The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
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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
  • 16 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 99
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    Down 1
    1873 More
    39
  2. 70
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    Joe Gans

    1874 More
    43
  3. 82
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    1876 More
    41
  4. 65
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    1878 More
    44
  5. 93
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  6. 59
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    1895 More
    45
  7. 94
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    1896 More
    39
  8. 35
    Up 46
    Down 1

    ranked low on reranks
    Henry Armstrong

    1912 More
    51
  9. 61
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    1913 More
    44
  10. 80
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    1914 More
    42
  11. 43
    Up 38
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    ranked low on reranks
    Jake LaMotta

    1921 More
    49
  12. 117
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    1921 More
    36
  13. 84
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    1922 More
    41
  14. 100
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    1923 More
    39
  15. 44
    Up 36
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    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Brown

    1925 More
    48
  16. 97
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    1926 More
    39
  17. 108
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    1932 More
    38
  18. 54
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  19. 85
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  20. 102
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    1942 More
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  21. 56
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    1942 More
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  22. 77
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    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Frazier

    1944 More
    42
  23. 60
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    1949 More
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  24. 96
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    1949 More
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  25. 58
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    1952 More
    45
  26. 83
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    1954 More
    41
  27. 36
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    ranked low on reranks
    Aaron Pryor

    1955 More
    51
  28. 95
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    1956 More
    39
  29. 113
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    1956 More
    38
  30. 55
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    1958 More
    45
  31. 107
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    1958 More
    39
  32. 103
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    1962 More
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  33. 73
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    ranked low on reranks
    Héctor Camacho

    1962 More
    43
  34. 98
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    1962 More
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  35. 104
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    1964 More
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  36. 91
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    1965 More
    40
  37. 105
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    1965 More
    39
  38. 41
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    ranked low on reranks
    Humberto González

    1966 More
    49
  39. 112
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  40. 92
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    1969 More
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  41. 51
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Phil Mickelson

    1970 More
    46
  42. 111
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    1971 More
    38
  43. 74
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    1972 More
    43
  44. 101
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    1973 More
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  45. 121
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    1973 More
    34
  46. 106
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    1973 More
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  47. 57
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    1973 More
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  48. 110
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    1973 More
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  49. 88
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    1974 More
    40
  50. 18
    Up 73
    Down 102
    1974 More
    62
  51. 128 +

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