First thing’s first. For those of you who are going to try to argue that most of these women haven’t actually physically beaten all of the male athletes in their sport, you aren’t wrong. But these women all have one thing in common: their reputation, winning records, and status in their leagues make them the best known names in their sport among both men and women. But even more than that, they’ve all managed to stand out in athletics while also being so much more than just their profession. So deal with it. Besides, all of these women are beasts so I wouldn’t challenge their skills. Trust me.
Now that we’ve covered that, welcome to the list of the most dominant women in sports. From the racetrack to the Olympics, they manage to win all of the awards and intimidate anyone in their way. This list includes the veteran winners, such as Serena Williams, the heroes on the women’s national soccer team, and even young names making big waves, such as Gabby Douglas. The list also had to include one or two people who are now recently retired, but worthy of recognition in their sport to this day because they are that influential. You’ll know them when you see them. If you don’t know their names, then you’ve been living under a rock but just in case, time to familiarize yourself with the most badass women to rock athletics. Keep an eye on them!
10. Gabby Douglas
It was the Summer of 2012 when Gabby Douglas burst into everyone’s lives, along with her Olympic Gymnastics Team, as they took the Olympics by storm. Gabby made an even bigger splash than others on her team by being one of the younger members at the Olympics, but more importantly for being the first American gymnast to win gold as an individual competitor, as well as with her team in the same Olympic games. In fact, her road to getting these gold medals proved her desire to win. This is evident by the fact that Gabby Douglas left home at age 14 to train for the Olympics, opting to live with a host family while she trained in Des Moines, IA. If that doesn’t say committed to your sport, I’m not sure what does. I mean, Iowa? That’s determination, my friends. She has actually recently gotten back into the spotlight by winning tournaments on her way to the 2016 Olympics. We all know that she will make us proud to have her on our team, so be ready to cheer her on!
9. Michelle Wie
This Hawaiian-born golf superstar made her debut as a professional golfer at the age of 16. Keeping in mind that at the age of 16, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to pass my driver’s test, so the fact that Michelle Wie had already started her professional career is just a little impressive. She has been turning heads ever since she obtained professional status but when she was finally age-eligible to participate in LPGA tours, her fame started to rise. She is still actively competing (and winning) in tournaments but just to add to how amazing she is, she doesn’t let golf get in the way of her education. Studying communications at Stanford as she competes…because that’s casual. A great mix of intelligence and athletic ability, Michelle Wie will be a name you’ll hear many times over the next few years. So get used to it!
8. Danica Patrick
Sports Illustrated helped Danica Patrick become a household name. With two covers within the same year, the famous race car driver became hard to forget. And who would want to forget her? 2008 was a great year for this athlete but 2009 proved to be better when she finished 3rd in the Indy 500, the first woman to ever do so. From there, she just continued to break record after record. Her famous face has graced many more covers over the years to follow, as well as becoming a regular choice for commercials. You may recall some GoDaddy commercials that have graced your TV with their existence. The sky is truly the limit for this amazing athlete, and I’m excited to follow her trajectory.
7. Lindsey Vonn
Her name started circulating around 2010 when Lindsey Vonn was in the middle of a winning streak as she took the record for the most World Cup victories by a US skier. Her wins didn’t come without injuries but she prevailed. She continued to train as her fame grew stronger, allowing her the opportunity to guest star on various TV shows, as well. More injuries followed over the next few years but Lindsey Vonn continues to dominate the skiing tournaments. Her success has brought her numerous opportunities to get her name out to the public. In fact, very recently Sports Illustrated has displayed a photo shoot including many of the ladies on this list, Lindsey Vonn included, as they pose in a body-paint bikini. Not exactly what she wears on the slopes but this issue of SI brings some much-needed attention to some amazing female athletes. Check it out! Side note: I have to give her credit for looking great in her winter gear on a regular basis, that’s not easy, and I speak from experience! But in all seriousness, good for her, keep up the hard work and more wins will surely follow!
6. Caroline Wozniacki
Another amazing athlete on my list who happens to also grace the body paint issue of SI is Caroline Wozniacki. Known for her amazing tennis abilities, Caroline Wozniacki hails from Denmark originally. I’d like to point out that she is only 2 years older than me…and only slightly more successful. She did hold the number 1 position in women’s tennis worldwide for two years in a row, so it’s an added bonus that she’s just also one of those people who are fun to watch win.
5. Hope Solo
Remember back to High School when you did everything possible to avoid being the goalie in gym class? Well, Hope Solo decided that this dreaded position on the team was her golden ticket. While she stood out as a forward on her high school soccer team, she made the decision to switch to goalie. This couldn’t have worked out better. World Cup Champion Hope Solo may be the most famous goalie of all time. You may recognize her from a stint on “Dancing with the Stars”, but I’m going to guess that the reason you know her name is due to her position on the 2015 U.S. Women’s National Team where she helped her team secure a gold medal. USA! USA! USA!
4. Alex Morgan
Scoring a spot right above her teammate, Alex Morgan is a name that I’m going to guess 90% of Americans above the age of 10 years old can recognize. Scoring goals with just minutes left on the game clock, it’s no wonder people believe that the USWNT is a force to be reckoned with, and Alex Morgan leads that force. In her free time (you know, in between winning at everything) Alex Morgan actually published novels that mix her love for soccer with facing the hardships of growing up in order to inspire young women around the country. What more can you ask for in a talented young athlete?
3. Abby Wambach
Yes, I am aware that she is retired. However, she still dominated her last season of playing soccer so she deserves some high praise. Abby Wambach famously said, “If given a really great chance, I’m going to put it away every single time.” Well she did just that throughout her last few years on the USWNT so thank you for getting us to this point, Abby Wambach, because without your goal scoring abilities our team may not have been nearly as successful. She seemed to inspire those around her, and now it’s their turn to show what they can do with a great opportunity.
2. Serena Williams
While she is number 2 on this list, she is number 1 in the sport of women’s professional tennis at this moment. That isn’t a title that she earned easily. After she moved to West Palm Beach, FL at a young age (shout out to West Palm Beach, the location where I’ve spent 6 or 7 vacations visiting my grandparents!) she showed excellent power and skill, which her father (acting as her coach) helped manifest into her great talent as a professional tennis player. Growing up playing against her sister Venus, both Williams sisters have made their impact on the sport. Outside of tennis, Serena Williams continues to be a household name in the industries of fashion and philanthropy. Starting her own foundation, Serena Williams does her part to bring equal opportunities to those less fortunate. Now that is truly something to admire!
1. Ronda Rousey
Well, I’m sure you guys were expecting this but our top spot goes to Ronda Rousey. This is because she essentially ruled the entire year of 2015. You couldn’t watch a movie, a talk show, or a sporting event without her name and face appearing. While she spent some time promoting herself in film and media (I personally enjoyed her role in the Entourage movie), she only received these opportunities because of her raw talent and winning record in MMA fighting. Sure, she did eventually lose a fight, but she did a hell of a job getting there. Of her amazing winning streak, she also finished every single victory in the first round. Everyone loses at some point, but her determination and talent will prevail so don’t think she’s going away any time soon.