The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
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19  reranks 26,875 votes 4,346 voters 7,966 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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Score
  1. 36
    Up 11
    Down 1
    1987 More
    50
    added by: Boqueman
  2. 59
    Up 40
    Down 4

    ranked low on reranks
    Azumah Nelson

    1958 More
    45
  3. 3
    Up 1112
    Down 595

    the people's #1
    LeBron James

    1984 More
    93
  4. 82
    Up 61
    Down 180

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dwight Howard

    1985 More
    39
  5. 131
    Up 21
    Down 23
    1962 More
    33
  6. 25
    Up 207
    Down 253
    1979 More
    53
  7. 69
    Up 31
    Down 13
    1874 More
    40
  8. 150
    Up 34
    Down 102
    1986 More
    29
  9. 139
    Up 55
    Down 119
    1985 More
    32
  10. 17
    Up 188
    Down 235
    1981 More
    57
  11. 55
    Up 51
    Down 9
    1925 More
    46
  12. 78
    Up 29
    Down 13
    1962 More
    40
  13. 91
    Up 30
    Down 16
    1944 More
    39
  14. 135
    Up 5
    Down 5
    1966 More
    33
  15. 23
    Up 153
    Down 212
    1987 More
    53
  16. 81
    Up 22
    Down 8
    1913 More
    39
  17. 140
    Up 3
    Down 6
    1926 More
    32
  18. 86
    Up 12
    Down 0
    1973 More
    39
    added by: Boqueman
  19. 125
    Up 5
    Down 5
    1923 More
    34
  20. 96
    Up 10
    Down 0
    1990 More
    38
    added by: Boqueman
  21. 64
    Up 3
    Down 2
    1973 More
    41
  22. 79
    Up 12
    Down 0
    1985 More
    40
    added by: Boqueman
  23. 107
    Up 109
    Down 198

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Derrick Rose

    1988 More
    37
  24. 151
    Up 23
    Down 90
    1982 More
    27
  25. 12
    Up 330
    Down 292
    1983 More
    67
  26. 39
    Up 60
    Down 4

    ranked low on reranks
    Aaron Pryor

    1955 More
    49
  27. 118
    Up 4
    Down 1
    1962 More
    35
  28. 37
    Up 61
    Down 5

    ranked low on reranks
    Henry Armstrong

    1912 More
    50
  29. 19
    Up 35
    Down 12

    ranked low on reranks
    Wayne Rooney

    1985 More
    55
  30. 119
    Up 6
    Down 3
    1949 More
    35
  31. 60
    Up 186
    Down 314

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Tiger Woods

    1975 More
    44
  32. 146
    Up 4
    Down 6
    1988 More
    30
    added by: NaveenBharathReddy
  33. 124
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1873 More
    34
  34. 144
    Up 4
    Down 8
    1921 More
    31
  35. 57
    Up 7
    Down 0
    1988 More
    46
    added by: Boqueman
  36. 141
    Up 2
    Down 2
    1989 More
    32
    added by: Jhair84
  37. 142
    Up 3
    Down 6
    1973 More
    31
  38. 106
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1987 More
    37
  39. 108
    Up 11
    Down 5

    ranked low on reranks
    Matt Ryan

    1985 More
    37
  40. 121
    Up 5
    Down 3
    1973 More
    35
  41. 147
    Up 19
    Down 87
    1987 More
    30
  42. 76
    Up 12
    Down 0
    1982 More
    40
    added by: Boqueman
  43. 70
    Up 33
    Down 15
    1878 More
    40
  44. 61
    Up 2
    Down 1
    1980 More
    42
    added by: Boqueman
  45. 105
    Up 55
    Down 162

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jimmer Fredette

    1989 More
    37
  46. 22
    Up 147
    Down 260
    1977 More
    53
  47. 83
    Up 29
    Down 14
    1972 More
    39
  48. 54
    Up 98
    Down 75
    1989 More
    46
  49. 27
    Up 114
    Down 225

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Manny Pacquiáo

    1978 More
    53
  50. 51
    Up 12
    Down 0
    1988 More
    47
    added by: Boqueman
  51. 154 +

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