The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
Ultimate List
16  reranks 25,769 votes 4,306 voters 7,349 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
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 55
    Up 22
    Down 1
    1958 More
    45
  2. 3
    Up 1111
    Down 587

    the people's #1
    LeBron James

    1984 More
    96
  3. 66
    Up 61
    Down 177

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dwight Howard

    1985 More
    44
  4. 103
    Up 21
    Down 18
    1962 More
    39
  5. 20
    Up 205
    Down 252
    1979 More
    59
  6. 70
    Up 30
    Down 13

    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Gans

    1874 More
    43
  7. 123
    Up 34
    Down 102
    1986 More
    29
  8. 120
    Up 55
    Down 118
    1985 More
    35
  9. 16
    Up 186
    Down 232
    1981 More
    62
  10. 44
    Up 36
    Down 2

    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Brown

    1925 More
    48
  11. 73
    Up 29
    Down 13

    ranked low on reranks
    Héctor Camacho

    1962 More
    43
  12. 77
    Up 30
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Frazier

    1944 More
    42
  13. 112
    Up 4
    Down 3
    1966 More
    38
  14. 22
    Up 150
    Down 208
    1987 More
    58
  15. 61
    Up 21
    Down 2
    1913 More
    44
  16. 97
    Up 3
    Down 0
    1926 More
    39
  17. 100
    Up 4
    Down 1
    1923 More
    39
  18. 57
    Up 2
    Down 2
    1973 More
    45
  19. 78
    Up 109
    Down 198

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Derrick Rose

    1988 More
    42
  20. 125
    Up 23
    Down 90
    1982 More
    27
  21. 12
    Up 329
    Down 291
    1983 More
    72
  22. 36
    Up 44
    Down 0

    ranked low on reranks
    Aaron Pryor

    1955 More
    51
  23. 98
    Up 4
    Down 1
    1962 More
    39
  24. 35
    Up 46
    Down 1

    ranked low on reranks
    Henry Armstrong

    1912 More
    51
  25. 40
    Up 12
    Down 12

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Wayne Rooney

    1985 More
    49
  26. 96
    Up 6
    Down 2
    1949 More
    39
  27. 45
    Up 169
    Down 309
    1975 More
    48
  28. 115
    Up 4
    Down 5
    1988 More
    37
    added by: NaveenBharathReddy
  29. 99
    Up 4
    Down 1
    1873 More
    39
  30. 117
    Up 2
    Down 4
    1921 More
    36
  31. 114
    Up 1
    Down 1
    1989 More
    37
    added by: Jhair84
  32. 106
    Up 3
    Down 1
    1973 More
    39
  33. 72
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1987 More
    43
  34. 87
    Up 11
    Down 5
    1985 More
    40
  35. 101
    Up 5
    Down 2
    1973 More
    39
  36. 118
    Up 19
    Down 86
    1987 More
    36
  37. 65
    Up 33
    Down 13
    1878 More
    44
  38. 81
    Up 55
    Down 161

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jimmer Fredette

    1989 More
    41
  39. 24
    Up 144
    Down 256
    1977 More
    58
  40. 74
    Up 29
    Down 13
    1972 More
    43
  41. 33
    Up 79
    Down 75
    1989 More
    52
  42. 27
    Up 106
    Down 224
    1978 More
    56
  43. 80
    Up 28
    Down 16
    1914 More
    42
  44. 11
    Up 221
    Down 186
    1991 More
    72
  45. 31
    Up 157
    Down 216
    1992 More
    54
  46. 29
    Up 185
    Down 220
    1987 More
    55
  47. 50
    Up 98
    Down 213

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    David Beckham

    1975 More
    47
  48. 93
    Up 7
    Down 2
    1893 More
    40
  49. 76
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1986 More
    43
  50. 68
    Up 115
    Down 155
    1988 More
    44
  51. 128 +

    Something missing? Add it!

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?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists