Sports

The Best Female Athletes of All Time

List Rules
Vote up the best professional women athletes in history.

The greatest female athletes of all time: a list of the most dominant, iconic female athletes to ever play or compete in their respective sports. This list gathers female sports stars from across every professional league, association, and organization as well as amateur female athletes who may have never competed professionally in one overall list. Though it may be challenging to compare performance in a variety of different competitive arenas requiring different skill sets, this list nevertheless attempts to distinguish the top female athletes of all time. The most successful female athletes ever. The female sports stars that rise to the top can be considered to be not only some of the best female athletes of all time, but some of the best athletes, no qualifier, ever. Period.

Aspects to consider in picking a female best athlete of all time would include, obviously, that player's raw talent and born ability. Some individuals seem to be prodigally gifted in their sport of choice, and it's hard to discount the importance of this kind of natural talent. However, it's also important to evaluate hard work, discipline and a commitment to the game. Some women in sports may not have the natural, genetic ability to dunk a basketball or hit a home run, but nonetheless have trained to the point of reaching these goals all the same. (They may not be the greatest female athlete of all time at all women's sports, but they have mastered their activity).

So, who are the top female athletes of all time? From Venus Williams to Mia Hamm to Jackie Joyner-Kersee to Ronda Rousey, and beyond! Be sure to vote up your favorites, then head over and check out the highest-paid women in sports.

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Ranked by
  • Mikaela Shiffrin
    1
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Vail, Colorado
    • Profession: Alpine skier
  • Serena Williams
    2
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan
    • Profession: Tennis player
  • Chris Evert
    3
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    • Profession: Tennis player
  • Lindsey Vonn
    4
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota
    • Profession: Alpine skier
  • Steffi Graf
    5
    • Birthplace: Mannheim, Germany
    • Profession: Tennis player
  • Krisztina Egerszegi
    6
    • Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
    • Profession: Swimmer
  • Fanny Blankers-Koen
    7
    • Birthplace: Baarn, Kingdom of the Netherlands
    • Profession: Sprinter
  • Jenny Thompson
    8
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Danvers, Massachusetts
    • Profession: Swimmer
  • Dana Vollmer
    9
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Syracuse, New York
    • Profession: Swimmer
  • Sonja Henie
    10
    • Birthplace: Oslo, Norway
    • Profession: Figure Skater
  • Holly Holm
    11
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico
    • Profession: Mixed Martial Artist
  • Yelena Isinbayeva
    12
    • Birthplace: Volgograd, Russia
    • Profession: Pole Vaulter
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee
    13
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: East St. Louis, Illinois
    • Profession: Sprinter
  • Florence Griffith Joyner
    14
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
    • Profession: Sprinter
  • Maria Sharapova
    15
    • Birthplace: Nyagan, Russia
    • Profession: Tennis player
  • Marit Bjørgen
    16
    • Birthplace: Trondheim, Norway
    • Profession: Cross-country skier
  • Nadia Comăneci
    17
    United States of America, Romania
    • Birthplace: Onești, Romania
    • Profession: Gymnast
  • Betty Cuthbert
    18
    • Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
    • Profession: Sprinter
  • Michelle Kwan
    19
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Torrance, California
    • Profession: Figure Skater
  • Annika Sörenstam
    20
    • Birthplace: Bro, Sweden
    • Profession: Golfer
  • Nastia Liukin
    21
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
    • Profession: Gymnast
  • Hayley Wickenheiser
    22
    • Birthplace: Shaunavon, Canada
    • Profession: Ice Hockey Player
  • Kerri Walsh Jennings
    23
    United States of America
    • Birthplace: Santa Clara, California
    • Profession: Beach Volleyball Player
  • Caroline Wozniacki
    24
    • Birthplace: Odense, Denmark
    • Profession: Tennis player
  • Larisa Latynina
    25
    • Birthplace: Kherson, Ukraine
    • Profession: Gymnast