Most Loved Female Athletes

For years and years, women proved to the world that they were more than capable of doing something people deemed impossible, especially in sports. There is without a doubt that the world has powerful female athletes. These people can climb mountains, kick the soccer ball with a very unstoppable force, or run the tracks at a record-breaking speed – there is nothing women can’t do, and these most loved female athletes would definitely agree. 

The following women are only some of the most loved female athletes in the world that made some impact and contribution to the sports field. Learn more about the fiercest and strongest female athletes in the world that have constantly been paving the way for athletes, especially women, everywhere. 

1. Serena Williams

Serena Williams playing tennis

One of the most loved female athletes is Serena Williams, a professional tennis player in the US. Serena Williams was ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association in singles world No. 1 seven times, from 2002 to 2022. She first became No.1 on July 8, 2002, and had been on the top for the seventh time on 2017. 

Serena Williams has earned countless achievements in the field. Some of these include twenty-three Grand Slam titles, fourteen Grand Slam doubles titles with Venus Williams, her older sister, and four Olympic gold medals. 

In December 2019, Williams was named by the Associated Press as the Female Athlete of the Decade. 

2. Simone Biles

In October 2019, Simone Biles, an American gymnast, earned the title of the “Greatest Of All Time” (GOAT) of gymnastics. She bagged 25 world championship medals (19 gold), more than any male or female gymnast in history. Simone Biles is an insanely talented female athlete who even had four signature gymnastic moves named after her in different events – on balance beam, floor, and vault. 

Simone Biles debuted on the World Fame 100 in 2017, wherein she ranked at No. 48, which is no surprise since she did an impeccable performance at the Rio Olympics in August 2016. However, she was off the list last 2018. 

Despite that, Simone Biles partnered with Always and Target and became a spokesperson for a nonprofit organization, Girls on the Run. This organization helps young girls build their confidence and skills through different activities, especially running. 

3. Junko Tabei 

black and white photo of Junko Tabei smiling while climbing a mountain

Junko Tabei is a Japanese mountaineer who became the first-ever woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1975. Before climbing the tallest mountain in the world, Tabei formed the first all-women climbing club in Japan since climbing groups before were usually strictly for men only. 

By reaching Mount Everest’s peak, Junko Tabei broke the stereotypes about women and the gender barrier in the sport. After her successful climb, many women started following in Junko Tabei’s footsteps, making about 20% of Mt. Everest climbers in 2019 to be women. 

Junko Tabei climbed more mountains and conquered more tall peaks after Everest. And in 1992, Tabei became the first woman to reach the peak of the world’s Seven Summits. Junko Tabei died at the age of 77, but she definitely lived a fruitful life and died feeling accomplished after climbing the highest peaks of over 70 countries.

4. Billie Jean King

If you’re talking about the most loved and most successful female athletes of all time, Billie Jean King is definitely on that list. Billie Jean King is an American professional tennis player and, at the same time, an equality advocate. She won 39 Grand Slam championships and triumphed over the anti-feminist American tennis player Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match in 1973. 

This victory ended the idea that male athletes are stronger and better than female athletes. In the same year that she won the tennis match, she started a meeting leading to the foundation of the Women’s Tennis Association. 

Billie Jean King also threatened to boycott the US Open Tennis Championships of 1973 if male and female winners were still not paid the same amount. Her threat worked because later that year, the tournament became the first-ever major tennis tournament to pay the same amount of prize money to male and female athletes. Billie Jean King isn’t only a successful athlete in her field but also a huge advocate for equality, making her a legend. 

5. Nadia Comăneci

black and white photo of Nadia Comăneci holding a large trophy

Nadia Comăneci is a Romanian gymnast, and when she was 14 years old, she became the first-ever gymnast to earn the perfect score, 10, ever-awarded in Olympic gymnastics. The legendary performance during the Montreal Olympics in 1976 that earned her the perfect 10 was on the uneven bars. 

Nadia Comăneci didn’t settle for only one perfect ten as she earned the perfect score not only once, not twice, but six more times during that Olympic gymnastics competition. She became the youngest Olympic all-around champion ever, so there is no question why she is among the most famous athletes in women’s Olympic gymnastics. Nadia Comăneci was also named the goddess from Montreal or the goddess of the 1976 Olympic Games. 

6. Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey is among the best female MMA fighters in the world and became the first female American athlete to win a medal in Judo in the Olympic Games. Rousey won a bronze medal during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. 

Rousey has won MMA fights 12 consecutive times and six in the UFC. In 2015, she was considered the most dominant active athlete in the world. 

Ronda Rousey was a former and the first-ever female champion of the UFC Women’s Bantamweight in November 2017. She was also the last female athlete to be a Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. 

7. Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn wearing her white skiing gear

When it comes to female skiing, Lindsey Vonn is definitely the best female skier of all time. She is one of the six female skiers to win World Cup skiing races in all five alpine skiing disciplines – downhill, giant slalom, slalom, super-G, and super combined. 

During her entire skiing career, Vonn suffered from numerous serious injuries that could have hindered her career. However, she stood strong and continued triumphantly. Lindsey Vonn retired in 2019, carrying all her skiing victories, including seven World Championship medals, 82 World Cup victories, and three Olympic gold and bronze medals. 

8. Tara Cunningham

Only in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney did women’s weightlifting become an Olympic sport. That year, Tara Cunningham, an American weightlifter, became the champion in the 48-kilogram division. She was the first American weightlifter to win a gold medal in the Olympics after Chuck Vinci in the 1960 Summer Olympics and the first-ever American female weightlifter to win a gold medal in the Olympics. 

Cunningham also participated in the 2004 Athens Games and won the10th place in her division. She also won gold medals twice at the Pan-American Games, set two American records in two weight divisions, and became a USAW national champion seven times. 

Tara Cunningham played several sports and wasn’t only trained for weightlifting. She also trained for two different sports – gymnastics and soccer.

9. Babe Didrikson Zaharias

black and white photo of Babe Didrikson Zaharias and her husband kissing her cheeks

Before women were allowed to participate and received praises for joining sports, there was an era when they didn’t receive full support from people and were often looked down upon by men. However, this didn’t stop the American athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias from joining various sports and proving these people wrong. 

Babe Didrikson Zaharias excelled in numerous sports, such as baseball, basketball, boxing, golf, softball, swimming, tennis, track, and more. She even won one silver and two gold medals in athletics (track and field) at the 1932 Olympic Games. 

Despite proving she’s a successful and great athlete, she still received countless criticisms. However, that didn’t stop Babe Didrikson Zaharias from doing her best and constantly proving them wrong by winning countless times in different sports. 

She then became a professional golfer and was one of the founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Babe Didrikson also became the first woman in history to participate in a men’s golf tournament. She won 82 tournaments throughout her golfing career, some of which she won after being diagnosed with colon cancer. 

Babe Didrikson Zaharias died on September 27, 1956, and in 2000, she was named by Sports Illustrated as the top athlete of the 20th century.

10. Florence Griffith Joyner

When talking about an icon, Florence Griffith Joyner is a legendary American sprinter who did her record-breaking pace while wearing a one-legged jumpsuit while flaunting her long painted fingernails. Florence Griffith Joyner, or FloJo, made her record-breaking speed at the 1988 US Olympic trials in Indiana. She earned her victory while wearing her magenta outfit, breaking the stereotypes of how strong and fierce female athletes should be. 

Her speed of 10.49 seconds during that US Olympic trial was way faster than the men’s track and field record in different countries, such as Ireland, New Zealand, and Turkey. A few months after her iconic win at the US Olympic trials, FloJo earned one silver and three gold medals during the 1988 Olympics. She set the records for the 100-meter and 200-meter women’s track and field that still stands today.