While Hollywood has only recently begun to embrace the stories of powerful women, sports has been doing it for a long time. Women have long been big-name stars in sports like tennis, figure skating and gymnastics. But more recently, women have stepped to the forefront in traditionally male-dominated sports like mixed martial arts, boxing, basketball and soccer.
Take a look at what some of the world’s most dominant woman athletes look like when they’re not drenched in sweat and crushing someone on their field of choice. You’ll notice that their red-carpet looks are as diverse as their stories.
Despite only being in her early thirties, Ronda Rousey has accomplished more than many other athletes ever do, regardless of gender.
As a teen, she became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo at the 2008 Beijing games and she parlayed her martial arts expertise into an explosive career in the UFC. She dominated the UFC’s women’s division from 2012 to 2015 before taking a pair of losses and retiring.
Rousey has since become one of WWE’s top-drawing pro wrestlers, including as one of the first women to ever headline the company’s biggest annual event, WrestleMania. She’s also done some acting, including in the 2015 movie, “Entourage.”
Haters come out of the woodwork whenever Danica Patrick’s name comes up, but they’re probably just jealous.
She became the face of NASCAR — and, arguably, auto racing in general — during the eight years she spent driving for them, despite never winning a race. Patrick broke many barriers during her racing career in both NASCAR and IndyCar, including being the first woman to ever win an IndyCar race and the highest finish ever by a woman at both the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.
Patrick’s life off the track has attracted much attention, including her eye-catching GoDaddy.com endorsements and high-profile relationships with other athletes, including NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The photo below was taken at the 2015 ESPY Awards, a show she would host in 2018.
Alongside her twin sister, Brie, Nikki Bella became one of WWE’s most popular woman wrestlers ever, starting in the late 2000s. Bella is recognized as the longest-reigning champion in the history of the now-defunct WWE Divas Championship. She’s also been part of WWE’s E! channel reality show, “Total Divas,” since it kicked off in 2013.
Outside the ring, Bella had a lengthy relationship with fellow wrestler John Cena, starting in 2012, but the couple called off their engagement in 2018, just weeks before their wedding was scheduled to take place. Bella has also done some acting and competed on the 2017 season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” where she met her current fiancé, dancer Artem Chigvintsev.
If you look up “domination” in the dictionary, there’s a good chance Serena Williams’ photo could be there. She’s been a mainstay in the world of women’s tennis since 1995, when she first turned pro at the age of 14, and has ruled it since the early 2000s. Running down her stats is exhausting but she’s won 39 combined Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles and will likely go down as the best to ever pick up a racket, man or woman.
In 2016, she married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and gave birth to their daughter, Olympia, in 2017. Williams is also regarded as a style icon, which you can see in the photo below, taken at the 2015 Wimbledon Champions Dinner in London, a tennis tournament she’s won seven times.
When Lindsey Vonn finished what is expected to be her last Olympic skiing run in 2018, she brought an end to one of the greatest careers the sport has ever seen. She is a three-time Olympic medalist in downhill and super-G skiing, and has won four World Cup championships. Among alpine skiers, Vonn is arguably the most high-profile athlete ever, earning endorsements with brands including Oakley and Red Bull.
Off the slopes, she made tabloid headlines for dating Tiger Woods from 2013 to 2015 and she’s now engaged to NHL player P.K. Subban. The photo below was taken at the 2018 Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50, an annual event that recognizes the best-dressed athletes in the world.
Standing at 6-feet-4-inches tall, WNBA star Candace Parker doesn’t need heels but, as you can see, she wears them well.
Parker was regarded as one of the best women’s basketball players in the country during her college career at the University of Tennessee, where she won two national championships and became the first woman ever to dunk in an NCAA tournament game. She’s since won two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA championship and two WNBA MVP awards.
Off the court, she supports animal rights and has worked as a TV commentator for CBS Sports during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The photo below was taken at the 2018 ESPYs.
Few teens could handle a sudden rush of fame with as much effortless cool as Chloe Kim. The snowboarder became a star during the 2018 Winter Olympics, where she won a gold medal for Team USA in the halfpipe. Despite still being a teen, Kim has already also won four gold medals at the X Games. Kim has also had a Barbie made in her likeness and, in 2018, she announced she was accepted to Princeton University.
Below, she’s seen at the Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50 event and, as you can tell, she earned that honor.
One of the most decorated American soccer players of all time, Abby Wambach retired from the sport in 2015. During her outstanding career, she won two Olympic gold medals, a FIFA Women’s World Cup title and was the first soccer player to ever be named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year. In 2015, she was honored as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.
She married her girlfriend, author Glennon Doyle, in 2017. The shot below was taken at ESPN’s 2015 Body at ESPYs event, where Wambach showed off a slick suit and some sweet shoes.
Many of us will never forget watching little Gabby Douglas simultaneously capture America’s hearts and two gymnastics gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics. Just 16 years old at the time, Douglas made history as the first black athlete to ever win the individual all-around gold medal at the Olympics. Douglas went on to win a third gold medal — the only type of medal she’s ever won — at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
She’s since gone on to write a book and have her life story recounted in a Lifetime original movie. The photo below shows Douglas, all grown up at 22, attending the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Oscars viewing party in 2017.
Figure skater Ashley Wagner became one of the faces of Team USA during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where she won a bronze medal with her teammates. Wagner is also a three-time U.S. national figure skating champion. Many were shocked when she was left off the roster of Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympics, but she has continued to skate.
In 2017, Wagner was one of the athletes who posed for ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue; the photo below was taken at an event for the issue. (Check out that Olympic rings tattoo peeking out on her torso.)
One of the biggest stars in professional wrestling, Charlotte Flair has been the gold standard of WWE’s women’s division since 2015. She’s the daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair and has equaled her dad’s legacy in many ways, having broken a lot of ground for women’s wrestling within the WWE, including joining Ronda Rousey as one of the first women to ever headline WrestleMania.
At the start of 2020, Flair announced her engagement to fellow WWE star Andrade. The photo below was taken at WWE’s 2017 Mae Young Classic, a women’s wrestling tournament put on by the company.
Figure skater Mirai Nagasu was already a star in her sport before the 2018 Winter Olympics, but that event made her a mainstream sensation. At the Pyeongchang games, the then-24-year-old skater became the first American woman to ever land a triple axel at the Olympics, and she won a bronze medal along with her teammates.
In April 2018, she competed on “Dancing with the Stars.” A few months after the 2018 Winter Olympics wrapped, Nagasu attended the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards and showed off her fun fashion sense.
Gymnast Aly Raisman has won six Olympic medals, including three golds, during her stellar career. She first became a star during the 2012 London Olympics, where she was a Team USA captain and captured an individual gold in the floor exercise. She returned as a captain during the 2016 Rio games.
In 2013, she competed on “Dancing with the Stars,” where she finished fourth. Raisman’s influence strengthened in 2017, when she came forward as one of the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a former physician for Team USA. She’s been viewed as a pillar of the #MeToo movement since coming forward.
In 2017, she showed off an interesting dress on the orange carpet at the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.
Despite being just 24 years old, alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin has already made her share of American history at the Olympics. At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Shiffrin, then 18, became the youngest person ever to win gold in the slalom. She followed that with gold and silver medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang games.
Shiffrin has quickly become one of the faces of skiing worldwide. In July 2018, she was pictured at an event supporting the ESPY Awards, where she’s been nominated twice.
One of the best point guards in NCAA basketball history, Skylar Diggins-Smith finished her career at Notre Dame in 2013 as the highest-scoring women’s basketball player ever to suit up for the school. She then got drafted to the WNBA where she’s been a four-time All-Star so far. In 2017, she married her longtime boyfriend, Daniel Smith, who also played sports at Notre Dame.
In addition to basketball, Diggins-Smith has done some modeling, including in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which hosted the event she can be seen posing at below, in 2014.
Few athletes have been as productive as American soccer superstar Alex Morgan in such a short period of time. The 30-year-old can already call herself an Olympic gold medalist, a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and a National Women’s Soccer League champion — not to mention a UC-Berkeley graduate, a best-selling author and an actor!
Morgan has been a star with the U.S. national soccer team since she was just 22. She’s been married to fellow soccer player Servando Carrasco since 2014 and is expecting their first child in April 2020. The shot below was taken at the 2015 ESPY Awards, where she won an award shared by her fellow U.S. national team players.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova turned pro on her 14th birthday and has consistently been one of the sport’s top players since the mid-2000s. Sharapova has won five Grand Slam singles championships in her career and has been ranked as the world’s top player five times as well.
Off the court, she has worked as a model and also runs her own candy brand called Sugarpova. The photo below was taken at the 2012 ESPY Awards, where she won the trophy for best female tennis player for the fourth time.
Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has consistently been one of her sport’s biggest names since the early 2010s, despite having only won a single Grand Slam singles title. Wozniacki has racked up tens of millions of dollars in earnings, however, from winning 30 singles titles since turning pro in 2005. In December 2019, she announced she would retire from tennis after the 2020 Australian Open.
The likable Wozniacki is married to former NBA player David Lee. In 2015, she was seen at the ESPY Awards, where her leggy look caught many eyes.
After racking up an astounding five medals, including four golds, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, gymnast Simone Biles was already being called one of the sport’s all-time greats. The pint-sized dynamo stands at 4 feet 8 inches, but has the strength and personality of a giant. Like her teammate, Aly Raisman, Biles competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and finished fourth in 2017.
She’s written a book about her life, “Courage to Soar,” which was turned into a Lifetime movie in 2018. Biles was pictured below at the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, where she won the trophy for favorite female athlete.
This Brazilian fighter is one of only two women who can say they knocked out Ronda Rousey. Amanda Nunes is one of the UFC’s most dominant stars, having not lost a fight since September 2014, a 10-match streak that includes her star-making domination of Rousey in 2016.
In August 2018, Nunes announced that she was engaged to fellow UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff. In 2016, she was honored by Equality California for helping bring visibility to LGBTQ rights. The photo below was taken at the reception for that award.
Alongside her older brother, Alex, Maia Shibutani has dazzled fans of figure skating worldwide with her skills in ice dancing. The “Shib Sibs” won two bronze medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, becoming the first American siblings to ever share an ice dancing medal.
The 25-year-old skater is a major social media star, with more than 375,000 Instagram followers and 160,000 YouTube subscribers. In August 2018, she was spotted on the red carpet at the premiere of Netflix’s movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” showing off her style.
Known in WWE as the “Irish Lass Kicker,” Becky Lynch might have the best nickname — and hair — of any athlete on this list. She’s a favorite among pro wrestling fans for her intense style, thrilling matches and ability to handle a microphone. The 32-year-old has been with the WWE since 2013, where she became the company’s first-ever SmackDown Women’s Champion in 2016. Outside the ring, she holds a college degree in acting and has done some TV stunt work.
In 2019, she revealed that she was engaged to fellow WWE star Seth Rollins. In April 2018, she attended the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas and showed off those red locks for the cameras.
Yet another woman you do not want to mess with on this list is boxer Claressa Shields. The Michigan native exploded onto the boxing scene as a teenager, winning gold medals in the women’s middleweight division at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. That made her the first American boxer of any gender to win consecutive golds. She turned pro in 2016 and is undefeated so far in 10 fights, winning world titles in multiple weight classes.
Now 24 years old, Shields has also done some acting and is set to have a movie made about her life. Outside the ring, she does work for Up2Us Sports, a non-profit that helps train underprivileged kids, and was pictured below at the group’s 2016 gala in New York City, where she showed off her guns and one of her gold medals.
A legitimate role model and one of the greatest track athletes in history, Allyson Felix could leave just about anyone in the dust if she wanted to. She competed as part of Team USA from 2004 to 2016, becoming the only female track athlete in Olympic history to win six gold medals (not to mention the three silver medals she’s also won).
Off the track, Felix holds a degree in elementary education from the University of Southern California and has worked as an international ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Despite being a world-renowned athlete for more than 15 years, she’s managed to keep her personal life mostly under wraps. The shot below was taken at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards, where she was nominated for sportswoman of the year for a third time.
At just 22 years old, Katie Ledecky already stands as arguably the greatest woman swimmer to ever enter a pool. She’s been a star for Team USA since the 2012 Olympics, where she won her first gold medal at just 15 years old. Since then, she’s won four more golds and a silver, often dominating the other world-class swimmers she faces. At the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she’s expected to compete for Team USA yet again.
Ledecky went to school at Stanford University, where she studied psychology and was a star swimmer before turning pro in 2018. The shot below was taken at the 2016 Golden Goggle Awards, honoring the best in American swimming.
She’s not even 30 years old yet, but Sasha Banks has already been a groundbreaker since she debuted for the WWE in 2012. Her look is as eye-catching as her wrestling skills and she’s been involved in a few of the best matches in the company’s recent history. In 2016, she was part of the first women’s match to ever headline a WWE pay-per-view event. In real life, Banks is first cousins with Snoop Dogg and R&B singer Brandy.
She remains one of WWE’s top stars and was pictured sparkling below at one of the company’s 2016 events in Germany.
Let’s face it, fencing never seemed all that cool. But Ibtihaj Muhammad has been making it a must-watch sport at the Olympics since 2016. That year, the New Jersey native became the first female Muslim-American athlete to win an Olympic medal when she took home a bronze for team fencing. Muhammad has become a face for American Muslims, becoming the first for Team USA to compete at the Olympics while wearing a hijab. She’s served as an ambassador for the U.S. State Department and holds two degrees from Duke University.
In 2017, Mattel designed a Barbie based on Muhammad’s likeness, which was unveiled at Glamour’s 2017 Women of the Year Awards, where she was pictured below.
Mississippi-born Tori Bowie has become one of the brightest rising stars in American track and field. At the 2016 Olympics, she earned a gold, silver and bronze medal in various events. She was also a champion track athlete at the University of Southern Mississippi, from where she graduated in 2013 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
In addition to being one of the fastest women on Earth, she has also done some modeling, including for Valentino. In 2018, she was chosen as part of Sports Illustrated’s Fashionable 50, and you can see why from the photo below.
Nicknamed “The Boss,” April Ross has been one of the world’s top beach volleyball players for more than a decade. A two-time Olympic medalist, she won silver in 2012 with longtime partner Jen Kessy and bronze in 2016 with legendary player Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Ross is married to fellow volleyball player Bradley Keenan and holds a degree in international relations from the University of Southern California, where she was one of the school’s best players ever. Ross was pictured below at the 2016 ESPY Awards.
Like her longtime teammate April Ross, Jen Kessy was a star volleyball player at USC before becoming a decorated pro on the beach courts. Kessy and Ross won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, which was two years after she became just the eighth woman to earn more than $1 million in career earnings playing her sport.
Off the beach, she holds a history degree from USC and is married to French beach volleyball player Andy Cés, with whom she shares two daughters. The shot below was taken at a charity event benefiting California’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute in 2012.
Standing at just 5 feet 4 inches tall, Paige VanZant is definitely one of the smallest women in sports but she’d still knock your head off. The UFC fighter has headlined a pair of the company’s events since her 2012 debut in MMA, despite still looking for her first title. Outside the ring, VanZant has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” where she finished second in 2016, and has written a memoir, which came out in 2018.
Below, she can be seen at a fashion show during the 2016 New York Fashion Week.
When the U.S. women’s national soccer team won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, Sydney Leroux was a big part of the team, despite being its youngest member at the time. She was also with the team when it won the World Cup in 2015, further cementing her status as a hero of the sport. She’s also done endorsements for major companies including Nike, Nestlé and Beats by Dre.
Off the pitch, she’s married to fellow soccer player Dom Dwyer, with whom she has two kids. You can see her below at a 2014 event for ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body issue, which she posed for in 2013.
Speaking of athletes who’ve appeared in ESPN The Magazine’s Body issue, Leticia Bufoni became the first skateboarder to ever pose solo for it in 2015. She was just 22 years old at the time but had already been proving herself in the sport. Among her accomplishments in skateboarding are five gold medals at the X Games, including two in 2018, and a gold medal at the World Skateboarding Championship in 2015.
Bufoni also has more than 2.5 million followers on Instagram, making her a verified phenomenon in what is still a pretty niche sport. You can see her posing below on the orange carpet at the 2016 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, where she won the honor of queen of swag.
In 2014, 20-year-old Eugenie Bouchard became a major star in tennis when she made it to at least the semifinals of three of that year’s four grand slam tournaments, including the finals of Wimbledon. Despite failing to win the title at any of them, the Canadian player proved she had the skills to hang with the best players, climbing her way into the top five of the world’s rankings.
Now 25, Bouchard made news off the court in 2017, when she went on a date with a fan after losing a public bet with him on Twitter regarding the outcome of that year’s Super Bowl. In 2018, she posed for cameras at a kickoff party for the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.
One of the brightest new stars in women’s basketball, Arike Ogunbowale first became a big name in 2018, when she was playing college hoops at Notre Dame. That year, she led the Fighting Irish to their first women’s basketball championship in nearly 20 years and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. In 2019, she led Notre Dame back to the final again and was drafted by the WNBA’s Dallas Wings, finishing that season as part of the league’s All-Rookie team.
Off the court, Ogunbowale showed her moves on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2018. You can see her below showing off a great smile and an awesome jumpsuit on the red carpet at the 2019 ESPY Awards.
Another member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team who has been spotted on red carpets around the world is Christen Press. The Los Angeles native seems comfortable in the spotlight, winning two World Cups with the squad in 2015 and 2019. She also currently plays for the Utah Royals FC in the National Women’s Soccer League, where she’s been named one of the league’s best 11 players four times.
Press, 31, is expected to qualify for the USWNT once again when it competes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she’ll hopefully win her first medal. In 2015, she posed for cameras outside the ESPY Awards in a sleek dress.
She might stand at just 5 feet 5 inches and weigh about 115 pounds but Rose Namajunas is like a giant in the octagon. The UFC fighter who has the nickname “Thug” has a 9-3 career record since making her professional debut in 2013. Among her biggest wins was an epic fifth-round submission of Paige VanZant in 2015 and a 2017 TKO of Joanna Jędrzejczyk, which earned her the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship.
In 2017, Namajunas showed off her effortlessly cool style at a New York Fashion Week event.
While Rose Namajunas may be able to hit hard with her fists, golfer Troy Mullins is deadly with a driver. She is able to hit a golf ball nearly 400 yards off the tee, making her one of the world’s foremost competitors in long-drive competitions. To put that figure into perspective, the player with the longest average drive on the LPGA Tour in 2019 hit the ball 289 yards.
In 2017, Mullins told ESPN’s The Undefeated that she hits the ball “like a guy” and hopes to join the LPGA to further show her golf skills. In 2018, she showed off her fun personality on the red carpet at the ESPY Awards.
At 23 years old, Indigenous Australian tennis player Ashleigh Barty has become one of her sport’s biggest stars. She’s already got a French Open championship under her belt as part of her eight WTA singles tournament titles and began 2020 as the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player.
In 2019, she was named the WTA’s player of the year, arguably the most prestigious award in her sport. Also that year, she posed on the red carpet at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony, where she won an award given to the athlete who most inspired Australians in the previous year.
If you saw the 2011 film, “Soul Surfer,” you already know all about the inspiring story of Bethany Hamilton. The professional surfer, who was born in Hawaii, lost her left arm in 2003 when she was attacked by a shark while surfing at the age of 13. She didn’t let the event keep her out of the water for long, winning several major surfing championships in the years since it happened.
Hamilton wrote the memoir in 2004 that would later be turned into a film, making new fans around the world who would otherwise never follow professional surfing. In 2011, she posed on the red carpet at the ESPY Awards.
You’ll probably be seeing plenty of Kathleen Baker in the pool at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The American swimmer has already won gold and silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has stayed busy since turning professional in 2018. That year, she set a new world record in the 100-meter backstroke at the Swimming National Championships.
Despite all those accomplishments, Baker is now just 22 years old and has been an advocate for people with Crohn’s disease, which she also lives with. In 2015, she appeared on the red carpet at the Golden Goggle Awards, an event where she has won two honors so far.
When it comes to women’s soccer, it’s tough to find anyone who has accomplished as much as Carli Lloyd. The New Jersey native has won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cups as an integral member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. In addition to all that hardware, Lloyd was also named the women’s soccer player of the year by FIFA in 2015 and 2016.
In 2016, Lloyd became an author when she released her memoir, “When Nobody Was Watching.” In 2019, she posed for cameras at the InStyle Awards, showing off her powerful legs in a colorful dress.
If there’s one woman who doesn’t need high heels to lengthen her profile on the red carpet, it’s WNBA star Brittney Griner. At 6 feet 9 inches tall, she can tower over most anyone on or off the basketball court. That stature has helped make her one of the best women’s basketball players of her era, leading Baylor to an NCAA championship in 2012 before leading the Phoenix Mercury to a WNBA championship in 2014.
The six-time WNBA All-Star also made history by becoming the first openly gay athlete to sign an endorsement deal with Nike. You can see Griner’s style on display in an all-black suit and some Converse sneakers at the 2013 ESPY Awards.
Arguably the most dominant softball pitcher in history, Jennie Finch proved she could make virtually any hitter look silly on any day at any level of the game. She helped lead the Arizona Wildcats to a Women’s College World Series championship in 2001 and was later named the second-greatest college softball player in history by the NCAA. Finch also won a gold medal in softball at the 2004 Athens Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Off the field, she has made plenty of appearances on television, including as a competitor on “The Celebrity Apprentice” and “Dancing with the Stars,” the latter of which she appeared on in 2018. In 2012, Finch posed for photographers on the red carpet at the ESPY Awards.
One of the most popular and talented wrestlers in WWE today is Bayley. In 2019, she made history as the first person in WWE history to win the “grand slam” of women’s championships, which includes the four top titles in the company’s women’s division. She’s been acclaimed by fans and wrestling writers for her classic matches with other women on this list, including Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair.
In 2017, she appeared on the red carpet at WWE’s Mae Young Classic tournament, sporting a bold blue dress.
If you’ve watched women’s tennis in the past few years, you’ve probably seen Sloane Stephens in action. She’s become one of America’s best players, winning the U.S. Open in 2017 and competing in the finals at the French Open in 2018. That year, she was ranked as high as third in the world by the WTA.
In her spare time, she’s done some broadcasting work for Tennis Channel, a job she has said she’d like to continue once her playing career ends. You can see her below, posing on the red carpet at the 2014 ESPY Awards, wearing a dress that showed off how ripped she is.
One of the great veterans of American swimming, Natalie Coughlin has enough medals to fill several cases. At the Olympics alone, she’s won 12 medals across three different games, including three gold medals. Coughlin set several world records during her days in the pool, including becoming the first woman to ever swim a 100-meter backstroke in less than one minute.
She’s also competed on reality TV shows including “Dancing with the Stars” and Food Network’s “Chopped.” In 2013, she posed on the red carpet at a viewing party for the Golden Globe Awards in a sequin dress.
It’s pretty tough to top the career that basketball icon Diana Taurasi has had. While playing college ball at UConn, she led the Huskies to an incredible three national championships and she was only getting started. In the WNBA, she’s also won three titles, been named to nine All-Star Teams and is the league’s all-time leading scorer, making her arguably the greatest women’s basketball player in history.
Off the court, Taurasi is seen as an LGBTQ rights advocate and is married to her former teammate, Penny Taylor, with whom she has a son. In 2018, she posed in a sporty outfit at JBL Fest in Las Vegas.
Romanian superstar Simona Halep is one of the world’s best — and most popular — tennis players. In 2019, the 28-year-old was chosen by fans as their favorite player in the WTA for the third consecutive year. In addition to all that love from the fans, Halep has been fantastic on the court, becoming the world’s top-ranked player in 2017 and winning the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon crowns.
She has yet to win a match at the Olympics but is set to represent her home country once again at the 2020 Tokyo games. In 2015, she showed off her style at an event called Taste of Tennis in New York City.
After looking at the photo of Stephanie Gilmore below, taken at a 2015 event celebrating ESPN The Magazine’s Body issue, what would you guess is her sport?
Given her sun-kissed hair and skin tone, it’s pretty obvious she makes her living on a surfboard. The Australian athlete is one of pro surfing’s most decorated stars and has won seven world championships, which ties her at the top of the all-time list for women. Now 31 years old, Gilmore won her first world title in 2007, when she was just 19 years old.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Simone Manuel made an impressive bit of history by becoming the first African-American woman to ever win an individual medal in swimming at the Olympics. What made it more impressive was that her medal was gold. It was one of two gold medals — and four total medals — Manuel would win at the games that year, adding to her already impressive career in the pool.
The former All-American at Stanford is expected to once again represent America at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In 2019, she was pictured on the red carpet at the Golden Goggle Awards.
Her nickname, “The Karate Hottie,” may be a groaner but Michelle Waterson is unquestionably one of UFC’s most experienced fighters. The 5-foot-3-inch striker weighs in at just 115 pounds but has racked up a record of 17-6 in her professional career, which began in 2007. One thing that’s guaranteed when you watch one of her fights is that Waterson will give you your money’s worth, as her last five UFC fights have gone the distance, dating back to 2017.
Here she is at the E!, ELLE & IMG celebration to kick off New York Fashion Week in 2017.
It will be strange not to see Dana Vollmer swimming for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics because her time with the team stretches all the way back to 2004. At those games in Athens, Vollmer won her first medal, a gold, as part of the team relay event, then at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, she added six more medals to her tally, including four more golds. In 2019, the swimming icon announced her retirement from competitive swimming.
She’s also won five Golden Goggle Awards in her career, and she posed for the photo below at the 2016 gala.
Naomi Osaka has made some major history in women’s tennis, despite being just 22 years old. In 2019, she became the first Asian woman in history to be ranked as the world’s top player. Osaka has won just five WTA singles titles so far but two of them were Grand Slams, with her taking the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open crowns.
Her U.S. Open win, which came against Serena Williams, was also historic because she was the first Japanese player to ever win a Grand Slam singles title. Before all those big wins, Osaka posed for photographers at a 2017 pre-Wimbledon event in England.
After an incredible college basketball career at UConn, where she won two NCAA championships in undefeated seasons, Tina Charles was drafted first overall to the WNBA in 2010. In 2019, Charles became the all-time leading scorer for the New York Liberty, who play in her hometown. She was also an integral part of two gold-medal-winning turns for the U.S. women’s national basketball team at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
You can see her below, showing off a slick, all-black ensemble on the red carpet at the 2013 ESPY Awards.
Arguably the greatest judoka in American history, Kayla Harrison has since taken her expertise in martial arts into the professional fighting ring. Harrison won gold medals in judo at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, making her the first American to ever earn gold in that sport. In 2018, she made her debut as a mixed martial arts fighter in the Professional Fighters League, where she’s currently 7-0.
Harrison posed below at the 2012 Salute to Women in Sports Gala in New York, where she was given the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award.
Elena Delle Donne
Standing at 6 feet 5 inches, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne is nearly as tall as Michael Jordan — and she is able to dominate like him, as well. In 2019, Delle Donne led the Washington Mystics to their first-ever championship and earned her second league MVP honor. She made even more impressive history that season by becoming the first WNBA player to join the 50/40/90 club, meaning she shot at least 50% from the floor, 40% from three-point range and 90% from the free-throw line for the season.
In 2014, she turned heads on the red carpet at an ESPN event in New York City.
You may have seen Julie Ertz in the memorable Visa ad where she and her husband, NFL star Zach Ertz, compete incessantly. But if that was your introduction to her, then you haven’t been watching much soccer in the past decade. Ertz has been a major part of the U.S. women’s national soccer team since 2015, helping the team win two World Cups. For her work on the pitch, Ertz has twice been named U.S. soccer’s female athlete of the year, including in 2019.
You can see her below on the red carpet at the 2018 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
If you watched the 2012 London Olympics at all, you remember swimmer Missy Franklin becoming a national hero. At just 17 years old at the time, Franklin would win five medals, including four golds, at those games. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she added another gold medal to her trophy room. In 2018, at the age of 23, Franklin announced her retirement from competitive swimming, saddening fans around the world.
In 2019, she got married to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson. You can see Franklin below, posing on the red carpet at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.
One of the toughest women on the planet, fighter Cris Cyborg has made some impressive history in mixed martial arts. In 2020, she became the first fighter in history to win championships across four MMA promotions, with titles in UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator and Invicta FC. The Brazilian holds an all-time record of 22-2, dating back to 2005.
In 2010, she posed on the red carpet at the World Mixed Martial Arts Awards, where she’s twice been named female fighter of the year.