The Best Athletes of 2012 Athletes
Ultimate List
18  reranks 26,785 votes 4,343 voters 7,842 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
  • 18 ReRanks
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 154
    Up 10
    Down 81
    No image
    21
  2. 153
    Up 14
    Down 77
    1988 More
    25
  3. 152
    Up 23
    Down 90
    1982 More
    27
  4. 151
    Up 34
    Down 102
    1986 More
    29
  5. 150
    Up 72
    Down 170
    No image
    29
  6. 149
    Up 47
    Down 123
    1981 More
    30
  7. 148
    Up 19
    Down 87
    1987 More
    30
  8. 147
    Up 4
    Down 6
    1988 More
    30
    added by: NaveenBharathReddy
  9. 146
    Up 2
    Down 3

    John Cena

    31
    added by: Jhair84
  10. 145
    Up 4
    Down 7
    1921 More
    31
  11. 144
    Up 22
    Down 33
    1985 More
    31
  12. 143
    Up 55
    Down 119

    often listed
    Marc Gasol

    1985 More
    32
  13. 142
    Up 3
    Down 5
    1973 More
    32
  14. 141
    Up 2
    Down 1
    1989 More
    32
    added by: Jhair84
  15. 140
    Up 3
    Down 5
    1926 More
    32
  16. 139
    Up 3
    Down 3
    1965 More
    33
  17. 138
    Up 2
    Down 2
    1964 More
    33
  18. 137
    Up 43
    Down 82
    1973 More
    34
  19. 136
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1973 More
    34
  20. 135
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1966 More
    34
  21. 134
    Up 20
    Down 20
    1976 More
    34
  22. 133
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1956 More
    34
  23. 132
    Up 21
    Down 22
    1962 More
    34
  24. 131
    Up 4
    Down 3
    1971 More
    34
  25. 130
    Up 21
    Down 21
    1942 More
    34
  26. 129
    Up 7
    Down 7
    1893 More
    34
  27. 128
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1932 More
    34
  28. 127
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1956 More
    34
  29. 126
    Up 5
    Down 4
    1923 More
    34
  30. 125
    Up 5
    Down 3
    1873 More
    34
  31. 124
    Up 4
    Down 2
    1958 More
    35
  32. 123
    Up 39
    Down 120

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Neymar

    1992 More
    35
  33. 122
    Up 5
    Down 3
    1973 More
    35
  34. 121
    Up 23
    Down 21
    1896 More
    35
  35. 120
    Up 6
    Down 3
    1949 More
    35
  36. 119
    Up 4
    Down 1
    1962 More
    35
  37. 118
    Up 6
    Down 3

    Pancho Villa

    35
  38. 117
    Up 23
    Down 19
    1965 More
    36
  39. 116
    Up 104
    Down 171

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rajon Rondo

    1986 More
    36
  40. 115
    Up 6
    Down 2
    1974 More
    36
  41. 114
    Up 5
    Down 1
    1940 More
    36
  42. 113
    Up 5
    Down 1

    Little Mac

    36
  43. 112
    Up 8
    Down 3
    1969 More
    36
  44. 111
    Up 9
    Down 4
    1922 More
    36
  45. 110
    Up 11
    Down 5
    1985 More
    37
  46. 109
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1986 More
    37
  47. 108
    Up 1
    Down 6
    1987 More
    37
  48. 107
    Up 109
    Down 198

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Derrick Rose

    1988 More
    37
  49. 106
    Up 8
    Down 2
    1954 More
    37
  50. 105
    Up 55
    Down 162

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jimmer Fredette

    1989 More
    37
  51. 155 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 50 of 154

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