The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
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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.

  • 19 ReRanks
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  1. 28
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    's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

    ) open
  2. 62
    + 40
    - 4


    Accra, Ghana

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 1115
    - 610

    the people's #1
    Akron, Ohio, United States of America

    ) open
  4. 79
    + 63
    - 180

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    ) open
  5. 134
    + 21
    - 24


    Atmore, Alabama, United States of America

    ) open
  6. 29
    + 209
    - 255

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Austin, Texas, United States of America

    ) open
  7. 94
    + 32
    - 13


    Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America

    ) open
  8. 149
    + 35
    - 102


    Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America

    ) open
  9. 135
    + 56
    - 119


    Barcelona, Spain

    ) open
  10. 16
    + 194
    - 237


    Basel, Switzerland

    ) open
  11. 72
    + 52
    - 10


    Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America

    ) open
  12. 102
    + 29
    - 14


    Bayamón, Puerto Rico

    ) open
  13. 103
    + 31
    - 16


    Beaufort, South Carolina, United States of America

    ) open
  14. 127
    + 7
    - 5


    Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City, New York

    ) open
  15. 26
    + 154
    - 215


    Belgrade, Serbia

    ) open
  16. 99
    + 23
    - 8


    Benoit, Mississippi, United States of America

    ) open
  17. 140
    + 3
    - 6


    Berrocal, Spain

    ) open
  18. 51
    + 13
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    added by Boqueman
    Boise, Idaho, United States of America

    ) open
  19. 123
    + 6
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    Brockton, Massachusetts, United States of America

    ) open
  20. 69
    + 11
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    added by Boqueman
    Bílovec, Czech Republic

    ) open
  21. 82
    + 3
    - 2


    Cardiff, United Kingdom

    ) open
  22. 57
    + 12
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    added by Boqueman
    Chelyabinsk, Russia

    ) open
  23. 106
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

    ) open
  24. 151
    + 23
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    Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

    ) open
  25. 12
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    Chico, California, United States of America

    ) open
  26. 38
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    ranked low on reranks
    Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

    ) open
  27. 124
    + 4
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    Ciudad Obregón, Mexico

    ) open
  28. 43
    + 62
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    ranked low on reranks
    Columbus, Mississippi, United States of America

    ) open
  29. 22
    + 37
    - 14

    ranked low on reranks
    Croxteth, United Kingdom

    ) open
  30. 120
    + 6
    - 4


    Cuthbert, Georgia, United States of America

    ) open
  31. 71
    + 187
    - 316

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Cypress, California, United States of America

    ) open
  32. 147
    + 4
    - 6

    added by NaveenBharathReddy
    Delhi, India

    ) open
  33. 132
    + 5
    - 5


    Demerara, Guyana

    ) open
  34. 142
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    - 8


    Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

    ) open
  35. 55
    + 7
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    added by Boqueman
    Dewsbury, United Kingdom

    ) open
  36. 144
    + 3
    - 2

    added by Jhair84
    Diamond Bar, California, United States of America

    ) open
  37. 145
    + 3
    - 8


    East Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    ) open
  38. 89
    + 2
    - 6


    Edina, Minnesota, United States of America

    ) open
  39. 108
    + 13
    - 5


    Exton, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ) open
  40. 125
    + 5
    - 4


    Fajardo, United States of America

    ) open
  41. 141
    + 20
    - 87

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States of America

    ) open
  42. 56
    + 12
    - 0

    added by Boqueman
    Fredonia, New York, United States of America

    ) open
  43. 95
    + 33
    - 15


    Galveston, Texas, United States of America

    ) open
  44. 75
    + 3
    - 1

    added by Boqueman
    Ghent, Belgium

    ) open
  45. 98
    + 55
    - 163

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Glens Falls, New York, United States of America

    ) open
  46. 21
    + 148
    - 265


    Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States of America

    ) open
  47. 100
    + 30
    - 14


    Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom

    ) open
  48. 66
    + 100
    - 75


    Holywood, Bangor, United Kingdom

    ) open
  49. 23
    + 117
    - 228


    Kibawe, Philippines

    ) open
  50. 47
    + 14
    - 1

    added by Boqueman
    King City, King, Canada

    ) open
154 +

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