You could never put these 50 women in any type of order when it comes to their beauty, brains, or athleticism.
Throughout the years there have been a number of incredible female athletes from all different corners of the world. Female athletes, despite Title IX, undergo much criticism in the world of athletics. Although, with the help of these multi-talented female athletes, shattering stereotypes, the world can appreciate the hard work of these extraordinary women!
Don’t forget to share with your favorite young female athletes!
International Tennis Federation
One of the most fierce players in women’s tennis, Williams took up the racket at a very young age. She has countless titles under her belt, including 35 Grand Slam titles (20 in singles, 13 in women’s doubles and two in mixed doubles), while adding four Olympic gold medals.
Williams is the top earner in women’s sports. She’s won more than $70 million in prize money alone, which doesn’t include sponsorship and endorsement deals. She made history recently, becoming the oldest women in professional tennis to hold the number one rank.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Ronda Rousey is one of the most well known faces in female athletics currently, fighting her way through 12 wins, 1 loss in the Bantamweight division. In 2015 she also claimed to be the highest paid UFC fighter, man or woman! That seems to be a huge enough accomplishment in and of itself.
Her talents don’t stop at her mixed martial arts, but go on to include an EPSY award for Best Fighter/ Best Female Athlete as well as a vast acting career that solidifies her in a league of her own!
Track and Field
Taking it back to the Olympic games from 1984 to 1996, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, often referred to as the First lady of American athletics, competed in four Olympic games for the United States. She earned several medals in the women’s heptathlon and the women’s long jump with three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals! Sport Illustrated for Woman magazine even voted her as Best Female Athlete of the 20th century.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee has not only acquired an incredible number of medals, but has done it all while battling severe Asthma! Here she stands with her many medals and an incredible smile!
Professional Soccer Forward
Talk about smashing stereotypes! This next woman, retired soccer superstar Mia Hamm, held the record for international goals, more than any other woman or man in the history of Soccer! Although that record was recently broken in 2013, back in 2001 and 2002, she was named the FIFA world player of the year, as well as holding the national team record for most career assists with 144.
After a long and fruitful career, she was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame as well as the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and the World Football Hall of Fame. On top of establishing a record breaking career, in 2001 she also founded the Washington Freedom, a professional soccer club.
Billy Jean King
Former Professional Tennis Player
If there is a legend among these fabulous woman, I would bet on Billie Jean King. She is a former American World No. 1 professional tennis player. Throughout the many years of her influence she has established a few Associations and foundations surrounding gender equality and her love of tennis. These are the Women’s Tennis Association, Women’s Sports Foundation, and World TeamTennis (which she established with her former husband, and television host, Larry King).
During her reign as tennis professional, King won 39 Grand Slam titles. She represented the United States often in the Federation Cup (seven times) and Wightman Cup (nine times) and was later Captain of the United States at the Federation Cup. The level of accomplishments with this woman are inspiring to say the least!
Tracy Anne Caulkins
American Former Competitive Swimmer
This American record holder was known for her versatility and skills in all four major competitive swimming strokes. She strove to be the best in all aspects of her sport which has allowed her to be considered one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Unfortunately this swimmer was unable to continue to excel in her sport due to a heartbreaking boycott of the 1980 games in Moscow. She was forced to wait another 4 years and instead went on to pursue other passions.
She not only looks like a powerhouse, but during her years as a competitive swimmer she managed to become a three-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time world champion, and former world record-holder in three events. Caulkins had set five world records and sixty-three American records (more than any American swimmer, male or female) by the time she retired in 1984, at the prime age of 21.
Nadia Elena Comăneci
Former Gymnastics Champion
“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” – Nadia Elena Comăneci
I’m certain many athletes and successful people around the world have heard this quote. It is a testament to the type of woman this incredible Romanian gymnast was and still is! Nadia began her gymnastics career at the tender age of 5 years old, and the natural grace, strength, and skill catapulted her to super-stardom in women’s athletics.
We all know how difficult the sport of gymnastics can be (or can at least imagine it!). She is the winner of a total of 5 gold medals between 2 Olympic games and is the best-known gymnast in the world to this day. She was the youngest gymnast to ever become an all-around medal champion and is the first ever to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event. Her talent didn’t stop after her professional career was over either. She has gone on to coach some of the world’s best gymnasts, published a memoir, and been subject of several documentaries.
Track and Field Gold Medalist (fastest woman in the world)
A huge part of any athlete’s story is their journey. Wilma Rudolph was an athlete that had to overcome incredible odds before she got to where she was going. Born premature, Rudolph spent a bulk of her childhood in bed. After suffering double pneumonia, scarlet fever, and later polio, she was fitted with a brace at 6 years old. By age 9 she was able to take it off and blossomed into an incredible athlete.
She astounded people with her speed and had the fans of the 1950’s and 60’s saying, “Don’t blink. You might miss her, and that would be a shame.” Rudolph became the “fastest woman in the world” and the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics at the Rome Games of 1960!
Bonnie Kathleen Blair
Retired American Speedskater
Speedskating legend Bonnie Blair took the world by storm starting at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. With one prior Olympics under her belt she came in ready by setting a world record and earning her first Olympic gold medal in the 500 meters, and a bronze in the 1,000 meter. With a large family to support her, the media even went as far as to call them the ‘Blair Bunch.’
Blair didn’t stop there, attending the 1992 Winter Games with a repeated victory in the 1994 Games, she became the first American woman to win five gold medals. She also took the title of becoming the first American Olympian to win gold medals in the same event in three consecutive Games. She has become one of the most decorated athletes in Olympic history, so it’s no wonder she was named Sportswoman of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1994.
Lisa Deshaun Leslie
Former WNBA player (LA Sparks)
When it comes to women’s and men’s sports, the injustice in the sport of basketball is widely known. Lisa was considered a pioneer of the league during her WNBA career, and broke barriers. As a 6’5” center she was the first WNBA player to dunk! She was not only accomplished like many of these woman, but loved by fans, who voted her as one of the top 15 players in WNBA history in 2011.
Her talent spoke for itself when upon following an amazing career at the University of Southern California, she managed eight WNBA All-Star selections and two championships. She not only excelled within the league but put four Olympic gold medals under her belt before retiring in 2009.
Taiwanese professional golfer
This young golfing sensation was ranked number one in the Women’s World Golf Rankings from 2011 to 2013, that equals out to 109 consecutive weeks! She is also the youngest player ever, male or female, to win five major championships. Even while competing at an amature level, Tseng worked tirelessly to win or come in second in numerous championships.
From 2007 to 2012 she won multiple consecutive championships and tours around the world, becoming what Time called one of the, “100 most influential people in the world”. Since 2012 Tseng has been only 4 points away from qualifying for the World Golf Hall of Fame, yet at the young age of 27, she seems to have many more years to continue being an inspiration to aspiring women golfers around the world.
Former Norwegian Figure Skater and Film Star
This lovely lady was incredibly talented. She was not only a role model in the figure skating world but a world famous actress. Talk about staying busy! In her days as an ice-skating queen, Henie had won more Olympic and world titles than any other women’s figure skater as well as becoming one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood! Henie did well to hold off her competitors towards the end of her career and went on to win her third Olympic title at the 1936 Winter Olympics.
On top of it all, Henie has been credited with making the short skirts, white boots, and dance moves you see in today’s figure skating standard. What an amazing addition to the sport. In all of her glory and glamour she was able to solidify the sports acceptance in the Winter Olympics.
Candace Nicole Parker
WNBA Basketball player (Los Angeles Sparks)
This Mama/Athlete may be best known for being the baby sister of NBA player Anthony Parker, but has proven to have so much more to offer than a name. She was the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game and dunk twice in a college game. At 6’4” tall she also became only the second player to dunk in a WNBA game in 2008.
What is even more impressive is that back in 2009 Parker gave birth to a baby girl, at the peak of her career, and was still able to maintain her skills and focus. Parker has guest starred on various shows, received the 2009 Teen Choice Awards as the favorite female athlete in the sports category, and in 2007 was named in People‘s 100 World’s Most Beautiful People list.
Danica Sue Patrick
American professional race car driver (NASCAR, Indy)
Many of you may know Danica from the GoDaddy commercials on T.V. She is a beautiful, strong female athlete who is not only the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, but has since ventured out into doing commercials, modeling, video games, music videos, magazines as well as receive other various awards.
She has become an inspiration to women everywhere by becoming the first woman to not only accomplish numerous victories but making a name for herself in this male dominated sport. She has been competing since 2005 and is still a huge contender in NASCAR today.
Former Professional soccer player’
Michelle was an incredible athlete in the 90’s, starring in the historic 1991 and 1999 Women’s World Cup victories by the United States. Many woman get recognition in their years as stellar athletes, although Michelle was good enough to become a Hall of Famer and voted FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002.
Among other impressive ventures, such as writing several books, she has documented an incredible story about her battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. To battle a disease (one can only imagine is incredibly taxing on a body) while being a world famous soccer player, one of the most taxing sports out there, is just astounding!
She has not only topped the chart
Retired Swedish-American Professional Golfer
The amount of money in professional golf is unbelievable! Especially if you’re someone like Annika Sorenstam, whose achievements ranked her as one the most successful female golfers in history. She had earned this title by being the winner of a record eight Player of the Year awards and six Vare Trophies! Annika retired from golf in 2008, with 90 international tournaments as a professional, giving her the most wins of any female golfer in history.
s as far as victories but has also earned an unprecedented $22 million throughout her LPGA career, a whopping $3 million ahead of her nearest rival. Talk about successful!
Canadian Ice Hockey Goaltender
Manon has achieved many historic firsts throughout her career. The first five years, she spent in the professional minor leagues, appearing in 24 games, with seven teams, making a name for herself. She multitasked throughout her career as well, signing contracts with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL as well as playing for the Canada Women’s National Ice Hockey Team within the same year!
During her time with the Canadian Women’s National Ice Hockey team she went on to help win them gold medals in the Women’s World Championships in ‘92 and ‘94 as well as a silver medal in the ‘98 Winter Olympics. She has since become a mother and will always be the first woman to appeared in a regular season professional game.
American Softball Player
This stunning blonde is an amazing woman indeed. Finch started out her career playing college softball for the University of Arizona where her stardom began. Upon becoming a three-time All-American pitcher, first baseman, and Player of the Year during her college reign, her Jersey number was retired. In 2001 Finch began playing for the USA Women’s National Team and shortly after was named to the Olympic team of 2004 where she went on to win them the gold medal. Her accomplishments didn’t stop there, winning another gold medal in the 2008 games.
For those of you who love the Real Housewives, she also appeared on the Real Housewives of Orange County, and that’s no surprise. Her All-American beauty is timeless and after having 3 children, it’s amazing the things she is still able to accomplish!
American Olympic Swimmer
Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She was, like many other famous Athletes, blessed with talent at a very young age, entering her first international swimming competition at age 14 and going on to compete in the Olympic games of 1984 only a few years later. Her record speaks for itself, having competed in five Olympic Games and winning 12 medals throughout her career. She was also an inspiration for many older athletes, such as Lance Armstrong, by becoming the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games in 2008.
Throughout her career and since retiring she has been named one of the “Top Female Athletes of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated, she has appeared on such shows as Fox News, ESPN, CNN, Piers Morgan Tonight, Today Show, Good Morning America, Kelly and Regis, among others, and was the first female athlete to ever be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. What an amazing woman!
Professional Figure Skater
Dorothy Hamill is one of the most popular names in Figure Skating to this day and was dubbed by the media as “America’s sweetheart” at one point. She won the hearts of the world as a 19 year old, winning her first gold medal in the 1976 Winter Games, and showcasing her impressively fluid and charming skating. Upon winning her medal she was advised to retire so as not to tarnish her Olympic gold but did what all the greats do … persevered!
With another gold medal under her belt she unknowingly started a couple fads within the American culture. Her bobbed hairstyle and over-sized glasses of the 70’s and 80’s made her a household name!
Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey Player
Hayley was the first woman to play a position other than goalie as full-time professional hockey player. She has won Canada four gold medals and one silver medal and been named tournament MVP twice! She didn’t just stop at her five Winter Olympics, but went on to play softball in the Summer Games as well. She was not only an Olympian in one sport but two!
Hayley also became the first woman to score a goal playing in a men’s professional league so it’s no wonder she’s considered the greatest female Ice Hockey player in the world.
Russian Professional Tennis Player
This beautiful woman is a five-time Grand Slam champion. That is just skimming the surface of her many accomplishments, although, with the recent controversy surrounding her she may need to pump the breaks for a while! It is said Sharapova may not be able to return to the sport after testing positive for a banned substance in recent events.
Her mistakes, hopefully, will not be what she’s known for as she is an Olympic Medalist, was ranked world no. 1 at the age of 18, and continued to dominate third among active players Venus and Serena Williams. Hopefully this unfortunate turn of events won’t hold her down forever!
American Snowboarder and Olympic Champion
Teter is an Olympian with more than one passion. She competed in 3 Winter Olympic Games starting at the young age of 19 years old, winning all three medals throughout the years as well as six World Cup victories throughout her career. She was one of four American Olympian women chosen to model for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2010, an issue devoted to Winter Olympians.
Next to her althetsimsm she is also known for her charitable work, being founder of an organization called Hannah’s Gold, as well as being a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics.
American Professional Tennis Player
“I just can’t get enough of that feeling. The whole experience of doing it more than once resonates with who I am. That’s why I am looking forward to the Olympics in Rio in 2016.” – Venus Williams
Like her sister, Venus is a force to be reckoned with in the world of tennis. Her record includes 22 overall Grand Slam titles, and her five Wimbledon singles titles tie her with two other woman for eighth place on the all-time list. Venus has won four Olympic gold medals and combined with her sister Serena, they have won more gold medals than any other tennis player, male or female!
Another incredible feat is that in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments, Venus held the record for fastest serve; 2007 French Open second round, 2008 Wimbledon final, 2007 US Open first round.
National Hot Rod Association
Enders-Stevens began racing drag cars at the young age of 8. You’d think that little Erica was just putt-putting down the track at such a young age, but you’d be wrong. Junior Dragsters can reach speeds of 100 mph. Wow! She rose quickly through the ranks, earning dozens of victories and breaking barriers (and records!) along the way. She was the first woman to qualify No. 1 in Pro Stock, the first woman to win in Pro Stock, and the first female champion in Pro Stock in 2014. To prove she’s no flash-in-the-pan, Enders-Stevens went on to claim the championship title in 2015, and is currently ranked among the leaders this year and poised to win a third straight championship!
The NHRA showcases more mixed-gender competition than any other professional sport. While change is coming, it’ll probably still be a while before we see a woman playing for the New York Mets or the Dallas Cowboys. Thankfully, drag racing is setting the example with decades of gender inclusive professional competition.
Leila Ali is no stranger to the boxing ring. Her father is Muhammed Ali, after all. Though a late-comer to the sport, she exploded onto the scene in a big way. When she was 18 she began training for her fight career. Her first fight was in 1999 and she won by knockout. In fact, she’s won the majority of her fights by KO. Her career record is 24 Wins (21 knockouts, 3 decisions), 0 Losses, 0 Draws. She’s won multiple championship titles and retired a champion. What a powerhouse.
Besides being recognized as one of boxing’s greatest, she’s been a mainstay in pop culture. She’s had dozens of TV appearances, is a best-selling author, and (oddly enough) is credited with saving Hulk Hogan’s life. During a very low point in his life, Hogan was contemplating suicide. He claims Leila called him at just the right moment, offering the right advice to prevent him from taking his life. She’s hard as nails in the ring, and as compassionate as they come in real life. Look for Leila on the upcoming season of The Celebrity Apprentice.
Kerri Walsh Jennings
American Professional Beach Volleyball Player
Jennings is sensational solo, and alongside her partner in beach volleyball, Misty May Treanor. Together they have received gold medals in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics. Together they have been called the “greatest beach volleyball team of all time.”
Like many Olympians, controversy struck at one point, and Jennings was forced to miss several of her first games in the 2000 Summer Olympics due to a false negative on a drug test. Upon retesting she was cleared of any wrongdoing and was able to continue playing!
Misty Elizabeth May-Treanor
American Professional Beach Volleyball Player
Just like her partner Jennings, Misty is a force to be reckoned with. She and her teammate were gold medalists at three Summer Olympics! They are considered to be the “greatest beach volleyball team of all time” and that’s no surprise since they were working together for just short of a decade.
Misty has been successful apart from her teammate as well, with 112 Individual championship wins in domestic and international competition, before retiring after the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Peggy Gail Fleming
Former American Figure Skater
This graceful woman was a three-time World Champion (1966-1968) and the 1968 Olympic Champion in the Ladies Singles. Having earned a gold medal Fleming became a professional, performing on TV shows. This superstardom also ranked her as the 3rd most popular athlete in America, behind Mary Lou Retton and Dorothy Hamill.
Since her glory days Fleming has been a television commentator in figure skating for ABC sports.
Joan Benoit Samuelson
American Marathon Runner
The very first year that the Women’s Marathon was introduced at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Samuelson won gold! She ran the Boston Marathon in the fastest time by any American woman at that race in 28 years, as well as holds the fastest times for any American woman at both the Chicago Marathon and the Olympic Marathon.
She was later inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.
Nancy Marie Lopez
American Professional Golfer
Lopez is not only a professional golfer but a successful entrepreneur as well. Lopez has won three major championships, and 48 LPGA Tour events after becoming a member of the LPGA Tour in 1977. She has also won LPGA Rookie of the year, Player of the Year, and the Vare Trophy in the same season!
Lopez has since made a full line of women’s clubs and accessories with her company, Nancy Lopez Golf, as well as done occasional television commentary.
Cheryl D. Miller
Women’s Basketball Coach, Sportscaster, and College Basketball Player
If you watch sports at all, I’m sure you’ve seen this smiling face! She is a former college basketball player and the women’s basketball coach at Langston University. Her popularity rose even higher after she began as a Sportscaster for ABC Sports, TBS Sports, and ESPN.
She’s since gone on to becoming a sideline reporter for NBA games on TNT Sports as well as working for NBA TV as a reporter and analyst.
Lindsey Caroline Vonn
American World Cup Alpine Ski Racer
At first glance you would think this woman was a beautiful athletic model. As one of only two female skiers to win four World Cup overall Championships and the first ever American woman to win gold in the 2010 Winter Olympics she proves that she is much more than a pretty face!
Mary Abigail “Abby” Wambach
Retired American Soccer Player
Mary Wambach is a phenomenal woman with more awards than one could count! As a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion she has set world records and received numerous accolades throughout the years.
Melissa Jeanette “Missy” Franklin
American Professional Competitive Swimmer
This young gem made her debut in the 2012 Summer Olympics at the age of 17, where she was able to take home four gold medals, five medals in total! She has competed in several International competitions as well adding twenty seven more medals to her trophy case. Along with her medals she has been able to break both World and American records.
This is all quite the feat for the currently 20 year old woman, and I am certain we can be expecting a lot more from this young talent!
Diana Lorena Taurasi
American Professional Basketball Player
“We have Diana, and you don’t.” – Coach, Geno Auriemma
If the quote doesn’t say enough, Taurasi was most definitely a vital player to any team she played for. She began as a decorated high school player going on to play for the University of Connecticut. From there she played eleven seasons with the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA as well as an American playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg of Russia. Staying busy seems to be the key to success!
Former American Tennis Player
In today’s day and age the world still suffers from racism and sexsism, so one can only imagine the kind of struggles people of color had to overcome back in the day. Gibson pioneered the racial blend of International Tennis, and was the first woman of color to win a Grand Slam title!
Sheryl Denise Swoopes
Retired American Professional Basketball Player
This phenom may be best known for being the first women’s basketball player to have a Nike shoe line named after her; Air Swoopes. How many woman wouldn’t want that title, with so many shoes being named after men! Swoopes also holds the title for being the first player to be signed to the WNBA upon its creation.
Her talent and skill didn’t stop after retirement, going on to becoming Head Coach of the women’s basketball team of Loyola University Chicago. Her record as three-time WNBA MVP and her three Olympic gold medals only further solidifies her place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Natalie Coughlin Hall
American Competitive Swimmer
This twelve-time Olympic gold medalist is a familiar face to those who keep up with Olympic swimming. This beautiful, talented women landed many titles as the first woman to set record times and win in the 100-meter backstroke two times in a row, as well as becoming modern Olympic history’s’ first US female athlete to win six medals in one Olympiad.
Ann Meyers Drysdale
Retired American Basketball Player and Sportscaster
While still in High School this woman was able to become the first player to become a part of the US national team. She was later also the first woman to be signed to a four-year college scholarship to play for UCLA, so she must have been excellent! Since her glory days and numerous medals later, Meyers has gone on to serve as a network television sports analyst for ESPN, CBS, and NBC for over 26 years.
Kristine Marie Lilly Heavey
Retired American Soccer Player
Lilly was a member of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team for 23 consecutive years, becoming the most capped soccer player in the history of the sport (men’s or women’s).
Former Professional Alpine Ski Racer
Her unusual name is unique enough to wonder what kind of athlete she could be. Street was an Olympic and World Champion winning medal after medal allowing her to become a spokeswoman for numerous products. She spoke for companies like Mountain dew and ChapStick as well as appearing on American Gladiators and even Sesame Street.
Gabrielle Christina Victoria “Gabby” Douglas
American Artistic Gymnast
A favorite among young aspiring Gymnasts everywhere, Gabby douglas won the heart of the world in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Talented is an understatement for this fierce competitor who fought her way up, coming from a poor family and wanting the absolute best coach possible at such a young age. Douglas was the first African American woman in Olympic history to win the individual all-around gold medal, a title that only adds to her numerous victories and medals throughout her career.
Her story was strong enough to inspire a film and a television show, showcasing the struggles and determination that was needed to get to where she is now.
Retired World No. 1 Professional Tennis Player
“For sheer strength of performance and accomplishment there has never been a tennis player to match her.” – International Tennis Hall of Fame
Court was sensational back in the 1970’s becoming only the second woman in history to win the singles Grand Slam! Court is also still one of only six players (matching Roy Emerson, Martina Navratilova, Frank Sedgman, Doris Hart and Serena Williams) to ever win a multiple slam set in two disciplines. And the only one in history to complete a multiple slam set, not once but twice!
Those titles only skim the surface of her very accomplished career and Courts passions did not stop there. Growing up Roman Catholic she later founded Margaret Court Ministries and became a Pentecostal Christian Minister.
Professional Softball Pitcher
Originally from Puerto Rico Fernandez offered the sport of Softball some much needed flavor. She holds an Olympic record for the most strikeouts in a single game at 25! She attended three Olympics, all of which she and her team took home the gold medal. Among other gold medals and titles she was given the Sportswoman of the Year Award in 1991 and 1992.
Retired German Figure Skater
Katarina Witt was a beautiful woman who was not afraid to flaunt her goodies on top of being an incredible talent! She enjoyed breaking the stereotypical boundaries that were forced upon women in figure skating at the time. Because of her sometimes bold costumes, the ISU was forced to create the “Katarina rule” which required skaters to keep clothing modest. That didn’t stop her however from posing for Playboy!
On top of her eccentricity she was obviously a phenomenal figure skater, winning two Olympic gold medals for East Germany along with being a four-time World Champion. To top it all off Witt was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1995.
Professional Track and Field Athlete
Coachman was a force to be reckoned with back in the 1940’s. Her talent at more than one event allowed her set records and become the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She was so recognized that King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II) awarded her that medal.
Julieann Louise “Julie” Krone
Retired American Jockey
Krone was is another incredible female athlete. She was the first woman jockey to win a Triple Crown race, the first woman inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of fame, as well as the first woman jockey to win a Breeder’s Cup race! Lots of firsts for this incredible women!
Krone did not succeed without struggle however. Suffering numerous injuries throughout her career she persevered best she could only to later retire and become a broadcaster and analyst for multiple networks.
Susan Howlet Butcher
American Dog Musher
Butcher is an amazingly strong female athlete. She, unlike many other athletes suffered multiple hardships throughout her life and is overcoming them all, certainly making her one of the greats. Becoming only the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in ‘86, the second four-time winner in ‘90, and the first to win four consecutive years in a row.
She was later diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in 2005, forcing her to undergo chemotherapy at the University of Washington and needing a bone marrow transplant in 2006 after her cancer went into remission. She was influential enough to have her own day in Alaska, Susan Butcher Day.
Mary Lou Retton
Former Gymnastics Olympic gold medalist
Retton is one of the most famous names in the sport of gymnastics. At a young age, Retton was inspired by watching another great gymnast, Nadia Comăneci, and lucky enough to train with some of the sport’s most notorious coaches. Retton really made a name for herself when she won the US American Cup in 1983 as well as placing second in the US nationals within that same year.
Retton underwent numerous injuries throughout her career but overcame them in time to win the All-around Gold Medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics as well as scoring perfect 10’s on the floor exercise and vault, a feat not easily accomplished! Her drive and passion for the sport continue to help young aspiring gymnasts through her tireless coaching, breathtaking memoirs, and contributions throughout the years.