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Famous Female Athletes

It's no secret that a majority of popular sports figures are male. Outside of events like the Olympics, the media doesn't put as much emphasis on professional women's sports as it does its male counterparts. However, women have made significant impacts on the world of sports, in from running and swimming, to sled dog racing and archery, and everything in between. Several women have become famous for their contributions to both woman's athletics and the whole sporting world in general.


Billie Jean King

One of the most well-known of the famous female athletes is Billie Jean King, who can likely be considered one of the greatest tennis players in history. She won thirty nine grand slam titles, and was inducted into the international Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. Always an advocate for gender equality, King challenged tennis star Bobby Riggs to a Battle of the Sexes tennis match in 1973, when she was only 29 years old. She won.


Lisa Leslie

Possibly one of the most popular women's sports is professional women's basketball, in which Lisa Leslie is a household name. A four time Olympic Gold medalist and three-time MVP, Leslie set an American Olympic scoring record in the semifinals of the 1996 Olympics, held in Japan. In 2002, Leslie performed the first slam dunk in a WNBA game, and became the first woman to score over 3,000 total career points.


Nadia Comaneci

The 1976 Summer Olympics changed history, when Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect score in a gymnastic event. She is arguably one of the most famous gymnasts worldwide, and was named one of the athletes of the century in 2000, by the Laureus World Sports Academy. She has twice received the Olympic Order, the highest award given by the international Olympic Committee.


Mia Hamm

In the world of professional soccer, there is no woman quite as strong as Mia Hamm. In fact, there's not really any man either, as she held the record for most international goals in the sport, for both male and female players, until the record was broken in 2013 (by another female, Abby Wambach). The first two times FIFA awarded its World Player of the Year honor, in 2001 and 2002, the award was given to Hamm. She has been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame as well as various state halls.


Anna Kournikova

Anna Kournikova is more than just one of the most popular search terms in Google history. Aside from being a poster girl for beauty, she's also a great tennis player. She started at a very young age, and at only 14, she won the European Championship and the Italian Open.


Jennie Finch

While men have baseball, women have softball, and the most famous softball player in history, according to Time magazine, is Jennie Finch. Finch led the United States Softball Team to the gold in the 2004 Summer Olympics, and silver in the 2008 Olympics. Due to her beauty and talent, Finch became a mainstream icon, and helped debunk the myth that female athletes can't remain feminine.

And if you're making a list of the most famous female athletes of all time, then perhaps Babe" Didrikson Zaharias and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena would be good candidates as well.

 

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