Did you ever notice that ‘best athletes of all time’ lists are typically dominated by men? Well, not here. Throughout the history of sport, many women have excelled and dominated as much as anyone in history. Here are 10 female athletes whose careers made them sports immortals.
- Well regarded as one of the greatest soccer legends of all time, Hamm played on the U.S. women’s national soccer team for 17 years and competed in 275 matches.
- She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion.
- Before turning professional, Hamm was a member of The University of North Carolina women’s soccer team and led the Tar Heels to four NCAA championships from 1989 to 1994.
- An icon in women’s tennis and a phenomenal tennis player with speed, talent and determination.
- Navratilova is a 9-time champion in women’s singles at Wimbledon.
- In addition, she won 59 Grand Slam titles throughout her career, 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, 31 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 18 Grand Slam singles titles.
- Navratilova was ranked No.1 for 332 consecutive weeks after winning a Grand Slam title on July 10, 1978 at Wimbledon.
- She was widely considered as one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time.
- Joyner-Kersee competed in four Olympic Games and is a six-time Olympic medalist, winning three gold, one silver and one bronze.
- She was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the long jump.
- In 1999, Sports Illustrated named Joyner-Kersee the greatest female athlete of the 20th century.
- An American swimmer who made giant waves in the water. Her first one came in 1978, winning five gold medals and one silver medal in the World Championships.
- In total, Caulkins’ won 48 national championships.
- She competed in both the 1980 and 1984 Olympic games and became a three-time Olympic gold medalist.
- Caulkins’ announced her retirement from swimming at the conclusion of the 1984 Olympic games. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1990.
Billie Jean King
- One of the greatest tennis players, icons, and female advocates of all time.
- BJK won 39 Grand Slam titles and became the first woman in the history of sports to win $100,000 in a year.
- Dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes,” BJK defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets,, a top player in the 1930s, and was watched by over 90 million people on television.
- She founded the Women’s Sports Magazine and Women’s Sports Foundation, avidly fighting to close the gender pay gap.
- One of the most famous tennis players and biggest sports stars in the world.
- Williams has won a record 23 Grand Slam singles, the most by any man or woman in the Open Era.
- The WTA ranked her world No. 1 in singles eight times between 2002 and 2017. The sixth time she was ranked No.1, she held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks, tying the record set by Steffi Graf.
- Williams is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist.
- A phenomenal American speed skater who competed in four Olympic games.
- Throughout her Olympic career, she won five gold medals and one bronze medal.
- Blair is the only woman that won an Olympic speed skating event at three consecutive Olympic games with victories in both the 500 and the 1,000 meter (1988, 1992, 1996).
- In addition, she won four World Championships, in 1986, 1989, 1994 and 1995.
- One of the best female golfers in history. Over her career, she won 10 majors and had 72 LPGA victories.
- She won eight Player of the Year awards and six Vare Trophies, an award given to the LPGA golfer with the lowest seasonal scoring average.
- On March 16, 2001, Sorenstam was the first in women’s golf to shoot 13-under (59) during the second round of the Standard Register Ping.
- She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
- One of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time.
- Miller played at the University of Southern California and was a four-time All American, leading her team to two NCAA titles.
- USC retired her jersey, the first basketball jersey retired by the school.
- Miller was member of Team USA and won three gold medals (1983 Pan American Games, 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, 1986 Goodwill Games).
- After retiring, Miller became the head coach and general manager of the WNBA’s, Phoenix Mercury.
- A tennis legend and ultimate winner – eighteen Grand Slam titles, three doubles titles, and the first tennis player, male or female, to win 1,000 single matches.
- Evert reached 34 Grand Slam singles finals, more than any other player in the history of professional tennis.
- She also won at least one Grand Slam event for 13 consecutive years (1974-1986) and a total of 157 tournament titles.
- Evert was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.