Sports aren’t just for men…The most famous athletes in the world often seem to be men like Cristiano Ronaldo, Tom Brady, and Conor McGregor – names that everybody knows. However, sports at their top level are not just for male athletes. Women show the same dedication and skill as men. Many of them have been even more successful.
So today, we’re going to take a look at 30 of the most powerful female athletes in the world today. Many of them have had to face obstacles along their journeys. Overall, they’re simply brilliant at what they do. These sports stars come from a wide range of fields, from tennis and snowboarding to soccer and basketball.
Women can do everything men can. Check out 30 of the most powerful female athletes in the world today in our list below.
30. Carli Lloyd
Lloyd was the star of the 2015 World Cup. She’s one of the US Women’s National Team’s (USWNT’s) most important players. To summarize her accomplishments, she’s a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and a two-time FIFA World Player of the Year. Furthermore, she scored the winning goals in the finals of both Olympics.
The soccer icon has spent the majority of her career in the United States with a brief spell on loan with Manchester City. She became the first player to score in six successive Women’s World Cup Games. In short, Lloyd is one of the most decorated soccer players of all-time.
If you want to talk about truly powerful athletes, Thomas is one of the most deserving of this list. The Frenchwoman was a successful businesswoman in London but soon became sick and tired of her lifestyle. Thomas is now one of the biggest names in spearfishing.
Now, that’s how she spends her life. The glamorous huntress travels around the world and has set multiple spearfishing records. She’s also a massive Instagram personality with thousands of followers. Her appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast also helped boost her to new levels of popularity.
If it weren’t for a certain pair of sisters, Stephens’ name would probably earn a lot more respect. She’s an exceptional tennis player. First of all, athletics are in her blood. Both of her parents were collegiate athletes. She burst onto the scene when she won the US Open in 2017, her first Grand Slam title.
Stephens has won 6 WTA tour titles so far in her career. She’s beaten the very best in the sport, including Serena Williams. Stephens has also worked with Soles4Souls, a charity that collects shoes for children in poverty. There’s more to come from the tennis star.
An Olympic gold medalist at the age of 17, Kim has always been a high-flyer. That made her the youngest woman to win a gold medal in snowboarding. Kim has always been an exceptional talent. The Korean-American is a four-time X Games champion and the first woman to win two gold medals in snowboarding at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Kim has featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and is definitely the most popular personality in snowboarding. The 19-year-old is currently studying at Princeton University. The Californian was even the subject of a replica Barbie doll. That’s when you know you’ve made it in sports.
Norway’s Hegerberg was the first-ever recipient of the Ballon d’Or Feminin. The reason behind that is that she’s an absolutely magnificent player. Hegerberg averages over a goal a game, an unprecedented scoring record at the highest level of women’s soccer. She also holds the record for most goals scored in a single Champion’s League campaign.
Furthermore, Hegerberg is famed for her activism. She refused to play in the 2019 World Cup after a dispute with the Norwegian FA. The Norwegian is one of soccer’s most talented players. She currently stars for French side Lyon and has played a key part in making them the strongest team in Europe.
Halep is a massive star in her native Romania, where she’s by far the country’s most popular athlete. With all of her success in tennis, it’s no wonder. Halep has won two Grand Slam titles and has held the world number one spot for a total of 64 weeks. Also, she has beaten Serena Williams twice, handing the star the worst defeat of her decorated career in their first meeting.
She’s so fanatical about her sport that she actually got breast reduction surgery to improve her athleticism. To sum up, that’s true dedication to the cause. Halep is one of the best returners on the WTA. She’s a recipient of the Order of the Star of Romania, the nation’s highest civil honor.
Griner was the number one high school player in the nation back in 2009. Her career has only gone from strength-to-strength since then. Griner is the only NCAA women’s player to score 2000 points and block 500 shots. She’s been with the Phoenix Mercury since 2013, with whom she won the WNBA finals.
Griner is a physical specimen. Standing 6’9″ tall, she has all the natural advantages to prosper in basketball. She’s also an LGBT icon and has spoken out against bullying on many occasions. In particular, Griner wants to focus on LGBT issues, using her personal story as an inspiration for others.
It took Wozniacki 14 years to win her maiden Grand Slam title when she won the 2018 Australian Open. However, she’s been at the top of the game for a long time and is a former world number one. Wozniacki was the first Scandinavian tennis player to top the world rankings. That’s how good she is.
The Danish superstar has won 30 WTA singles titles. Consequently, Wozniacki has earned roughly $34 million in prize money. Remarkably, Wozniacki is managing to fight through rheumatoid arthritis. The Danish beauty has modeled for Sports Illustrated and ESPN’s “Body Issue.”
The women’s hockey legend is now playing for Les Canadiennes de Montreal. However, Knight made her name with the Wisconsin Badgers, with whom she won a national championship. Knight is the Badgers’ all-time leader in goals, power-play goals, and short-handed goals. In short, she’s a scoring machine.
Knight won Olympic gold in Pyeonchang with Team USA. She’s represented her country since 2008 when she was the youngest member of the squad. The hockey star has also won eight World Championships with her nation. Consequently, Knight is one of the most significant players in US team history.
Fu became a star in Rio De Janeiro with a series of candid interviews during the tournament. In short, she was a breath of fresh air and a far cry from conventional Chinese athletes. Her goofy facial expressions made her very popular and she attracted many new fans to watch her swim.
Typically, Chinese athletes have a reputation for conservatism and being manufactured by the state. However, Fu’s cheerful personality made her a swimming icon in her home country. She also attracted praise for explaining that she was on her period after her lackluster performance in the medley relay. Fu is a big star in China.
Ok, technically Copeland is a dancer, not a sports star. But that doesn’t take away from her athletic qualities, which is why she’s on this list. The prodigy rose to stardom, despite only coming to ballet at the age of 13. American Ballet Theatre recognized her qualities by making her a principal dancer. She was the first African-American ever to achieve this honor in the 75 years of the organization.
As such, Copeland has opened new doors for many young people who would have felt that a career in ballet was beyond their means. Copeland’s athletic capabilities are incredible. To be a ballet dancer, you need to have total control of your body like a martial artist. Her flexibility and dynamism are ludicrous and worthy of being recognized on this list.
Morgan was the first woman to be featured on the front of FIFA’s incredibly successful video game series. The USWNT member is one of the most successful soccer stars on the planet. She won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. Furthermore, she helped the US to Olympic gold. Morgan is one of the key reasons behind Team USA’s international success.
The Orlando Pride forward is one of the USWNT’s three team captains. One of her greatest achievements was helping French side Lyon to a continental European treble, including a UEFA Women’s Champion’s League. Morgan is also the top-paid female soccer star in the world. She’s worth every dollar.
Parker has been an absolute powerhouse for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. She’s one of the best female basketball players ever and was the first overall draft pick in 2008. Eight years later, Parker helped the Sparks to their first WNBA Finals title since 2002. As a result, she won the WNBA Finals MVP award.
The basketball star is a two-time WBNA All-Star. She’s also an Olympic gold medalist, helping the US beat France back in 2012. The veteran is one of the biggest names in women’s basketball. She’s even a studio analyst for the CBS coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Jenneke first achieved world recognition when a video of her pre-race warmup went viral. The Australian’s dance moves caught the attention of millions of people around the world. They were even featured on “The Tonight Show” in the US. Since then, Jenneke has gone from strength to strength and has even been featured in Sports Illustrated.
She has two silver medals from the Youth Olympic Games and competed in Rio De Janeiro. Now, she’s looking to maximize her potential and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Jenneke has the hearts of her fans pulsing around the world. Let’s hope she makes it.
Adams is a boxing phenom. She’s the first female double-Olympic gold medalist after becoming the flyweight champion at back-to-back Games. ‘Babyface’ has won every amateur accolade available, including the Olympic, Commonwealth and European Games, as well as the World, European, and European Union titles.
Then, she turned professional and has since taken the game by storm. Adams is currently the WBO flyweight champion. Openly bisexual, she’s an inspiration to young LGBT men and women in the UK. Adams was the first openly LGBT Olympic champion and was Britain’s Most Influential LGBT personality.
Stokke burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old. The pole vaulter became an internet phenomenon because of her good looks. In short, she achieved unsought sex symbol status and was the subject of a national and international debate on the sexualization of young female athletes. Somehow, she emerged from this stronger than ever.
The internet star is by no means just a beauty. She’s a very talented athlete and continues to compete at a national level. Despite failing to make the Olympic team, Stokke remains active in her sport. Stokke is in a relationship with professional golfer Rickie Fowler. She’s also a highly successful sportswear model.
It seems like Shiffrin is the heir-apparent to Lindsey Vonn. The 24-year-old is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. She’s also the youngest slalom champion in Olympic history after obtaining gold at the age of 18. Furthermore, she’s one of just five Americans to win the World Cup title overall. This woman means business.
Shiffrin is the only female athlete to win 15 races in a calendar year. Then, in 2019, Shiffrin went even further. She became the first athlete, male or female, to win 17 races in a calendar year. To sum it up, the Colorado native is a truly exceptional talent. She has been the subject of multiple documentaries. You can expect more from her soon as well.
The most decorated US gymnast of all-time, Biles has won an unprecedented 25 Olympic and World Championship medals. She’s also the first American gymnast to win a World medal in every event. Many believe that the 22-year-old is the greatest gymnast of all-time. She’s going to Tokyo 2020 hoping to cement her legacy as the best ever.
Biles’s senior debut came alongside Youtube sensation Katelyn Ohashi back in 2013. The Texan is worth an estimated $4 million. That’s not bad for an amateur athlete. Biles was also a recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award after the horrific Larry Nasser sexual abuse scandal.
When Zhang knocked out Jessica Andrade at UFC Shenzen, you could see the dollar signs shining in Dana White’s eyes. The UFC finally had a Chinese champion after debuting their all-new UFC Performance Institute in the country. Zhang demolished the former flyweight champ in front of her home crowd. It couldn’t have worked out any better for the promotion or for Zhang.
The 30-year-old has won 20 fights in a row. Zhang is like a cyclone of violence. She possesses devastating knockout power and dynamic striking. Nobody wanted to fight her before she won the title, but now they’ve no choice if they want the belt. Zhang is here to stay. 2020 is going to be even bigger for China’s first-ever UFC champion.
The former alpine ski racer is a legend of the sport. Vonn won four World Cup overall championships, one of just two women to do so. She helped expose the sport to a wider audience and won the US Olympic Committee’s sportswoman of the year award in 2010.
Vonn has also won praise for her stances on politics. She insists she represents the people and not the president. Vonn has refused to visit the White House for that reason. The Minnesota native is the most successful US skier in history. After a highly distinguished career, she retired in 2019.
Can you believe Ledecky is still just 22? Her achievements are quite simply mind-boggling. Ledecky doesn’t look like she’s going to stop setting records either. Back in 2012, she broke onto the scene as a 15-year-old, winning Olympic gold in her first attempt. In that regard, Michael Phelps has nothing on her.
Ledecky holds the records for the women’s 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle events. She holds a total of 34 medals across the Olympic Games, World Championships, and Pan Pacific Championships. The Washington DC native has managed to break 14 world records in the process. As of now, she looks unstoppable.
It looks like it might finally be Johnson-Thompson’s time. The Liverpudlian won the 2019 heptathlon world championships in a stunning performance. Although it feels like she’s been around forever, Johnson-Thompson is still just 26. However, she has finally matured as an athlete, and just in time for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Scouser has had to live in the shadow of gold medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill for too long. Now she looks set to take over her fellow Brit’s mantle and pursue gold in Japan. Hopefully, now she can deal with the pressure and expectation that she’ll carry on her shoulders as a leading light of Team Great Britain.
Brazilian striker Marta is one of the most accomplished players in the history of women’s soccer. With 17 goals, she has the record for most goals scored at FIFA World Cups. Her consistency saw her win the FIFA World Player of the Year award six times. Five of those accolades were successive. She’s quite simply a force of nature.
Marta is also the first player – male or female – to score at five World Cups. Her flair, quick feet, and exceptional skill on the ball have won her many admirers. Many regard her as the greatest female soccer player of all-time despite never winning the World Cup. She’s currently playing for the Orlando Pride.
Technically she just retired, but Patrick’s influence is such that she can’t be left off of this list. No other woman has been as important to NASCAR as the recently-departed legend. She first started racing go-karts as a 10-year-old back home in Wisconsin. Patrick fell in love with motorsports and became the first woman to win an Indycar race.
Patrick holds the record for most top 10 finishes by a woman in the Sprint Cup Series. She also became the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole position at the 2013 Daytona 500. In a sport overwhelmingly dominated by men, Patrick has always been an outlier.
Thompson is just extraordinarily talented. She qualified for her first US Women’s Open when she was 12 years old. Then, at the age of 15, she turned professional. Most of us are still in high school then. However, Thompson isn’t most people. She won her first LPGA tournament when she was 16. That’s how good she is.
The golfer went on to win her first major at the age of 19, claiming the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Thompson has won 11 tournaments in her professional career so far. Now 24, the future looks bright for Thompson as she matures into a consistent world-class talent. She’s estimated to be worth about $13 million.
The Brazilian MMA fighter is quite simply a powerhouse. Nunes is a two-weight UFC champion. First of all, she beat Miesha Tate to win the bantamweight title before brutally defending it against Ronda Rousey. Few, if any, women can stand in front of her and withstand her fearsome power. She’s a true knockout artist.
Then she solidified her legacy as the greatest female MMA fighter on the planet with a sensational first-round knockout win over former champion Cris Cyborg. This was a truly stunning victory. Consequently, ‘The Lioness’ is the most feared female fighter in the world. She’s also an LGBT icon as the UFC’s first openly gay champion.
If you listened to Taylor speak, you’d never guess what she does for a living. The undisputed lightweight champion of the world is incredibly softspoken despite the fact she’s brutal in the ring. Forget about Conor McGregor, Taylor is the combat sports star who has the most respect in her native Ireland. That’s a fact.
Taylor won gold at the London Olympics. She turned pro after a disappointing showing in Rio De Janeiro. After resolving issues in her private life, she made it her mission to become the unified lightweight champion. Taylor finally achieved that in 2019 with a hard-fought victory over Belgium’s Delfine Persoons. She has singlehandedly made people care about women’s boxing in her home country.
What a year it’s been for Rapinoe. She captained the USWMNT to back-to-back World Cup wins in 2015 and 2019. Not only that, but she also managed to finish as the top scorer in the most recent edition of the tournament. FIFA recognized her remarkable 2019 by giving her the Player of the Year award.
Rapinoe is also one of the most vocal female athletes in the world today. Activism is very important to her, as can be seen from her confrontations with President Trump. She’s taken the knee on multiple occasions and has also been very vocal in support of LGBT rights. Consequently, the Reign FC captain is one of the most important sports stars on the planet today.
Move over Serena, there’s a new girl in town. Osaka took the world by storm in 2018 and looks to be the natural successor to Williams as tennis’s biggest superstar. The Japanese-Haitian tennis player has won two Grand Slams, most notably beating Williams in the US Open.
Despite not speaking Japanese, Osaka is a massive star in her mother’s home country. In short, she looks set to benefit from that financially and be one of the icons of the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Furthermore, Osaka’s mixed-race heritage is emblematic of an evolving Japan, and her star power is set to soar as a result.
Williams remains the most marketable female athlete in the world today. The most successful female tennis player of all-time, there just aren’t enough superlatives to describe her career. She has won 23 major singles titles. In short, that’s more than any other player, male or female. Williams has also won 14 doubles titles, all with her sister Venus.
The tennis superstar’s net worth is an estimated $180 million. Williams has won awards for her activism directed towards black communities. She’s held up as an inspiration for young girls around the world and is one of the most influential female athletes of all-time.