The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes

The Best Athletes of 2012

original ranker
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

< >
  • the crowd
  • 18 reranks
  • comments
  • </> embed
Rerank This List
View as a
Rank
loading your
votes…
 
  Name
Score
  1. 78
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1942 More
    44
  2. 126
    Up 14
    Down 76

    ranked low on reranks
    Juan Martin Del Potro

    1988 More
    25
  3. 7
    Up 415
    Down 290

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lionel Messi

    1987 More
    85
  4. 48
    Up 7
    Down 9
    1980 More
    48
  5. 23
    Up 196
    Down 237

    controversial
    Anderson Silva

    1975 More
    57
  6. 103
    Up 39
    Down 118
    1992 More
    38
  7. 49
    Up 93
    Down 196
    1981 More
    48
  8. 108
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1926 More
    37
  9. 87
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1940 More
    42
  10. 75
    Up 3
    Down 2
    1985 More
    44
  11. 40
    Up 12
    Down 12
    1985 More
    49
  12. 38
    Up 31
    Down 20
    1876 More
    50
  13. 72
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1958 More
    44
  14. 120
    Up 4
    Down 5
    1988 More
    32
    added by: NaveenBharathReddy
  15. 1
    Up 872
    Down 393

    ranked high on reranks
    Usain Bolt

    1986 More
    100
  16. 81
    Up 1
    Down 1
    1976 More
    43
  17. 41
    Up 1
    Down 0
    No image

    ranked high on reranks
    Humberto Gonzalez

    1966 More
    49
  18. 117
    Up 43
    Down 81

    ranked low on reranks
    Juan Manuel Márquez

    1973 More
    33
  19. 107
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1962 More
    37
  20. 111
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1974 More
    36
  21. 80
    Up 11
    Down 38
    1983 More
    43
  22. 67
    Up 1
    Down 1
    1952 More
    45
  23. 35
    Up 79
    Down 75
    1989 More
    51
  24. 34
    Up 99
    Down 224

    often listed &controversial
    Manny Pacquiáo

    1978 More
    52
  25. 33
    Up 117
    Down 222

    controversial
    Cristiano Ronaldo

    1985 More
    52
  26. 77
    Up 2
    Down 4
    1986 More
    44
  27. 84
    Up 1
    Down 1
    1973 More
    42
  28. 60
    Up 101
    Down 119
    1987 More
    46
  29. 24
    Up 150
    Down 208

    controversial
    Novak Djokovic

    1987 More
    56
  30. 118
    Up 55
    Down 118
    1985 More
    33
  31. 42
    Up 93
    Down 190

    controversial
    Rafael Nadal

    1986 More
    49
  32. 18
    Up 186
    Down 232

    controversial
    Roger Federer

    1981 More
    61
  33. 85
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1873 More
    42
  34. 110
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1965 More
    36
  35. 71
    Up 98
    Down 213
    1975 More
    44
  36. 96
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1893 More
    40
  37. 53
    Up 1
    Down 1
    1972 More
    47
  38. 30
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1955 More
    53
  39. 13
    Up 329
    Down 291

    often listed
    Aaron Rodgers

    1983 More
    71
  40. 26
    Up 140
    Down 203

    controversial
    Abby Wambach

    1980 More
    56
  41. 6
    Up 703
    Down 287

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Peterson

    1985 More
    89
  42. 66
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1913 More
    45
  43. 73
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1896 More
    44
  44. 76
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1965 More
    44
  45. 10
    Up 426
    Down 263

    often listed
    Calvin Johnson

    1985 More
    80
  46. 94
    Up 22
    Down 33
    1985 More
    40
  47. 93
    Up 108
    Down 198
    1988 More
    40
  48. 22
    Up 205
    Down 252
    1979 More
    58
  49. 89
    Up 59
    Down 177
    1985 More
    41
  50. 25
    Up 127
    Down 173
    1981 More
    56
  51. +Add New Item

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 50 of 127

think you can do better?

rerank this list
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

    more popular lists