The Top 6 Female Athletes in History
The debate over who holds the title as the greatest athlete of all time has caused many heated arguments since the creation of sports. And while most folks who engage in a war of words often recognize men as the superior athlete, the world is beginning to shift.
Today, female athletes who have excelled in their sport are now dominating, showing the boys that women are capable of doing anything they can do — but better.
Women are amazing. They are strong, powerful, and a force to be reckoned with. They smash barriers, fight tooth and nail for equality, and don’t accept handouts. Women are talented human beings who work hard for what they have. And when a woman sets her mind to something, you can bet your bottom dollar that she’ll accomplish that goal.
Ladies are fierce — which is exactly why some of the greatest athletes of all time are women.
From the court to the field and the rink to the track, regardless of the sport, female athletes are always ready to conquer any challenge thrown at them, and in doing so, they subsequently shatter stereotypes and captivate the world.
In this post, it’s all about the ladies. Read on as we celebrate women and explore the top 6 female athletes of all time.
But First, Here’s A Quick History Lesson On Women In Sports
Since the early days of modern, organized sports, women have fought numerous battles for equality, from equal wages among female and male athletes to simply the right to take the field.
However, with modern-day superstars like Simone Biles and Serena Williams and the early advocates for women’s place in sports, female athletes have been making a strong impression on athletics over the years.
Today, women are equal to men in sports, thanks to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. This important federal law states: “No person in the U.S. shall, based on gender, be excluded from participation in or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Why is this so important, you ask? For many reasons, but back in the day, young women were not admitted into many colleges and universities, athletic scholarships were far, and few between, and science and math were reserved for the boys. Instead of playing sports, girls square danced and studied home economics.
What’s more, sexual harassment didn’t exist back then because “boys will be boys.” Thankfully, everything changed in 1972 with the passage of Title IX. And while things still aren’t perfect, they’ve certainly come a long way since the dark days when women were viewed as nothing more than homemakers.
Here in the 21st century, women are no longer viewed as the “weaker sex.” In fact, according to recent research, science shows women are stronger, live longer, get better grades, achieve more advanced degrees, and believe it or not, may possess greater fitness capabilities than men.
It makes perfect sense that we’re starting to see so many amazing women dominate in sports. Not only are female athletes just as athletic as men, but they’ve had to work extremely hard to eradicate the stigma of women in sports and break free of traditional gender stereotypes.
In other words, female athletes are some of the hardest working people on the planet, and regardless of the barrier in front of them, they will find a way to get around it to come out on top.
Celebrating Women: The Top 6 Female Athletes
So, without further ado, here are the top six female athletes of all time (in no particular order):
There are legends, and then there's Serena Williams.
Highly regarded as one of the world’s best tennis players, Serena Williams’ victories have shaped her into an inspirational figure in sports. She holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined and tied for third on the all-time list.
What’s more, in 2019, she was the only woman on the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes and is considered a pioneer of a new era for women in tennis that is focused on power.
Another incredible athlete, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, has won six Olympic medals and was a four-time world champion while also winning a gold medal in the Pan American Games.
Considered to be one of the greatest American track and field athletes in history, this champion broke multiple barriers during her decorated career and was dubbed the American Athletics First Lady.
Legendary U.S. striker Mia Hamm is responsible in large part for the massive surge in popularity in women’s soccer over the last couple of decades.
Hamm led Team USA to its historic win in the 1999 Women’s World Cup and was crowned the Women’s FIFA World Player of the Year the very first two years the award was given. And until 2013, this trendsetter held the record for most international goals scored by any player — male or female — in the history of soccer with 159.
Simone Biles is an incredible gymnast. At only 22 years old, she is a four-time World all-around champion, with three consecutive victories from 2013 to 2015 and another in 2018. As if that wasn’t enough, her talent is so unprecedented that the world champ already had three different moves named after her.
Today, Biles has a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals and is one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time.
At just 17 years old, Missy Franklin became the first American female athlete to win four gold medals at the London Olympics of 2012, blowing everyone out of the water as she made a clean sweep in every event she participated in.
The following year, Franklin brought home another six gold medals during the world aquatics championships.
Although she may not have had as much success as others, Ronda Rousey played a significant role in female fighters’ shift to the mainstream. Rousey became an Olympic medalist, WWE fighter and was the first female fighter in the UFC — just to name a few of her achievements.
Voted the best female athlete by ESPN in 2015, for a while, Rousey stood tall next to Conor McGregor as one of the most marketable — and remarkable — athletes in UFC, helping to break down the gender divide in sports and paving the way for female fighters everywhere.
Last on the list, but certainly not least, we have Lindsey Vonn — one of the most accomplished skiers of our time. Not only is this impressive athlete one of only two female skiers to win four World Cup overall championships, but she was also the first American woman to win a gold medal in the downhill.
With a total of 82 impressive World Cup victories to her name, Vonn retired at age 34 after racking up a mind-blowing amount of hardware, including three Olympic medals, seven World Championship medals, and of course, all of those World Cup wins.
A Final Word
And there you have it, our all-time list of the top six female athletes in history.
These undeniably exceptional women didn’t just conquer their various sports but became idols and role models to the younger generations of female athletes worldwide. While many have retired, their names will forever be etched in history, making a lasting impression on women everywhere.
Here at BioHealth, we love seeing women dominate in sports. These ladies didn’t just put in the time, dedication, and effort to become the incredible athletes we idolize today, but they also had to fight for equality to be viewed as an equal to male athletes.
Needless to say, women are tough, resilient, and a force to be reckoned with.
If you’re looking to become the next female superstar, don’t forget to fuel your body with good nutrition as you train. Stick with clean supplements like our pasture-fed protein powder, and never forget that you are strong, significant, and powerful. #GirlsRule
Jackie Joyner-Kersee | Athletes Giving Back | Athletes Causes
Title IX Frequently Asked Questions | NCAA.org - The Official Site of the NCAA
The weaker sex? Exploring lay understandings of gender differences in life expectancy: A qualitative study | NCBI
Women Are Better Athletes Than Men, Study About Gender Fitness Says | NEWS Research