The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes

The Best Athletes of 2012

27k votes 4.4k voters 10k views 156 items tags f p @

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 Photo: user uploaded image
  • 20 ReRanks
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  1. 50
    + 11
    - 2

    added by Boqueman
    Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia

    ;
  2. 49
    + 178
    - 229
    Carmelita Jeter is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Carmelita Jeter Los Angeles, California, United States of America

  3. 48
    + 100
    - 76
    Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    ranked low on reranks
    Rory McIlroy Holywood, Bangor, United Kingdom

  4. 47
    + 14
    - 2
    Zara Phillips is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    ranked low on reranks & added by Boqueman
    Zara Phillips Paddington, London, United Kingdom

  5. 46
    + 138
    - 178
    Eli Manning is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    often listed
    Eli Manning New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

  6. 45
    + 209
    - 256
    Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Drew Brees Austin, Texas, United States of America

  7. 44
    + 177
    - 220
    Bryce Harper is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Bryce Harper Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America

  8. 43
    + 14
    - 2
    Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    added by Boqueman
    Katie Ledecky Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America

  9. 42
    + 195
    - 207
    Justin Verlander is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Justin Verlander Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, United States of America

  10. 41
    + 82
    - 106
    R. A. Dickey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    R. A. Dickey Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America

  11. 40
    + 18
    - 3
    Natalya Antyukh is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    added by Boqueman
    Natalya Antyukh Saint Petersburg, Russia

  12. 39
    + 209
    - 222


    Leesburg, Georgia, United States of America

    ;
  13. 38
    + 15
    - 3

    added by Boqueman
    Schwedt, Germany

    ;
  14. 37
    + 257
    - 320
    Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Kobe Bryant Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

  15. 36
    + 15
    - 3

    added by Boqueman
    King City, King, Canada

    ;
  16. 35
    + 16
    - 4
    Rūta Meilutytė is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    added by Boqueman
    Rūta Meilutytė Kaunas, Lithuania

  17. 34
    + 16
    - 3

    added by Boqueman
    's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

    ;
  18. 33
    + 124
    - 120
    Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Maria Sharapova Nyagan, Russia

  19. 32
    + 17
    - 4

    added by Boqueman
    Paddington, Sydney, Australia

    ;
  20. 31
    + 52
    - 12

    ranked low on reranks
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America

    ;
  21. 30
    + 155
    - 171
    Mike Trout is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Mike Trout Vineland, New Jersey, United States of America

  22. 29
    + 40
    - 6

    ranked low on reranks
    Accra, Ghana

    ;
  23. 28
    + 200
    - 237
    Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Roger Federer Basel, Switzerland

  24. 27
    + 26
    - 12
    Tom Boonen is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Tom Boonen Mol, Belgium, Belgium

  25. 26
    + 17
    - 3

    added by Boqueman
    Heppenheim, Germany

    ;
  26. 25
    + 53
    - 9
    Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Jake LaMotta New York City, New York, United States of America

  27. 24
    + 35
    - 12


    Richland, Tri-Cities, Washington

    ;
  28. 23
    + 39
    - 16


    Croxteth, United Kingdom

    ;
  29. 22
    + 94
    - 24
    RGIII is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    RGIII

  30. 21
    + 12
    - 0
    Olga Rypakova is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    added by Boqueman
    Olga Rypakova Oskemen, Kazakhstan

  31. 20
    + 60
    - 8
    Aaron Pryor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Aaron Pryor Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

  32. 19
    + 386
    - 357
    Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Serena Williams Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

  33. 18
    + 19
    - 1
    Yuliya Zaripova is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    added by Boqueman
    Yuliya Zaripova

  34. 17
    + 19
    - 1

    added by Boqueman
    Yerevan, Armenia

    ;
  35. 16
    + 53
    - 5

    ranked low on reranks
    Mexico

    ;
  36. 15
    + 224
    - 193
    Manti Te'o is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Manti Te'o Laie, Hawaii, United States of America

  37. 14
    + 63
    - 10

    ranked low on reranks
    Columbus, Mississippi, United States of America

    ;
  38. 13
    + 335
    - 294
    Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Aaron Rodgers Chico, California, United States of America

  39. 12
    + 345
    - 243


    Maracay, Venezuela

    ;
  40. 11
    + 417
    - 349
    Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Tom Brady San Mateo, California, United States of America

  41. 10
    + 436
    - 270
    Calvin Johnson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Calvin Johnson Newnan, Georgia, United States of America

  42. 9
    + 432
    - 305


    Rosario, Argentina

    ;
  43. 8
    + 464
    - 290
    Missy Franklin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Missy Franklin Pasadena, California, United States of America

  44. 7
    + 598
    - 372
    Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Kevin Durant Washington, D.C., United States of America

  45. 6
    + 709
    - 295
    Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Adrian Peterson Palestine, Texas, United States of America

  46. 5
    + 859
    - 444
    Gabby Douglas is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Gabby Douglas Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States of America

  47. 4
    + 276
    - 97
    Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012


    Peyton Manning New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

  48. 3
    + 1,120
    - 612
    LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

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

  49. 2
    + 784
    - 397


    Towson, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  50. 1
    + 885
    - 419

    most listed
    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ;
157 +

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