The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
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19  reranks 26,875 votes 4,346 voters 7,974 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
  • 19 ReRanks
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  1. 128
    Up 21
    Down 22
    1942 More
    34
  2. 152
    Up 14
    Down 77
    1988 More
    25
  3. 8
    Up 416
    Down 296
    1987 More
    82
  4. 31
    Up 14
    Down 0
    1986 More
    52
    added by: Boqueman
  5. 45
    Up 24
    Down 10
    1980 More
    49
  6. 34
    Up 198
    Down 239
    1975 More
    51
  7. 122
    Up 39
    Down 120

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Neymar

    1992 More
    35
  8. 53
    Up 113
    Down 200

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Georges St-Pierre

    1981 More
    47
  9. 51
    Up 12
    Down 0
    1988 More
    47
    added by: Boqueman
  10. 140
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    Down 6
    1926 More
    32
  11. 113
    Up 5
    Down 1
    1940 More
    36
  12. 96
    Up 10
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    1990 More
    38
    added by: Boqueman
  13. 88
    Up 3
    Down 5
    1985 More
    39
  14. 19
    Up 35
    Down 12

    ranked low on reranks
    Wayne Rooney

    1985 More
    55
  15. 103
    Up 31
    Down 22
    1876 More
    37
  16. 59
    Up 40
    Down 4

    ranked low on reranks
    Azumah Nelson

    1958 More
    45
  17. 146
    Up 4
    Down 6
    1988 More
    30
    added by: NaveenBharathReddy
  18. 1
    Up 874
    Down 402

    most listed
    Usain Bolt

    1986 More
    100
  19. 52
    Up 10
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    1973 More
    47
    added by: Boqueman
  20. 92
    Up 10
    Down 0
    1984 More
    39
    added by: Boqueman
  21. 127
    Up 20
    Down 20
    1976 More
    34
  22. 41
    Up 53
    Down 2
    No image

    ranked low on reranks
    Humberto González

    1966 More
    49
  23. 132
    Up 43
    Down 83
    1973 More
    33
  24. 118
    Up 4
    Down 1
    1962 More
    35
  25. 114
    Up 6
    Down 2
    1974 More
    36
  26. 36
    Up 11
    Down 1
    1987 More
    50
    added by: Boqueman
  27. 72
    Up 12
    Down 38

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Robin van Persie

    1983 More
    40
  28. 66
    Up 22
    Down 5
    1952 More
    41
  29. 54
    Up 98
    Down 75
    1989 More
    46
  30. 27
    Up 114
    Down 225

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Manny Pacquiáo

    1978 More
    53
  31. 49
    Up 118
    Down 251

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Cristiano Ronaldo

    1985 More
    47
  32. 71
    Up 3
    Down 4
    1986 More
    40
  33. 121
    Up 5
    Down 3
    1973 More
    35
  34. 28
    Up 117
    Down 119
    1987 More
    53
  35. 50
    Up 13
    Down 1
    1981 More
    47
    added by: Boqueman
  36. 79
    Up 12
    Down 0
    1985 More
    40
    added by: Boqueman
  37. 48
    Up 13
    Down 1
    1982 More
    48
    added by: Boqueman
  38. 23
    Up 153
    Down 212
    1987 More
    53
  39. 139
    Up 55
    Down 119
    1985 More
    32
  40. 21
    Up 113
    Down 196
    1986 More
    54
  41. 95
    Up 11
    Down 0
    1985 More
    38
    added by: Boqueman
  42. 93
    Up 11
    Down 0
    1982 More
    39
    added by: Boqueman
  43. 17
    Up 188
    Down 235
    1981 More
    57
  44. 61
    Up 2
    Down 1
    1980 More
    42
    added by: Boqueman
  45. 124
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1873 More
    34
  46. 57
    Up 7
    Down 0
    1988 More
    46
    added by: Boqueman
  47. 84
    Up 12
    Down 0
    1981 More
    39
    added by: Boqueman
  48. 137
    Up 3
    Down 4
    1965 More
    33
  49. 38
    Up 113
    Down 218

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    David Beckham

    1975 More
    50
  50. 130
    Up 7
    Down 8
    1893 More
    33
  51. 154 +

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