
    Down 102

    1986

    open
  23. 151
    Up 23
    Down 90

    1982

    open
  24. 147
    Up 47
    Down 123

    1981

    open
  25. 3
    Up 1114
    Down 606

    the people's #1 1984

    open
  26. 9
    Up 706
    Down 291

    1985

    open
  27. 11
    Up 410
    Down 347

    1977

    open
  28. 28
    Up 208
    Down 254

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1979

    open
  29. 26
    Up 135
    Down 177

    1981

    open
  30. 91
    Up 2
    Down 6

    1986

    open
  31. 78
    Up 12
    Down 13

    1987

    open
  32. 19
    Up 80
    Down 105

    1974

    open
  33. 89
    Up 2
    Down 6

    1987

    open
  34. 13
    Up 224
    Down 189

    1991

    open
  35. 88
    Up 1
    Down 2
    No image

    open
  36. 6
    Up 595
    Down 365

    1988

    open
  37. 102
    Up 116
    Down 157

    1988

    open
  38. 81
    Up 62
    Down 180

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1985

    open
  39. 47
    Up 121
    Down 254

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1985

    open
  40. 85
    Up 3
    Down 4

    1986

    open
  41. 98
    Up 55
    Down 162

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1989

    open
  42. 48
    Up 206
    Down 222

    1987

    open
  43. 80
    Up 5
    Down 5

    1986

    open
  44. 142
    Up 23
    Down 33

    1985

    open
  45. 62
    Up 127
    Down 193

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1981

    open
  46. 27
    Up 144
    Down 207

    1980

    open
  47. 44
    Up 175
    Down 220

    1992

    open
  48. 107
    Up 31
    Down 22

    1876

    open
  49. 56
    Up 94
    Down 23

    RGIII

    open
  50. 38
    Up 60
    Down 5

    ranked low on reranks 1955

    open
154 +

Something missing? Add it!

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists