The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
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16  reranks 25,769 votes 4,306 voters 7,325 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
  • 16 ReRanks
  • See list ranked by
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Score
  1. 36
    Up 44
    Down 0

    ranked low on reranks
    Aaron Pryor

    1955 More
    51
  2. 12
    Up 329
    Down 291
    1983 More
    72
  3. 26
    Up 140
    Down 203
    1980 More
    58
  4. 6
    Up 703
    Down 287
    1985 More
    88
  5. 114
    Up 1
    Down 1
    1989 More
    37
    added by: Jhair84
  6. 58
    Up 22
    Down 2
    1952 More
    45
  7. 82
    Up 31
    Down 20
    1876 More
    41
  8. 23
    Up 196
    Down 237
    1975 More
    58
  9. 61
    Up 21
    Down 2
    1913 More
    44
  10. 62
    Up 3
    Down 2
    1985 More
    44
  11. 55
    Up 22
    Down 1
    1958 More
    45
  12. 99
    Up 4
    Down 1
    1873 More
    39
  13. 94
    Up 23
    Down 18
    1896 More
    39
  14. 91
    Up 23
    Down 17
    1965 More
    40
  15. 31
    Up 157
    Down 216
    1992 More
    54
  16. 29
    Up 185
    Down 220
    1987 More
    55
  17. 10
    Up 426
    Down 264
    1985 More
    81
  18. 102
    Up 21
    Down 18
    1942 More
    39
  19. 28
    Up 162
    Down 221
    1980 More
    55
  20. 30
    Up 118
    Down 222
    1985 More
    54
  21. 50
    Up 98
    Down 213

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    David Beckham

    1975 More
    47
  22. 119
    Up 22
    Down 33
    1985 More
    35
  23. 78
    Up 109
    Down 198

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Derrick Rose

    1988 More
    42
  24. 20
    Up 205
    Down 252
    1979 More
    59
  25. 66
    Up 61
    Down 177

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dwight Howard

    1985 More
    44
  26. 25
    Up 127
    Down 173
    1981 More
    58
  27. 103
    Up 21
    Down 18
    1962 More
    39
  28. 69
    Up 1
    Down 2
    No image
    43
  29. 24
    Up 144
    Down 256
    1977 More
    58
  30. 54
    Up 22
    Down 1
    1935 More
    45
  31. 101
    Up 5
    Down 2
    1973 More
    39
  32. 46
    Up 9
    Down 5
    1995 More
    48
  33. 4
    Up 835
    Down 415
    92
  34. 60
    Up 21
    Down 2
    1949 More
    44
  35. 39
    Up 93
    Down 196

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Georges St-Pierre

    1981 More
    50
  36. 35
    Up 46
    Down 1

    ranked low on reranks
    Henry Armstrong

    1912 More
    51
  37. 32
    Up 12
    Down 10
    1981 More
    53
  38. 41
    Up 37
    Down 1
    No image

    ranked low on reranks
    Humberto González

    1966 More
    49
  39. 73
    Up 29
    Down 13

    ranked low on reranks
    Héctor Camacho

    1962 More
    43
  40. 72
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1987 More
    43
  41. 59
    Up 35
    Down 12
    1895 More
    45
  42. 65
    Up 33
    Down 13
    1878 More
    44
  43. 43
    Up 38
    Down 3

    ranked low on reranks
    Jake LaMotta

    1921 More
    49
  44. 81
    Up 55
    Down 161

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jimmer Fredette

    1989 More
    41
  45. 44
    Up 36
    Down 2

    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Brown

    1925 More
    48
  46. 74
    Up 29
    Down 13
    1972 More
    43
  47. 77
    Up 30
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Frazier

    1944 More
    42
  48. 70
    Up 30
    Down 13

    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Gans

    1874 More
    43
  49. 80
    Up 28
    Down 16
    1914 More
    42
  50. 116
    Up 2
    Down 3

    John Cena

    37
    added by: Jhair84
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