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
  • 19 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 85
    Up 12
    Down 0

    Émilie Fer

    39
    added by: Boqueman
  2. 39
    Up 60
    Down 4

    ranked low on reranks
    Aaron Pryor

    1955 More
    49
  3. 12
    Up 330
    Down 292
    1983 More
    67
  4. 26
    Up 143
    Down 204
    1980 More
    53
  5. 9
    Up 704
    Down 290
    1985 More
    82
  6. 141
    Up 2
    Down 2
    1989 More
    32
    added by: Jhair84
  7. 52
    Up 10
    Down 0
    1973 More
    47
    added by: Boqueman
  8. 66
    Up 22
    Down 5
    1952 More
    41
  9. 103
    Up 31
    Down 22
    1876 More
    37
  10. 57
    Up 7
    Down 0
    1988 More
    46
    added by: Boqueman
  11. 98
    Up 10
    Down 0
    1994 More
    38
    added by: Boqueman
  12. 34
    Up 198
    Down 239
    1975 More
    51
  13. 48
    Up 13
    Down 1
    1982 More
    48
    added by: Boqueman
  14. 81
    Up 22
    Down 8
    1913 More
    39
  15. 88
    Up 3
    Down 5
    1985 More
    39
  16. 59
    Up 40
    Down 4

    ranked low on reranks
    Azumah Nelson

    1958 More
    45
  17. 124
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1873 More
    34
  18. 120
    Up 23
    Down 21
    1896 More
    35
  19. 116
    Up 23
    Down 19
    1965 More
    36
  20. 61
    Up 2
    Down 1
    1980 More
    42
    added by: Boqueman
  21. 40
    Up 174
    Down 219

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bryce Harper

    1992 More
    49
  22. 44
    Up 205
    Down 222
    1987 More
    49
  23. 10
    Up 427
    Down 265
    1985 More
    77
  24. 128
    Up 21
    Down 22
    1942 More
    34
  25. 42
    Up 176
    Down 228

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Carmelita Jeter

    1980 More
    49
  26. 49
    Up 118
    Down 251

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Cristiano Ronaldo

    1985 More
    47
  27. 38
    Up 113
    Down 218

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    David Beckham

    1975 More
    50
  28. 143
    Up 22
    Down 33
    1985 More
    31
  29. 107
    Up 109
    Down 198

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Derrick Rose

    1988 More
    37
  30. 25
    Up 207
    Down 253
    1979 More
    53
  31. 82
    Up 61
    Down 180

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dwight Howard

    1985 More
    39
  32. 24
    Up 133
    Down 175
    1981 More
    53
  33. 87
    Up 12
    Down 0

    Elisa Di Francisca

    39
    added by: Boqueman
  34. 131
    Up 21
    Down 23
    1962 More
    33
  35. 75
    Up 1
    Down 2
    No image
    40
  36. 22
    Up 147
    Down 260
    1977 More
    53
  37. 62
    Up 32
    Down 10

    ranked low on reranks
    Floyd Patterson

    1935 More
    42
  38. 121
    Up 5
    Down 3
    1973 More
    35
  39. 56
    Up 26
    Down 12
    1995 More
    46
  40. 4
    Up 836
    Down 423
    89
  41. 80
    Up 22
    Down 8
    1949 More
    39
  42. 53
    Up 113
    Down 200

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Georges St-Pierre

    1981 More
    47
  43. 37
    Up 61
    Down 5

    ranked low on reranks
    Henry Armstrong

    1912 More
    50
  44. 33
    Up 31
    Down 11
    1981 More
    51
  45. 41
    Up 53
    Down 2
    No image

    ranked low on reranks
    Humberto González

    1966 More
    49
  46. 78
    Up 29
    Down 13
    1962 More
    40
  47. 106
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1987 More
    37
  48. 74
    Up 35
    Down 18
    1895 More
    40
  49. 70
    Up 33
    Down 15
    1878 More
    40
  50. 90
    Up 11
    Down 0

    Jade Jones

    39
    added by: Boqueman
  51. 154 +

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