basketball The Best Athletes of 2012  

Originally by
3.8k votes 373 voters 11.0k views 156 items Embed

List Rules 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 ordered by

1
886 421
Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Usain Bolt Sherwood Content, Jamaica

The Best Trick Shot Videos The Best Songs About Being Wild

2
786 399
Michael Phelps is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Michael Phelps Towson, Baltimore, Maryland

3
278 98
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Peyton Manning New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

4
1,121 614
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
LeBron James Akron, Ohio, United States of America

5
860 444
Gabby Douglas is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Gabby Douglas Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States of America

6
711 296
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Adrian Peterson Palestine, Texas, United States of America

7
599 373
Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Kevin Durant Washington, D.C., United States of America

8
465 290
Missy Franklin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Missy Franklin Pasadena, California, United States of America

9
433 305
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Lionel Messi Rosario, Argentina

10
438 271
Calvin Johnson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Calvin Johnson Newnan, Georgia, United States of America

11
418 349
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

12
345 243
Miguel Cabrera is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Miguel Cabrera Maracay, Venezuela

13
335 294
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Aaron Rodgers Chico, California, United States of America

14
63 11
Henry Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Henry Armstrong Columbus, Mississippi, United States of America

15
224 194
Manti Te'o is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Manti Te'o Laie, Hawaii, United States of America

Famous People Named Justin Celebrity Lakers Fans

16
387 357
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Serena Williams Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

17
53 6
Humberto González is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012

18
61 9
Aaron Pryor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Aaron Pryor Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

19
94 26
RGIII is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
RGIII

20
39 16
Wayne Rooney is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Wayne Rooney Croxteth, United Kingdom

21
36 12
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Hope Solo Tri-Cities, Richland, Washington

22
19 2
Anna Chicherova is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Anna Chicherova Yerevan, Armenia

23
19 2
Yuliya Zaripova is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Yuliya Zaripova

24
53 10
Jake LaMotta is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Jake LaMotta New York City, New York, USA

25
17 4
Sebastian Vettel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Sebastian Vettel Heppenheim, Germany

26
26 12
Tom Boonen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Tom Boonen Mol, Belgium, Belgium

27
40 6
Azumah Nelson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Azumah Nelson Accra, Ghana

28
200 237
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Roger Federer Basel, Switzerland

29
52 12
Joe Brown is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Joe Brown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America

The Best Hard Lemonades Good Movies for 12 Year Olds

30
156 171
Mike Trout is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Mike Trout Vineland, New Jersey, United States of America

31
17 4
Sally McLellan is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Sally McLellan Paddington, Sydney, Australia

32
16 3
Marianne Vos is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Marianne Vos 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

33
16 4
Rūta Meilutytė is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Rūta Meilutytė Kaunas, Lithuania

34
124 120
Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Maria Sharapova Nyagan, Russia

35
15 3
Rosannagh MacLennan is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Rosannagh MacLennan King City, King, Canada

36
15 3
Sebastian Brendel is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Sebastian Brendel Schwedt, Germany

37
257 320
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Kobe Bryant Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

38
18 3
Natalya Antyukh is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Natalya Antyukh Saint Petersburg, Russia

39
209 222
Buster Posey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Buster Posey Leesburg, Georgia, United States of America

40
195 207
Justin Verlander is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Justin Verlander Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, United States of America

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

42
14 2
Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Katie Ledecky Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America

43
14 2
Zara Phillips is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Zara Phillips Paddington, London, United Kingdom

Rank the 2012 Olympics USA Basketball Team Roster The Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines

44
177 220
Bryce Harper is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Bryce Harper Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America

45
100 76
Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Rory McIlroy Holywood, Bangor, United Kingdom

46
209 256
Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Drew Brees Austin, Texas, United States of America

47
138 178
Eli Manning is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Eli Manning New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

48
178 229
Carmelita Jeter is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Carmelita Jeter Los Angeles, California, United States of America

49
11 2
Alexander Vinokourov is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Boqueman added Alexander Vinokourov Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia

50
201 241
Anderson Silva is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Athletes of 2012
Anderson Silva São Paulo, Brazil