30. Allyson Felix, Track and Field
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One of the fastest sprinters on Earth, Felix continues to blaze through the competition well into her 30s. The six-time Olympic Gold Medalist has dominated the past three Games, excelling in the 200m, the 4x100m relay, and the 4x400m relay. Felix and the U.S. relay team won the 4x400m gold medal at Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, and Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
Despite enduring several injuries over the last few years, Felix has been a consistent performer throughout the entirety of her career. Felix has at least one first-place finish in 11 of the last 12 international events she has participated in. In total, Felix has 24 gold medals to date.
29. Marta, Soccer
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Wearing No. 10 on the pitch is a prestigious honor, and few deserve it more than Brazil’s Marta. Nicknamed “Pele in skirts” by Pele himself, Marta has been the glue that has kept the Brazilian Women’s National team together for the last decade. Her international career began with a bang, helping guide Brazil to a win over the United States U-20 team in the 2007 Pan American Games.
Marta made her FIFA World Cup debut later that year, winning the “Golden Ball” award as Brazil fell to Germany in the final. In 154 total caps, Marta has scored an astonishing 108 times. With six FIFA World Player of the Year trophies to her name, Marta is considered one of the best women’s players of all-time.
28. Jin-Young Ko, Golf
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The South Korean phenom began her professional career at 18, and it didn’t take long for the golf world to take notice of her immense talent. Ko is already setting records in her young career. She shot a tournament record at the Canadian Women’s Open in Aurora, Ontario (-26) back in 2019, and won the tournament by five strokes.
Ko also holds the tour-record of going bogey-free for 114 consecutive holes. The 25-year-old already has 17 pro wins to her name. Rolex Rankings No. 1 rated women’s golfer in the world (two years running), we could see Ko dominate the sport for the next decade.
27. Saina Nehwal, Badminton
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Nehwal has helped bring badminton back to prominence in her home country of India. A former world No. 1 ranked player, Nehwal has been a top-5 player in her sport for the better part of a decade. Nehwal is the only Indian player to have ever won at least one medal at each of the individual Badminton World Federation events — the Olympics, World Championships, and Junior World Championships.
She’s considered one of the most accomplished athletes in all of India. Her home country bestowed the Padma Bhushan — the third-highest civilian award in India — upon her. The 29-year-old is also a renowned philanthropist, and is noted as one of the most charitable athletes in the world.
26. Simona Halep, Tennis
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The Romanian-born Halep has enjoyed one of the best sustained runs the sport of tennis has seen. For 64-straight weeks, Halep owned the No. 1 world ranking spot in women’s tennis. She has never finished a year ranked lower than No. 4 since 2013, and also holds the record for the most consecutive time spent in the top-10.
Halep’s continued brilliance has been remarkable. From the start of her career to now, Halep has a been a player who almost always performs well in the biggest tournaments. Halep has 18 career WTA tour singles wins, and 15 runner-up finishes. She’s competent on every type of court, and has shown no signs of slowing down even after being one of the world’s best for 13 years.
25. Diana Taurasi, Basketball
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It doesn’t get much better than Taurasi when it comes to women’s basketball. From her time at the University of Connecticut to now, Taurasi has been a star on and off the floor. She led the Lady Huskies to three National Championships wins from 2002-04, helping jumpstart a 20-year (and counting) run of dominance for the UConn women’s basketball team.
The longtime Phoenix Mercury point guard has accomplished everything there is for a basketball player to accomplish. She’s followed up her three NCAA titles with three WNBA Championships, nine All-Star selections, and four Olympic Gold Medals. The women’s basketball “G.O.A.T” conversation begins and ends with Taurasi.
24. Danielle Kang, Golf
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Look out golf world, Kang has arrived. The SoCal native, now living in Las Vegas, has flown up the world rankings over the past couple of years following her PGA Championship victory in 2017. According to Rolex Rankings, Kang is the No. 4 women’s player in the world and climbing rapidly.
Kang seemingly improves every time she’s on the course. In August of 2020, Kang won LPGA Drive On Championship in Ohio — the LPGA’s first event after returning from the COVID-19-induced six-month hiatus. Just a week later, Kang took home first-place at the Marathon Classic — making it five career LPGA victories for the 28-year-old.
23. Amanda Nunes, MMA
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After knocking out Cris Cyborg in under a minute during their bout in 2018, Nunes officially earned the title of “the most dangerous woman on the planet.” The Lioness already has one of the most impressive résumés of any female fighter — which includes the aforementioned finish of Cyborg and a 48-second dismantling of Ronda Rousey.
Nunes hasn’t lost a fight since 2014, and holds both the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship and Bantamweight Championship. She is the first and only fighter in UFC history to defend titles in two divisions while holding both championships simultaneously. She has completely wiped out the competition in two weight classes, and has both the skill and versatility to overwhelm any of the top contenders.
22. Breanna Stewart, Basketball
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Stewart is the most decorated college basketball player — male or female — in the history of the sport. During her time at UConn, the Lady Huskies went 151-5, winning four-straight National Championships. Stewart won the Most Outstanding Player award each year. She followed up her phenomenal collegiate career by winning the league MVP, WNBA Championship, and Finals MVP during her third year in the professional ranks.
Stewart unfortunately sustained an injury while playing overseas which kept her sidelined for the entirety of the 2019 season. In one of the most miraculous comeback stories of the year, Stewart returned in 2020 fully healthy and helped guide the Seattle Storm to a WNBA title this past season. The two-time WNBA Finals MVP is well on her way to being the best player in league history.
21. Paige VanZant, MMA
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Don’t let her bubbly personality fool you, VanZant is a fierce competitor with impressive athleticism. After all, you don’t earn the nickname “12 Gauge” for no reason. The Oregon native had her first professional fight at 18 years old, and has collected eight wins (five finishes) over her mixed-martial arts career.
VanZant craves competition, and she has found other ways outside of the UFC to channel her passion. She was a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and finished as the runner-up on season 22 of the show. The cage fighter also appeared on Foot Network’s Chopped, where she edged Mark Hamill in the dessert round to become the celebrity winner. Earlier in 2020, VanZant signed a multi-fight exclusive deal with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
20. Ashleigh Barty, Tennis
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The No. 1 ranked women’s tennis player in 2020, Barty has been a serene performer since making her debut a decade ago. Barty is the first Australian to hold the Women’s Tennis Association’s top spot since Evonne Goolagong Cawley was ranked No. 1 back in 1971. On the WTA Tour, Barty has won eight singles titles and ten doubles titles, with over $17 million career winnings to date.
Barty is an all-around supreme athlete. During a brief hiatus from tennis, Barty became a professional cricketeer for the Brisbane Heat despite never having any formal training in the sport. That’s the kind of talent we are dealing with here. Barty is a special athlete, and no doubt one of the top women in sports today.
19. Skylar Diggins-Smith, Basketball
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A four-time WNBA All-Star and former Indiana Miss Basketball, Diggins-Smith has been in the spotlight ever since her days at the University of Notre Dame. She led the Fighting Irish to three Final Fours during her career, and back-to-back NCAA title game appearances. She would later be drafted No. 3 overall in the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Tulsa Shock (who would later become the Dallas Wings).
Diggins-Smith is a natural leader who has found the perfect balance between scoring and playmaking. She has refined her game since joining the WNBA, most recently molding her skill-set around the WNBA’s all-time greatest point guard Diana Taurasi as a member of the Phoenix Mercury. Both her skills and her beauty have made her an icon within the sport of women’s basketball.
18. Katelyn Ohashi, Gymnastics
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There was a time where Katelyn Ohashi didn’t know if she was going to compete at a high level in gymnastics ever again. In 2013, Ohashi had shoulder surgery which kept her out of the remainder of the year. She battled back and eventually earned her way onto UCLA’s gymnastic team. In her freshman year, Ohashi took an awkward fall off the balance beam and landed on her neck. She was out four weeks, but she did not allow these series of unfortunate injuries to deter her from becoming one of the best.
Now, Ohahsi has spent the past two years dominating the headlines in the world of gymnastics. The 22-year-old began trending globally after she received a perfect score of 10 for her performance during the 2019 Collegiate Challenge. At the time, it was Ohashi’s fourth perfect score in the floor exercise event. She has since more than doubled that total after achieving five additional 10’s throughout the remainder of the 2019 season.
17. Julie Ertz, Soccer
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Star midfielder/defender Julie Ertz has been an integral piece for US Women’s National Team’s run of excellence. Her athleticism, toughness, and skill make her an indispensable piece within the team’s starting lineup. Ertz made her first international appearance for the team in 2013. She has since made 103 caps for the red, white, and blue and has scored 20 goals over her career.
On the club level, Ertz has played for the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL since 2014. She helped guide the Red Stars to the franchises first championship game appearance back in 2019. Ertz is married to Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, and is even more accomplished athletically than her professional football-playing husband.
16. Sabrina Ionescu, Basketball
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The most skilled women’s basketball player in the world just graduated college a little over a year ago. Ionescu was a marvel during her time as an Oregon Duck. The sweet-shooting guard is the NCAA’s all-time leader in triple doubles — men included — and helped lead the Ducks to a Final Four appearance in 2019. Ionescu and Oregon were prepared to battle for an NCAA title in 2020 before the season was shutdown due to the COVID pandemic.
With her collegiate career unceremoniously cut short, Ionescu entered the WNBA Draft where she was selected first overall by the New York Liberty. As a highly-anticipated prospect, Ionescu quickly became one of the most popular players in the league. Her season was ended due to an ankle injury, but she will assuredly be back in 2021 stronger than ever.
15. Becky Lynch, WWE
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Lynch is one of the greatest ‘rags to riches’ stories we have in sports today. The Irish-born Lynch came from nothing to become one of the hottest acts in professional wrestling in the world. Her charisma and likability has endeared her to the WWE fanbase, making her one of the top stars in a business which has historically been male-dominant. In April of 2019, Lynch (along with Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair) became the first woman to ever feature in the main event of WrestleMania.
Lynch is dating fellow WWE superstar Seth Rollins. The couple announced Lynch was pregnant in May of 2020, and she has been on a leave from WWE programming ever since. Once she eventually returns, the response from the WWE universe will be absolutely electric.
14. Cris Cyborg, MMA
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In the sport of cage fighting, speed kills — and Cyborg has some of the fastest hands in the history of women’s mixed-martial arts. The kickboxing specialist is lightning quick, and her mix of speed and power allowed her to quickly rise up the ranks within the sport.
The only apt-comparison within the fighting world for Cyborg would be Mike Tyson in his prime. After losing her first ever professional fight in 2005, Cyborg ripped off a 21-fight undefeated streak including 17 wins by knockout. Her technique is unmatched for her weight class, and she has made even the most accomplished of women’s fighters look completely foolish while in the ring with her.
13. Allison Stokke, Pole-Vaulting
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Stokke rose to fame after a picture of the beautiful pole vaulter went viral online. Although her popularity blossomed primarily due to her looks, Stokke was also a premier student-athlete at the prestigious University of California, Berkeley.
The 30-year-old has since retired from pole vaulting to pursue other career endeavors. Interestingly enough, Stokke began a modeling career and has done work for Nike, Uniqlo, and GoPro. In 2019, Stokke married professional golfer Rickie Fowler after two years of dating.
12. Naomi Osaka, Tennis
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The current No. 3 ranked women’s tennis player in the world, Osaka looks the part of somebody who could dominate the sport for the next decade. Osaka became a household name within the sport of tennis when she defeated her idol, Serena Williams, at the U.S. Open becoming the first Japanese Grand Slam singles champion. Osaka was just 20 years old at the time.
Osaka’s poise at such a young age was a perfect foreshadowing for the rest of her career. Now 23, Osaka backs down from no challenger and never seems to be completely out of a match. A premier crunch-time performer, Osaka isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
11. Danica Patrick, Racing
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Patrick recently called it quits from racing in 2018, but her impact on the sport will be felt forever. The 38-year-old has been making waves for nearly two decades, setting countless firsts for women within the sport of racing.
She is one of only 14 drivers to ever lead for any portion of both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. While her trophy case isn’t as extravagant as many of her peers within this list, she opened up the doors for women within every sport.
10. Hilary Knight, Hockey
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Knight has been the face of US’s Women’s hockey for quite some time now. The skilled forward began her career dominating for the Wisconsin Badgers, and has since made her way to the CWHL (Canadian’s Women Hockey League) playing for Montreal.
She began her international career playing for the US team at 17 years old, and has helped the squad medal in each of the last three Olympics — including a riveting gold medal finish over Canada during the 2018 games in Pyeongchang.
9. Aly Raisman, Gymnastics
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The second member of the Final Five (the nickname given to the 2016 US Women’s Gymnastics Team), Raisman has carved an impressive career for herself. The 24-year-old Raisman has won three Olympic gold medals, and has also found success as a model — most notably appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in both 2017 and 2018.
Raisman retired from gymnastics earlier in 2020, though she remains a prominent figure within the sport today. Her performances and accomplishments stack up with the greatest gymnasts in history. With six Olympic medals, she is the second most-decorated American Olympic gymnast behind only Shannon Miller.
8. Lindsey Vonn, Skiing
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Vonn is a true legend of her sport. She has been in the discussion as one of the best skiers in the world since her debut back in 2000. Vonn made her Olympic debut at 17 years old at the 2002 Winter Olympics, and has been a household name within the sport ever since. Vonn is currently one of just six women to ever win World Cup races in the major five disciplines — downhill, super, super-G, slalom, and giant slalom — and holds the record with 82 total World Cup race victories.
Vonn’s grittiness has been a trait that has been praised over the years. She famously persevered through ailments in the 2006 Olympics. Following a brutal crash which required a helicopter to lift her to the hospital, Vonn returned to the slopes just two days later and performed well despite numerous injuries. After missing nearly the entire 2013 and 2014 seasons due to injury, Vonn returned to near-elite form winning numerous medals during the second-half of her career.
7. Serena Williams, Tennis
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Williams is one of the most dominant athletes — male or female — of all-time. Her accolades within her sport are virtually unprecedented. Williams held the No. 1 world ranking spot for 186 consecutive weeks from 2013-16, holds the highest winning percentage (85.38 percent) ever, and collected more than double the prize winnings of the next closest player.
At her peak, Williams was virtually unstoppable. A powerful athlete with pristine conditioning, Williams had no peer in her sport. She has been a transcendent figure, and the story regarding her path to stardom will be told for ages. The lasting effect she’s left on young women cannot be understated.
6. Alex Morgan, Soccer
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Despite the troubles the US Men’s team has endured over the years, the States have consistently put together formidable Women’s teams. One of the main reasons for the Women’s success has been the brilliance of Morgan. The California native made a name for herself during an epic 2011 World Cup run.
Morgan clinched the semi-final matchup against France with her first World Cup goal, and followed up that performance with another goal and an assist during the World Cup Final versus Japan. In 2015, Morgan battled through injuries to help her team win the World Cup — avenging a loss to Japan in the 2011 Final. Four years later, Morgan scored a World Cup-best six goals en route to the United States’ second consecutive world title.
5. Ronda Rousey, WWE/MMA
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For a stretch between 2012-15, Rousey was the biggest draw in all of MMA. The judo practitioner sliced through the Women’s division, disposing of her opponents in increasingly rapid fashion. Rousey collected 11 first-round finishes in her MMA career, eight of which came in under a minute.
Rousey has since made the jump to the professional wrestling world, where she enjoyed one of the best rookie years in WWE history — including two appearances on WWE’s top show, WrestleMania. She hasn’t appeared on WWE television since 2019, but pro wrestling fans are eagerly awaiting her return.
4. Mikaela Shiffrin, Skiing
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Shiffrin has wasted no time etching her name among skiing’s all-time greats. At 18 years and 345 days old, Shiffrin became the youngest ever slalom winner in the Olympics. She’s the only female skier to have won 15 races over a single calendar year.
Her 67 World Cup victories already places her third all-time, and she only recently celebrated her 25th birthday. The young Shiffrin also won three-straight overall titles for the season in ’17, ’18, and ’19. By the time it’s all said and done, Shiffrin will likely hold every record worth holding in the sport of skiing.
3. Candace Parker, Basketball
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Parker was already one of the best women’s basketball players in the world while attending the University of Tennessee. The versatile forward led the Lady Vols to two NCAA Titles, and was selected first overall in the WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008.
She has since added a WNBA Championship and two regular season MVP’s to her resume. Over the course of her career, Parker ranks 12th all-time in points per game, 6th all-time in rebounds per game, and 7th all-time in blocks per game. Parker doesn’t just dominate on the hardwood, she has also made great strides as a guest analyst on NBA on TNT.
2. Simone Biles, Gymnastics
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The 4-foot-8 Biles defies the laws of physics on a daily basis. From the time Biles began competing in 2011 at the age of 13, she has completely dominated her sport. She has won countless awards at every level, and has been an elite performer in virtually all events she has competed in.
Biles took home four gold medals during the 2016 Summer Olympics at the age of 19. The Texas native has already cemented herself as one of the most decorated gymnasts ever — and many believe the greatest gymnast of all-time.
1. Chloe Kim, Snowboarding
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Kim is barely old enough to vote, but few can shred the gnar like the 20-year-old from Long Beach. The youngest woman ever to win an Olympic snowboarding medal, Kim burst onto the scene in 2018 when she took home the gold in the halfpipe competition during the Pyeongchang Games. She took home Best Female Athlete honors at the ESPYs during the same year.
Time magazine also named Kim one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2018 following her virtuoso performance. Given her youth and resume, Kim will likely be around in the sports world for years to come.