Sports

The Most Influential Athletes Right Now  

Ranker Sports
11.6k votes 693 voters 1.9k views 71 items

List Rules Vote up the current athletes who continue to push the boundaries of their sport each time they play.

Whether they're top stars of their sport or they're changing the way the game's played, these are the most influential current athletes. Keep in mind, simply being the best isn't the only thing that constitutes an influential athlete. While these stars are certainly at the top of their class, they're also recognized for the contributions they make to the world of sports, among many other factors and achievements. All things considered, who do you think are the most influential athletes right now? Could they go down as the most influential athletes of all time?

When it comes to iconic athletes, no player may be making headlines and dominating their sport more than Lebron James. He breaks a record almost any time he steps on the court, making him one of the best current NBA players, as well as of all time. Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and the MLB's Mike Trout are really no different. These star athletes continually prove themselves to be the best out right now—and they continue to contribute to their sport. Of course, there are plenty more names to consider in determining the most influential athletes actively competing. 

Check out the list of notable athletes below and vote up the sports stars you think are influencing generations and players to come. Also feel free to add others that may be missing from the list.

list ordered by
1
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 34
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, GOIH, known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid C.F. and the Portugal national team. He is a ...more
2
Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 28
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player, who as of October 6, 2014 is ranked world No. 2 by the Women's Tennis Association. A United States resident since 1994, ...more
3
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 37
Tennis player Roger Federer (born August 8, 1981) is a Swiss tennis professional, currently ranked World No. 1. Many experts and many of his own tennis peers believe that Federer may be the ...more
4
Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 31
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players ...more
5
Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Spector404 added age 23
Mikaela Pauline Shiffrin is an American World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team, specializing in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. She is the reigning Olympic, World ...more
6
Rafael Nadal is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 32
Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked world No. 5. He is widely regarded as one of the finest clay court players in history and has been ...more
7
Sebastian Vettel is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Tattoo added age 31
Sebastian Vettel is a German Formula One racing driver, currently driving for Scuderia Ferrari. He is contracted to remain in that role until at least the end of 2017. He is a four-time Formula ...more
8
Kevin Mayer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Daedalos added Kevin Mayer
9
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Tattoo added age 32
Manuel Peter Neuer is a German footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Bayern Munich and the German national team. He has been described as a "sweeper-keeper" because of his unique ...more
10
Ilya Zakharov is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Daedalos added Ilya Zakharov
11
Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 32
Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, CD, is a Jamaican sprinter. Widely regarded as the fastest person ever, he is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic ...more
12
Charlotte Kalla is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added Charlotte Kalla 32
13
Max Heß is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Daedalos added Max Heß
14
Annie Thorisdottir is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added Annie Thorisdottir
15
Karsten Warholm is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Daedalos added Karsten Warholm
16
Dafne Schippers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added age 26
Dafne Schippers is a Dutch athlete competing in heptathlon and the sprints.
17
Katinka Hosszú is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added age 29
Katinka Hosszú is a female Hungarian swimmer, who has competed three times at the Summer Olympics: 2004, 2008, and 2012. She currently swims for the Vasas SC, Hungary, under head coach
18
Johannes Vetter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Daedalos added Johannes Vetter
19
Gesa Felicitas Krause is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added age 26
Gesa Felicitas Krause is a German athlete who specialises in the 3000 m steeplechase. In the 2013 European Athletics U23 Championships, she won in a new championship record time of 9:38,91 min. ...more
20
Lewis Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Tattoo added age 34
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton, MBE is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the Mercedes AMG team. He is the 2008 and 2014 Formula One World Champion. Hamilton ...more
21
Laura Dahlmeier is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added age 25
Laura Dahlmeier is a German biathlete. Dahlmeier started in her first world cup races in the 2012/13-season. In 2014 she participated in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. She was officially ...more
22
Brooke Henderson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added Brooke Henderson age 21
Brooke Henderson is a golfer.
23
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added age 32
Ronda Jean Rousey is an American mixed martial artist, judoka and actress. She is the first and current UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, as well as the last Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight ...more
24
Annemiek van Vleuten is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Hormony added Annemiek van Vleuten
25
Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30
Virat Kohli is an Indian cricketer. A right-handed middle-order batsman, he is the captain of the Indian Test team. He captained the victorious Indian team at the 2008 U/19 Cricket World Cup ...more