Top 10 Female Athletes of 2016
From the Rio Olympic Games to the WNBA and Grand Slam titles in tennis and golf, there have been so many great female performers. GoodSport presents the list of the Top 10.
10. Kerri Walsh Jennings
For the first time in her Olympic career, Kerri Walsh Jennings did not win the gold medal. But at 38, the oldest woman on this list, captivated the nation, taking home bronze with teammate, April Ross, in Rio. The mother of three, who has won more medals than anyone in beach volleyball history, has not ruled out a return in the 2020 Olympics Games.
9. Brooke Henderson
What were you doing when you were 18-years-old.? Canadian golfer Brooke Henderson won her first LPGA major title, defeating Lydia Ko in a playoff at the KPMG LPGA Championship. The Ontario-native also has finished in the Top 10 fifteen times this year, setting up for a memorable 2017 and possibly the top spot in the world golf rankings.
8. Alex Morgan
Despite the US National Team’s disappointing performance at the Olympics, Alex Morgan once again proved her dominance in women’s soccer.
At the SheBelievesCup invitational, a four-team pre-Olympic competition featuring the US, England, France and Germany, Morgan won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball award for tournament scoring leader and MVP, respectively.
In her first 16 starts this year, Morgan has already scored 15 goals.
7. Serena Williams
2016 was not Williams’ best year, but it was good enough to make this list as she continues to climb WTA’s records books
With her championship run at Wimbledon, the 35-year-old veteran tied Steffi Graf for most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era with 22, leaving her just two shy of Margaret Court’s all-time mark.
6. Allyson Felix
Despite failing to qualify for the 200-meter race, Allyson Felix participated in three events in the Rio Olympics, and medaling in all three.
The four-time Olympian won gold medals in the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relays, adding silver in the 400-meter individual race.
With nine total medals, Felix is tied with Merlene Ottey as the most decorated track and field female athlete in Olympic history.
5. Nneka Ogumike
Regular season MVP, check.
Post-Season MVP, check.
WNBA champion, check.
In 2016, Nneka Ogumike led the Los Angeles Sparks to the WNBA Championship for the first time since 2002 and is only one of 7 women to win the Triple Crown of women’s professional basketball.
4. Angelique Kerber
For the first time since February 2013, a woman not-named Serena Williams was ranked number-one in the world tennis rankings.
With Angelique Kerber winning the Australian Open and the US Open, both Grand Slam events. She claimed the honor of the WTA’s top-ranked player. At 28-years-old, she became the oldest player ever to reach the top of the rankings for the first time.
Kerber, also represented Germany at the Rio Olympics, winning a silver medal
3. Breanna Stewart
After finishing her career at UConn with her four national championships, Breanna Stewart, who was the consensus NCAA women’s player of the year, was selected number one overall in the WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm.
The honors kept coming or Stewart, who captured the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year award before joining Team USA in Rio where she contributed just over eight points a game while helping the team capture another gold medal
And just for good measure, Steward home a 2016 ESPY for Female Athlete of the Year.
2. Simone Biles
Along with her American teammates, Biles captured a gold medal in the team competiotnl and then won the individual all-around competition, floor excercise , and the vault.
With a bronze in the balance beam, Biles joined Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin as American who won five medals in a single Olympics.
Biles was chosen by the Team USA to be the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies, making her the first female gymnast to be given the honor.
1. Katie Ledecky
Did anyone have a better year that Katie Ledecky? Um, no.
After surprising the world by winning a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle in the 2012 London Olympics, expectations were high for the 19-year-old from Ohio. She met every single one of them, winning four gold and one silver medal. Ledecky set two more world records in the process.
Ledecky currently is the world’s fastest women in the 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle events.