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
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  1. 102
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    1942 More
    39
  2. 126
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    1988 More
    24
  3. 7
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    1987 More
    86
  4. 47
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    1980 More
    48
  5. 23
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    1975 More
    58
  6. 90
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Neymar

    1992 More
    40
  7. 39
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Georges St-Pierre

    1981 More
    50
  8. 97
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    1926 More
    39
  9. 85
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    1940 More
    40
  10. 62
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    1985 More
    44
  11. 40
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Wayne Rooney

    1985 More
    49
  12. 82
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    1876 More
    41
  13. 55
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    1958 More
    45
  14. 115
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    1988 More
    37
    added by: NaveenBharathReddy
  15. 1
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    1986 More
    100
  16. 109
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    1976 More
    38
  17. 41
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    ranked low on reranks
    Humberto González

    1966 More
    49
  18. 121
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    1973 More
    34
  19. 98
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    1962 More
    39
  20. 88
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    1974 More
    40
  21. 75
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Robin van Persie

    1983 More
    43
  22. 58
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    1952 More
    45
  23. 33
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    1989 More
    52
  24. 27
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    1978 More
    56
  25. 30
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    1985 More
    54
  26. 63
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    1986 More
    44
  27. 101
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    1973 More
    39
  28. 49
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    1987 More
    47
  29. 22
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    1987 More
    58
  30. 120
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    1985 More
    35
  31. 34
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rafael Nadal

    1986 More
    51
  32. 16
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    Down 232
    1981 More
    62
  33. 99
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    1873 More
    39
  34. 105
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    1965 More
    39
  35. 50
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    David Beckham

    1975 More
    47
  36. 93
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    1893 More
    40
  37. 74
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    1972 More
    43
  38. 36
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    ranked low on reranks
    Aaron Pryor

    1955 More
    51
  39. 12
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    1983 More
    72
  40. 26
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    1980 More
    58
  41. 6
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    1985 More
    88
  42. 61
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    1913 More
    44
  43. 94
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    1896 More
    39
  44. 91
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    1965 More
    40
  45. 10
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    1985 More
    81
  46. 119
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    1985 More
    35
  47. 78
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Derrick Rose

    1988 More
    42
  48. 20
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    1979 More
    59
  49. 66
    Up 61
    Down 177

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dwight Howard

    1985 More
    44
  50. 25
    Up 127
    Down 173
    1981 More
    58
  51. 128 +

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