best sportswomen of all time

Best Sportswomen of All Time

Best Sportswomen of All Time List

This best sportswomen of all time list honors the legendary sportswomen that have changed their sport or have changed the world. Obviously this can never be a complete list but if you’re aware of a female sporting legend that you feel should be on best sportswomen list please add your comments and we’ll consider adding her.

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Key to Best Sportswomen: WC=World Championship | IM=International matches | TV=Tournament Victory | EC=European Championship

Sportswoman Name Country Birth Death Sport Best Sportswomen Achievements
Ashford, Evelyn USA 1957 Athletics / Track & Field
  • Olympics: Evelyn Ashford won 4 x Gold, 1 x Silver at the Olympics between 1984 and 1992.
Blair, Bonnie
USA 1964 Speed skating
  • Olympics: 5x Winter Olympic Gold (500m, 1998 Calgary, 500 & 1000m 1992 Albertville, 500 & 1000m 1994 Lillehammer), 1x Bronze (1000m, 1998 Calgary).
  • WC: 3x Gold (Sprint, 1989 Heerenveen, 1994 Calgary and 1995 Milwaukee), 4x Silver (Sprint 1987 Sainte Foy, 1990 Tromsø, 1992 Oslo & 1993 Ikaho), 2 x Bronze (Sprint 1986 Karuizawa and 1988 West Allis).
  • Bonnie Blair was inducted into United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004, the USA’s best sportswomen Winter Olympian of all time.
Blankers-Koen, Fanny The Netherlands 1918 2000 Athletics / Track & Field
  • Olympics: Fanny Blankers-Koen won 4x Gold at the Olympics in 1948.
  • EC 5 x and held 21 world records across six sprint and hurdle disciplines.
Comăneci, Nadia Romania 1961 Gymnastics
  • Olympics: Nadia Comăneci won 5 gold medals at the Olympic Games (All-Around, Bars & Beam, 1976 Montreal, Beam & Floor 1980 Moscow) 3 x Silver, 1 x Bronze.
  • WC 2 x Gold (Beam, 1978 Strasburg, Team 1979 Fort Worth), 2 x Silver.
  • EC 9 x Gold, 2 x Silver, 1 x Bronze.
  • Nadia Comăneci was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics.
  • She was the youngest and only sportswoman to be awarded the Olympic Order.
  • Nadia was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1993.
Didrikson Zaharias, Mildred Ella, aka Babe USA 1911 Golfer
  • Olympics: 2 x Olympic Gold (80m hurdles & Javelin) and Silver (High jump) 1932 Los Angeles.
  • TV: Babe Didrikson Zaharias was famous for her 82 golf tournaments wins.
  • Babe was inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame in 1977 at its inception and she was also a talented basketball player. 
Graf, Steffi Germany 1969 Tennis
  • Olympics: 1 x gold (single) and 1 x bronze (double) at Summer Olympic 1988 in Seoul.
  • TV: Steffi Graf won 107 (Singles), 22 Grand Slam wins (7 x Wimbledon).
Griffith Joyner, Florence aka Flo-Jo

 

USA 1959 1998 Athletics / Track & Field
  • Olympics: 3 x Summer Olympic Gold (100m, 200m, 4x100m 1988 Seoul) 2 x Silver (200m, 1984 Los Angeles, 4x400m 1988 Seoul).
  • WC Gold (4x100m) and Silver (200m) both in Rome 1987.
  • Flo-jo is the fastest female track & field athlete of all time. Her 100m and 200m World Records set in Seoul 1988 still stand unbeaten.
Hamm-Garciaparra, Mariel Margaret, aka Mia Hamm USA 1972 Football / Soccer
  • Mia Hamm was a top striker and the youngest player to join the USA national football team.
  • US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year 1994 to 1998.
  • One of only two sportswomen to make the FIFA 100 list of 125 best living players chosen by Pelé.
  • The first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame 2013.
Joyner-Kersee, Jackie
USA 1962 Athletics / Track & Field
  • Olympics: 3 x Olympic gold (Heptathlon and Long jump 1988 Seoul, Heptathlon 1992 Barcelona), Silver x1 (Heptathlon 1984 Los Angeles), Bronze x 2 (Long jump, 1992 Barcelona & 1996 Atlanta).
  • WC Gold x 4 (Long jump & Heptathlon 1987 Rome, Long jump 1991 Tokyo, Heptathlon 1993 Stuttgart).
  • Pan American Games Gold in Long jump, 1987 Indianapolis.
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee was the first woman to earn more than 7000 points in heptathlon.
King, Billie Jean USA 1943 Tennis
  • TV: 129 singles), 87-37 doubles, 11 mixed doubles and 12 Grand Slam wins (USA 1967, 1971, 1973, 1976, Wimbledon 1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973 & 1975, France 1967, 1970 & Australia 1968).
  • Billie Jean King was ranked No 1 in 1967.
  • First tennis player and first female athlete to be awarded Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1972.
  • Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.
  • One of the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, 2013.
Korbut, Olga (aka Sparrow from Minsk) Russia 1955 Gymnastics
  • Olympics: 4 x Olympic Gold (Team, Beam & Floor, 1972 Munich. Team, Montreal 1976), 2 x Olympic Silver (Uneven Bars, 1972 Munich. Beam, Montreal 1976)
  • WC: 2 x Gold (Team & Vault, 1974 Varna), 2 x Silver (All-Around, Bars, Beam & Floor, 1974 Varna).
  • EC 1 x Silver (All-Around, 1973 London). One of the best sportswomen in gymnastics.
  • Olga Korbut was famous for the “Korbut Flip” on both uneven bars and beam.
Kostelić, Janica Croatia 1982 Alpine skiing
  • Olympics: 4 x Gold medals, 2 x Silver medals.
  • WC: 5 x Gold
  • World Cup: 30 wins, 4 Slalom wins, 3 combined and 3 overall title wins.
  • Janica Kostelić was the first alpine skier to win the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards “Sportswoman of the Year” award in 2006.
Latynina, Larissa Russia 1934 Gymnastics
  • Olympics: Larissa Latynina won 9 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 4 bronze medals at the Summer Olympics,
  • WC: 9 x World Champion.
Moody, Helen Wills USA 1905 1998 Tennis
  • Olympics: Helen Wills Moody won 2 gold medals at the Olympics, from 1919 to 1938 she won 398 games and lost only 35.
  • TV: 31 Grand Slam victories in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
Moser-Pröll, Annemarie Austria 1953 Alpine skiing
  • Olympics: 1 x gold, 2 x silver medals.
  • WC: 4 x gold, 2 x bronze.
  • Annemarie Moser-Pröll tops the all-time leaderboard of women’s skiing with 62 individual World Cup victories between 1969 and 1980.
Navratilova, Martina Czech Republic 1956 Tennis
  • TV: 167 singles 177 doubles and 18 grand slam wins including 9 Wimbledon wins.
  • Martina Navratilova achieved the Grand Slam box set (all four Grand Slams in Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles) along with Doris Hart and Margaret Court.
Pärson, Anja Sweden 1981 Alpine skiing
  • Olympics: 1 x gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze medals.
  • WC: 7 x gold, 7 x silver, 10 bronze medals and 42 individual race wins.
  • World Championship: 7 x gold, 1 x silver and 3 bronze.
Schneider, Vreni Switzerland 1964 Alpine skiing
  • Olympics: Vreni Schneider won 3 x gold, 1 x silver and 1 x bronze medal.
  • WC: 3 x gold, 2 x silver, 1 x bronze and a total of 55 individual World Cup race wins.
Smith Court, Margaret Australia 1946 Tennis
  • Margaret Court is the Grand Slam ladies record holder with 24 singles titles, 19 Grand Slam doubles victories and a total of 192 wins.
  • Achieved the Grand Slam box set (all four Grand Slams in Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles) along with Doris Hart and Martina Navratilova.
Sorenstam, Annika Sweden 1970 Golf
  • TV: Annika Sorenstam won 72 LPGA tournaments and 18 international titles, topping the LPGA career earnings list with $22 million. One of the best sportswomen who was not only successful in her 18 year golf career but also playing junior tennis, football and skiing.
Vonn, Lindsey USA 1984 Alpine skiing
  • Olympics: 1 x gold, 2 x bronze medals.
  • WC: 2 x gold, 3 x silver, 3 x bronze medals.
  • World Cup: 20 titles (4 overall, 8 downhill, 5 Super G and 3 combined. 82 race wins to date.

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