It may be hard to believe, but there is historical evidence which shows that human beings have been getting inked as far back as the 4th millennium BC. The oldest tattoo ever was discovered on human skin that belonged to a body that scientist referred to as "Otzi the Iceman" – who lived sometime around 3100 BC.
While tattoos as an art form have come a long way since Otzi’s time, we have also seen a shift in how they are perceived. At one point time – in the not so distant past – tats where often associated with outlaws or those who live on the fringes of society. However, these days, it isn’t unusual to see white-collar professionals and even corporate executives sporting some ink.
Another field where we have seen a growing number of tattoos is professional sports. Many of the most famous athletes in the world proudly flaunt some impressive body art, while competing at the highest level. What may surprise some folks (albeit fewer than it would have in years past) is that many of these athletes are female.
These women are some of the most highly regarded athletes in their respective sports and in many cases are also considered to be among the most beautiful.
Now it’s time to take a look at 15 female athletes with some the best tattoos on the planet.
15 Christmas Abbott
Raleigh, North Carolina’s Christmas Abbott is CrossFit athlete who is known for sporting some impressive tats. The 5-foot-3 fitness fanatic is also known for appearing on the CBS reality television show Big Brother and working as a member of a Nascar pit crew.
Christmas Abbott is unique in that she has made a name for herself in several different industries. She is arguably best known for appearing on Big Brother, where she managed to make it to the season finale – ultimately finishing 3rd overall in the competition. Outside of being a reality star, Abbott made racing history by becoming the 1st female to work on a NASCAR pit crew. These days she runs her own CrossFit gym and recently announced (last March) that she is expecting her 1st child.
14 Sydney Leroux
Sydney Leroux is a soccer player who was born in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Despite being born in Canada, she is also a US citizen who has made a name for herself while competing as a member of the US national team. The 5-foot-7 forward has around 15 tattoos, many of which honor her mother, who raised the soccer star by herself. Her tats were even the subject of the AOL’s series My Ink, back in 2013 – where she discussed them in detail.
As a member of the US national team, Sydney Leroux won Olympic gold at the London Games in 2012. She was also a part of Team USA when they won the World Cup in 2015. Leroux currently plays for the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
Amy Dumas is a professional wrestler out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida who performs under the ring name Lita. Her shoulder tattoo, which she displayed during many her matches, was one of her defining characteristics. In fact, an argument can be made that Lita was the first female wrestler with a visible tattoo to become so popular in the industry.
Lita is widely considered to be one of the most successful female performers in the history of the business. She is best known for her time in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where she was paired with Matt and Jeff Hardy, who are collectively known as the Hardy Boyz. The 5-foot-6 starlet also had a very successful singles career where she captured the WWE Women’s Championship on 4 separate occasions.
12 Megan Anderson
Megan Anderson is a mixed martial artist who hails from Gold Coast Queensland, Australia. The 6-foot tall brunette is currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but has yet to make her debut with the promotion. Anderson’s long, athletic physique is covered in a variety of unique (and highly detailed) tattoos. In fact, in her Twitter bio, she even refers to herself as an “Aussie tattoo collector.”
Megan Anderson had an amazing run while competing in Invicta FC – an organization that showcases female fighters. During her time in the promotion, she went 4-1; on her way to capturing the interim featherweight (145 pounds) title – before being signed by the UFC. She was scheduled to fight Cris Cyborg in her promotional debut, but pulled out citing “personal issues."
11 Charlotte Flair
Ashley Fliehr is pro wrestler who is better known by her ring name Charlotte Flair. She is the daughter of the legendary Ric Flair –a former 16-time world champion. Her most visible tattoo is located on her ribs and reads, “ Guard your heart above all else, for it will determine the course of your life” – a quote from the bible – which she got while going through a divorce. She also has a tattoo on her side dedicated to her brother Reid Flair, who passed away in 2013.
Despite having only been a member of WWE’s main roster since 2016, the 5-foot-10 blonde from Charlotte, North Carolina is already a 5-time world champ.
10 Kerri Walsh Jennings
Santa Clara, California’s Kerri Walsh Jennings is a beach volleyball player whose impressive height and warm personality have earned her the nickname “Six Feet of Sunshine.” The 6-foot-3 blonde is best known for appearing in several Olympic Games alongside her teammate, Misty May-Treanor. Jennings has only 1 visible tattoo – an infinity sign on her stomach. The meaning behind the piece is unclear, and the volleyball star has never publicly addressed the issue.
39-year-old Kerri Walsh Jennings is one of the best in the business when it comes to the sport of beach volleyball. She captured 3 Olympic gold medals with her partner Misty May-Treanor and a bronze medal with April Ross at the most recent Summer Games held in Rio de Janeiro – making her the most decorated player in Olympic history.
9 Anastasia Yankova
Anastasia Yankova is a mixed martial artist who currently competes for Bellator MMA. The 27-year-old, who was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, has several tattoos on various parts of her body. In an interview with RT.com, she had the following to say about her tattoo’s, "Each one of them is a part of me. And even my mom, who didn't want to talk to me for one day after I got my first big tattoo, says that she can't imaging me without them already. There are no random tattoos on my body – each one has its meaning to me. It all started with that small one I have on my forearm. It says: "Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee." The famous saying of the great boxer Muhammad Ali. It's a reminder for me. In and out of the ring."
Her current professional record stands at 5-0.
8 Misty May-Treanor
Misty May-Treanor is a retired beach volleyball player out of Los Angeles, California. She is best known for competing in the Summer Olympics with her longtime teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings. The 5-foot-10 brunette has several tattoos; many of which pay homage to family members. She was her grandmother’s initials on her back, along with angel that features her mother’s initials – among her most noteworthy tats.
With 112 championships to her credit; Misty May-Treanor is the most accomplished female player in the sport’s history. She won 3 Olympic gold medals at Athens, Beijing, and London respectively. In 2016, she was officially inducted into Volleyball Hall of Fame. Outside of beach volleyball, folks may remember Treanor for her appearance on the hit television show Dancing with the Stars.
7 Ashlyn Harris
Ashlyn Harris is currently the goalie for the US national women’s soccer team. The 5-foot-9 native of Satellite Beach, Florida has both of her arms covered in Tattoos. She discussed her fondness for tattoos with Orlando Sentinel last August. “I love tattoos because it’s a good form of pain for me,” she explained. “To some people, it probably seems crazy, but I love to sit and feel alive and feel the scars. It’s almost like checking off all the painful things that I’ve been through. All these things on my body tell a story, and it’s super deep, and it’s super important, and it reminds me I’m still here.”
Harris was a member of the national team when they won the world cup back in 2015. She currently plays for the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League.
6 Jessamyn Duke
Jessamyn Duke is a mixed martial artist who previously fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The 5-foot-11 brawler, out of Whitesburg, Kentucky also has several tattoos –with the most prominent one covering the majority of her left arm. Duke is probably best known for being one of MMA’s Four Horsewomen; a stable of female fighters that features former UFC champ, Ronda Rousey.
After appearing as a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter, Duke went on to fight 4 times for the promotion. However, the Bantamweight (135 pounders) had little success. The Kentucky product went 1-3 in the UFC, before being released back in 2015. She went on to sign with the all-female fight promotion Invicta FC and has lost her 1st couple bouts. Duke is currently in the midst of a 5-fight losing streak.
5 Brittney Palmer
Originally from Utah, Brittney Palmer is a model and Octagon girl for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). She has been on the cover of several magazines including FHM, Maxim, and even Playboy. At present, Palmer has 3 visible tattoos. Her most prominent piece, located on her upper back, reads, “But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes, Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.” The back tat is a quote from William Shakespeare about narcissism. She also has a (self?) portrait on her left arm, along with a rosary on her left foot.
Brittney Palmer is one of only 3 Octagon girls to be named Ringcard Girl of the Year – a title she was awarded in both 2012 and 2013 respectively. The only other women to win the title are Arianny Celeste and Jhenny Andrade.
4 Velvet Sky
Jane Szantyr is a retired professional wrestler who performed under the ring name Velvet Sky. The 36-year-old entertainer has a large tattoo on her harm as well as another located on her lower back. While she isn’t covered in tats, like some of the other ladies on our list, Sky’s ink is defiantly noticeable.
Velvet Sky is best known for her time as a member of Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling, where she was a member of a faction known as The Beautiful People. The group featured other popular female wrestlers from the promotion including Angelina Love, Madison Rayne, and Lacey Von Erich. The native of New Britain, Connecticut also had a very successful singles run. In fact, she captured the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship on two separate occasions as a solo act.
3 Federica Pellegrini
Frederica Pellegrino is a professional swimmer who hails from Mirano, Italy. She has a total of 5 tattoos on various parts of her body. The swimmer got her first tattoo at the age of 14 – a dragon on her right ankle. She previously had a tattoo that read “Balu on her right heel, to honor of boyfriend, which she eventually had removed once they broke up. Her most noticeable tattoo is a phoenix on the left side of her neck – a symbol of rebirth. She got the Phoenix when she was 17, after moving from Verona to Milon.
As a competitor she is known for having a won a gold medal at the Olympic Games back in 2008, in her signature event – the 200 m freestyle.
2 Natasha Kai
Originally hailing from Kahuku, Hawaii, Natasha Kai competes in both soccer and rugby. With over 60 tattoos, Kai has more than any other female featured in our article. Some of her highlights include Hawaiian turtles on her back, a Polynesian tattoo sleeve on her arm, and a hibiscus on her shoulder. She also has a variety of pieces located on her sides, legs, and feet.
As a soccer player, Natasha Kai is probably best known for helping Team USA win a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games – held in Beijing, China. She also played for several seasons in the National Women’s Soccer League. Outside of soccer, the Hawaiian was a member of the first US women’s rugby union sevens team to ever participate in the prestigious IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup.
1 Angelina Love
Lauren Williams aka Angelina Love is one of many female professional wrestlers who is known for her tattoos. The Toronto product has several tats, most of which reside on her arms. She has several angel tattoos, which also happened to be her former ring name. In a quote from Diva Dirt, she discussed her fascination with anglers, “I have always had a fascination with angels. I love how they look, I love their innocence, and I love what they represent.”
Angelina Love is primarily known for competing in Total Non-Stop Action (TNA) Wrestling. The 5-foot-6 blonde was a member of the faction known as the Beautiful People. As a singles performer, she held the TNA Knockouts Championship on 6 separate occasions, making her one of the most accomplished females in the company’s history.