Top Ten Most Famous Female Athletes
The top ten most famous female athletes rose to the top of their individual sports and proved they were as dominant as any male athlete. Some of the female athletes compete against men and others simply dominate the other females they play against. Many of the women became famous for incidents outside the realm of competition but all remain at the forefront of discussions concerning their spots in the history of their games.
- Billie Jean King - Billy Jean King was one of the greatest tennis players of her era. In 1971, she became the first female athlete to win over $100,000. In 1973, she became one of the most famous female athletes when she competed in “The Battle of the Sexes.” At that event, she defeated Bobby Riggs, a 55-year old former Wimbledon men’s champion.
- Mary Lou Retton - Mary Lou Retton captured the world’s attention when she won the women’s all-around gold medal at the 1994 Summer Olympics. She became the first woman to appear on a box of Wheeties. When she retired, she cashed in her success as a famous female athlete and appeared in movies and television.
- Gabrielle Reece - When sand volleyball became a national craze, Gabrielle Reece took the opportunity to use her talent to promote herself as one of America’s most famous female athletes. She played on the team that took first place at the first Beach Volleyball World Championships. She caught a lot of men’s attention when she posed for “Playboy” in 2001.
- Mia Hamm - Mia Hamm played as the United States national soccer team’s forward. She scored more goals in international play than any other player in the sport, male or female. She played on the team that won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991 at the age of nineteen, the youngest famous female athlete to accomplish that.
- Martina Navratilova - Billy Jean King called Czechoslovakian tennis player Martina Navratilova the best who ever lived. If that isn’t enough to help her maintain the title of one of the most famous female athletes ever, she also holds the record for most consecutive Wimbledon titles (6) and most consecutive titles overall (9).
- Katarina Witt - Katarina Witt won Olympic gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games for East Germany. She also won World Championships in four years and six straight European Championships. After she retired, Witt continued to be one of the most famous female athletes when she won an Emmy for the film “Carmen on Ice” and appeared in “Playboy” in 1998.
- Danica Patrick - Danica Patrick is a racecar driver competing in the Indy Car series. In 2008, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy car race. While Patrick became a famous female athlete thanks to her gender-changing role in Indy Car racing, she also attracts attention with modeling work including appearances in “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issues.
- Michelle Wie - Wie qualified for the USGA amateur championship at the age of ten, the youngest to ever do so. She became one of the most famous female athletes when “Time” magazine named her one of “The People Who Shape Our World” in 2006.
- Michelle Kwan - Michelle Kwan is a figure skater who was a World Champion five-times and U.S. Champion nine-times. She remains one of America’s most famous female athletes, appearing in both television shows and movies. She also serves as an Ambassador for the United States.
- Mia St. John - Before Mia St. John became a boxing champion, she made headlines appearing nude in “Playboy” in November 1999. The model shoot caused some to question her skills until she won her first championship in 2005.