That time is upon us again, folks, that time every four years when the world comes together and battles it out to be crowned the best of the best. If you have been living under a rock the last few weeks, I am, of course, talking about the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (an unfortunate location for the athletes, or so I hear).
These games are huge- more than 11,000 athletes from 207 National Olympic Committees will go head to head in 28 different sports for the 306 medals available to win. But let's be honest; a gold medal is the best kind of medal, and it is what every athlete, whether an individual or part of a team, dreams of winning and has likely dreamed of winning for years. Many, if not most, have dedicated their whole lives to their sport.
Many of these athletes just happen to be gorgeous women, naturally. And it follows that, since they play sports, they are not only gorgeous but physically fit as well. Some are just plain hot, and ridiculously so some of the time. In fact, I am willing to bet that is one big reason some people are so fascinated by these games, in the first place. I mean, who doesn't like to watch attractive people on TV, right?
But there are only a certain number of people who literally have it all- the looks and the gold. The following 15 women from around the globe are women who are very sexy, very talented in their given sport, and very successful, having won at least one Olympic gold medal in their lives. Read on to find out just who these amazing women are!
14 Nastia Liukin, U.S.A.
Though she was born in Moscow, Russia, Russian-American gymnast Anastasia Valeryevna “Nastia” Liukin competed on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. She represented America at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, and also at three World Championships, and though she attempted to return to the team for the 2012 Games, she failed to do so and retired from her sport. But before that, she won the gold medal for the all-around competition, after performing four nearly perfect routines, marking the third time in history that an American woman had won the Olympic All-Around title (previously, Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson had). Now, Nastia is engaged to Matt Lombardi, a former Boston College hockey player. The 26-year-old has her own line of gymnastics equipment, dabbles in the fashion industry, has appeared in commercials and shows like Dancing with the Stars, and provides major aid for victims of natural disasters.
13 Anna Veith, Austria
Anna Veith is an alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from Salzburg, Austria. At the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, she won her first gold medal for the Super-G (a racing discipline of alpine skiing). She also won a silver medal at that time, for the Giant Slalom, another alpine skiing discipline. Her other triumphs include the World Cup, World Championships, and Junior World Championships. The 27-year-old certified hotel and hospitality manager also likes tennis, golf, biking, and riding Harleys, and she is an ambassador for the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Her love of the graceful animal stems from the same place as her love of skiing. She says, “My parents more or less gave me the speed gene while I was a baby. I was only two and a half years old when I stood in skis for the first time. Since that time, everything pertaining to speed has always fascinated me, especially cheetahs, the world’s fastest land animals.” Makes sense to me!
12 Valentina Vezzali, Italy
Italian fencer and politician Valentina Vezzali has won six Olympic gold medals. She also won six gold medals in the World Fencing Championships and eight in team competitions, plus a plethora of silver and bronze medals, as well. In 2013, she became a member of the Italian Parliament as part of the Scelta Civica party. But as far as the Olympic Games go, Valentina has won the coveted gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta, 2000 in Sydney, 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing, and 2012 in London. That is quite impressive- five consecutive Summer Games! She won for both Individual and Team Foils (a “foil” is one of three weapons used in the art of fencing, all of which are metal). The married mother of two likely appears indistinguishable from every other fencer while in her fencing gear, which includes full body protection and a headpiece reminiscent of a beekeeper’s mask, but as you can see, in real life she is stunning.
11 Natalie Coughlin, U.S.A.
Swimmer Natalie Coughlin is a 12-time Olympic medalist, and the first woman ever to complete the 100-meter backstroke (long course) in under one minute, and she did it just 10 days before her 20th birthday! She has won a total of 60 medals in international competitions (25 gold, 22 silver, and 13 bronze). These competitions include the World, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Pan American Games, as well as, of course, the competition to end all competitions, the Olympics. Her gold medals were for the Athens, Beijing, and London Summer Games. In Beijing she became the first female to ever win six medals in one Olympics. Since her Olympic days, Natalie has appeared in reality television shows, such as Dancing with the Stars, Iron Chef America, and Chopped, and in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Clearly, she has the face (and the body) for the camera! Perhaps appropriately, she is married to a swim coach.
10 Ellen Hoog, The Netherlands
Ellen Hoog is a Dutch field hockey player and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the sport. Playing the position of Midfield, Ellen won with her team in 2008 and 2012 in Beijing and London, respectively. Her team also has gold medals in the World Cup, the European Championship, and the Champions Trophy, as well as several silver and bronze medals at each respective competition. That amazing team, by the way, is called the Netherlands Women’s National Field Hockey Team. She has played field hockey all over the world, but in 2005 her father passed away and Ellen struggled with having motivation to continue her normal life with sports. But she did find a way and ultimately started playing again when the new season started up in October of that year. At 30-years-old, the Dutch beauty will be back to play in Rio de Janeiro this year, so we will stay tuned to see if her gold streak will continue!
9 Tobin Heath, U.S.A.
American soccer player Tobin Heath is also a two-time gold champion in the Olympics. The United States Soccer Federation has called the 28-year-old “perhaps America’s most skillful player.” That is quite the compliment! Even in high school, the midfielder was ranked number two in the entire nation for the class of 2006. She was a reserve midfielder in the 2008 Games in Beijing, and in 2012 in London she played in all six matches, starting and playing the entire match in four of them. These were the years her team won the gold. Tobin also enjoys many sports besides just soccer, like tennis and surfing, and interestingly, she and her teammates were featured in the EA Sports FIFA video game series in FIFA 16, which was the first time ever that women were included in the game. She is one of only two women in the game with five-star skills (the other is Marta of Brazil). Currently, Tobin plays soccer professionally for the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.
8 Hope Solo, U.S.A.
Yet another Olympic gold medalist two times around is soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo. Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, she is very talented athletically (and it shows!). Her current team is Seattle Reign, but she has been a part of several other teams around the country too, in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. However, she is originally from Washington state. Her Olympic team won gold in both Beijing and London, but it was after their first triumph that things got a little iffy for Hope. She said in an article for ESPN The Magazine that, "When we were done partying, we got out of our dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m. with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk." Then leading up to the 2012 Summer Games, she received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency due to a urine test showing the presence of a banned substance that Hope later said she did not know was banned. But it all worked out in the end, and she has been on the covers of Fitness, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, TV Guide, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, and even Vogue.
7 Federica Pellegrini, Italy
Our second Italian on this list is Federica Pellegrini of Mirano, a province of Venice, Italy. She is a swimmer who won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (she also competed in the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2012, but did not win a gold). She is the first female Olympic champion in the history of Italian swimming, which is impressive all on its own, but she is also the only Italian swimmer to have set world records in more than one event. She is currently in Rio de Janeiro swimming in this year’s Olympics, so perhaps she will win another gold, since this will be her fourth consecutive Olympic Summer Games. Nicknamed the Lioness of Verona, the woman who just turned 28 in early August is passionate about more than just her freestyle: she also loves fashion and music, is heavily involved in charity work, and has tattoos all over her body. Sounds like this swimmer is well-rounded and beautiful.
7. Stephanie Rice, Australia
Stephanie Louise Rice is an Australian competitive swimmer who is 28-years-old as of June, and already retired- must be nice! She took home three gold medals from Beijing in 2008, and like all of the others on this list, she also has numerous silver and bronze medals, and many from other major international competitions besides the Olympics, as well. But those three wins in Beijing are even more impressive because each of them (the 200 and 400-meter individual and 4x200 meter freestyle relay) were each in world record time! Stephanie is from Brisbane, Queensland, and she actually won Season 3 of The Celebrity Apprentice Australia. However, this “celebrity” got some heat in 2010 when she made a homophobic comment on Twitter regarding Australia’s defeat to South Africa in a Rugby Union match. Her tweet read, “Suck on that, fa***ts!” She later removed the tweet and apologized for it.
6 Amanda Beard, U.S.A.
This seven-time Olympic medalist (two gold, four silver, and one bronze) is American swimmer Amanda Beard, who debuted her talents at the age of 14 in the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. Since then, she has participated in every Olympic Summer Games, with the exception of London in 2012, which she did not qualify for. She won her gold medals in her first two Olympic Games, for the 400-meter relay and the 200-meter breaststroke, respectively. But besides being a successful athlete, Amanda is also quite the model, and has posed for FHM, Sports Illustrated (swimsuit edition), and Playboy (she did this one nude!). The mother of two and wife to photographer Sacha Brown also posed nude (though covering her nipples) for a PETA campaign (she is an avid vegetarian and a spokesperson for Defenders of Wildlife). She was co-captain of the U.S. Olympic team at one point with her fellow swimmer (and list-mate!), Natalie Coughlin.
5 Tina Maze, Slovenia
Our second gold medal-winning alpine skier is Tina Maze from Slovenia, who has, like Anna Veith, also won twice. Her Olympic victories were at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. She is the most successful female skier in her country’s entire history, and she is tied with fellow Slovenian Iztok Cop as the most successful Olympian from Slovenia. This is because in addition to her two gold medals, she also has two more (two silvers from the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada), and that is aside from her 26- yes, 26!- World Cup race wins. Besides skiing, Tina is also known for being a “rock star” in her country, and in a few other countries, after recording a hit song during preparations for her 2013 ski season. She has always loved music, as she played the piano as a young girl. But ultimately her love of skiing would prevail in her life. Obviously, Tina is musically gifted, as well, and successful at both of her life passions, it would seem.
4 Allyson Felix, U.S.A.
Track and field superstar Allyson Felix won three gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Her first Olympic medal, though, was in 2008 in Beijing, when her team took the gold. She also competed in Athens in 2004, winning a silver medal for her 200-meter race. Her older brother Wes was a sprinter too, and now he acts as his sister’s agent. Perhaps taking lessons from both her sprinter brother and her minister father, Allyson attributes her running capabilities to God. She says, “For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it's all about using it to the best of my ability." Allyson has traveled all over the world competing in various international competitions, most notably to Finland, Japan, Germany, Korea, Qatar, the Bahamas, Hungary, Chile, and of course, all the amazing places the Olympics took her.
3 Fatima Moreira de Melo, The Netherlands
Fatima Moreira de Melo (wow, that's a tongue-twister!) of Rotterdam, Holland is an Olympic field hockey player of Portuguese descent. She won her Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing with the Dutch National Team when they beat China, 2-0. But long before field hockey was in the cards for Fatima, she was a law student (she got her Master’s degree in Law in 2006), singer, and television presenter both locally and nationally. She is also a pro poker player! It seems as if this girl does it all. She even had stints as a sportscaster and appeared in a reality television show, too. Clearly not one to be camera shy, Fatima is also a model- obviously. The photo above is only one of many that saw the Olympian posing suggestively… with a snake. It was for a spread in a Dutch magazine, and snake or no snake, she rocked it. The camera adores Fatima!
2 Kristi Yamaguchi, U.S.A.
Two-time world champion figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi is also the champion of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. There, she took home the gold for the Ladies Singles figure skating competition. She skated professionally after this big win, and also toured with Stars on Ice for several years. In 2005, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she was the celebrity champion on Dancing with the Stars. Interestingly, all of this fame and success is due to her having club feet as a child, which was the whole reason she began ballet and ice-skating lessons in the first place. She has been married since 2000 to former professional hockey player Bret Hedican, whom she met at the 1992 Winter Olympics where he was also competing. Together, they have two daughters now. She is also an author, philanthropist, and the founder of the Always Dream Foundation.
1 Shawn Johnson, U.S.A.
At only 16-years-old, American gymnast Shawn Johnson won the gold medal (four times!) at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Though she trained for the 2012 Olympics as well, she was forced to retire in June of that year, just months prior to the competition, because of complications from recurring knee injuries. It is sad, but having been practicing gymnastics since the age of three, at least Shawn made it to the top, even if it was her only time in the Olympics. And she really did do amazing- four gold medals! She also won three silver medals for various other competitions at the Summer Games that year. And Shawn was not only the winner at the Olympics, but she also was the winner of one more famous competition: Dancing with the Stars. In 2009, she was the winning celebrity contestant, partnered with professional contestant Mark Ballas. At that time, she was just 17!