Anyone who experienced the 1990s witnessed some major changes both culturally and technologically. The decade saw music like hip hop and grunge rise to prominence. Moreover, the '90s began the age of the internet, or the World Wide Web as it was commonly referred to in those days. The period just before the turn of the century also happens to be when female athletes really came into their own.
Prior to the '90s, it was relatively uncommon to see female athletes making headlines and landing major endorsement deals. However, many of the women featured in this article helped change that and paved the way for many of the superstar athletes we see today.
These ladies weren’t afraid to break barriers and in some cases even a few rules along the way. Besides being great, and occasionally controversial, these women were also incredibly gorgeous. Many of them understood how to market their undeniable sex appeal, which is one of the many reasons their still remembered by so many sports fans today. While folks certainly remember them, they likely don’t know what these lovely ladies have been up to since their careers ended.
With that in mind, let’s revisit the 15 hottest athletes from the 1990s and find out what they’ve been up to.
15 Gabrielle Reece
When it comes to discussing beautiful athletes from the '90s, they don’t get much hotter than San Diego, California native Gabrielle Reece. The 6-foot-3 bombshell used her stunning good looks to elevate the sport of beach volleyball. Reece’s good looks combined with her success on the sand helped her land television spots, not to mention numerous modeling gigs. Before Misty May and Kerri Jennings, Gabrielle Reece was the face of women’s beach volleyball.
Since retiring from volleyball, Reece has been quite busy. She spent four years trying to perfect her golf game and make a run in the LPGA. She gave up on her golf career in 2009 to focus on raising her young children. In 2013 she published a successful autobiography. Reece is currently married to pro surfer Laird Hamilton; the two split their time between Malibu, California, and Maui, Hawaii.
14 Brandi Chastain
Brandi Chastain had an outstanding career as a professional soccer player. Despite her numerous accomplishments in the sports, she is best for known for scoring the winning goal at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final against China. In truth, people probably remember her celebration afterward (where she took off her shirt and celebrated in a sports bra) as much, if not more than, the goal itself. The moment was captured in the iconic photo pictured above; it is easily the most famous image in the history of US women’s soccer.
After finally retiring in 2010, Chastain worked as a broadcaster for NBC Sports for the Summer Olympics and The World Cup. In 2017, the 49-year-old was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
13 Nancy Kerrigan
Nancy Kerrigan was an outstanding figure skater who captured a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics. However, she is best remembered for being attacked and hit in the knee with a police baton by a man named Shane Stant. Stant was an associate of her rival Tonya Harding’s (then) husband. The incident understandably received a great deal of attention from the media and was one of the biggest news stories that year heading into the Winter Olympics. Kerrigan would go on to recover and ultimately capture the silver.
After she retired from Olympic skating, Kerrigan went on to perform in a variety of Ice Shows, such as Broadway On Ice. The 47-year-old, who still looks amazing by the way, resurfaced to compete on season 24 of Dancing with the Stars, in 2017.
Fans of wrestling in the mid to late 90s will most certainly remember Tammy Lynn Sytch, who in those days went by her ring name Sunny. During her run in WWE, she managed The Bodydonnas, Faarooq Asaad, and even The Legion of Doom (aka the Road Warriors). In 1996 she was also AOL’s most downloaded woman of the year. She would go on to work for Extreme Championship Wrestling during the later part of the decade, before ultimately ending up on the independent wrestling circuit.
Sunny has struggled in recent years with a variety of legal issues. She has been arrested on numerous charges including burglary, violating a protective order, and disorderly conduct. In 2016 she also pled guilty to DUI related charges and was featured in an adult film the same year.
11 Anna Kournikova
In a decade that was full of breathtaking female athletes, Russian born tennis star Anna Kournikova still managed to stand out. The 5-foot-8 blonde from Moscow made a tennis fan of nearly every man alive in the late '90s. In 1999 she became the number 1 ranked player in the world as a doubles competitor and won the Australian Open that year with her partner Martina Hingis. Despite the retired star’s reputation as being known primarily for her looks, Kournikova was a very solid tennis player, who was even ranked number 8 in the world as a singles star in 2000.
Her WTA career was cut short due to injury in 2003. She went on the appear in exhibition matches and even teased a comeback in 2005. Kournikova resurfaced in 2011, as a trainer on the NBC television show, The Biggest Loser. She has also been involved in a 16-year relationship with singer Enrique Iglesias.
10 Picabo Street
Before Lindsey Vonn became Ski racing’s resident hot girl, there was Idaho native Picabo Street. Street is arguably best known for capturing a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics. She also won a gold medal at the 1996 World Championships. Street would return for the 2002 Winter Games, but finished 16th in the downhill event and went on to retire shortly afterward.
Since retiring, the Olympic medalist has made television cameos on shows like Sesame Street and was the runner up on the NBC reality show Stars Earn Stripes. In 2016 she was charged with domestic violence and assault, in an incident where Street allegedly threw her elderly father down the stairs and locked him in a basement. However, the prosecution eventually decided to dismiss the charges.
9 Jennifer Capriati
When people think of beautiful tennis stars from the '90s, Anna Kournikova is usually one of the first names to come to mind. However, New York’s Jennifer Capriati was a great looking tennis player in her own right. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, Capriati was also an amazing tennis player. She won three Grand Slam titles as a singles player and was ranked number 1 in the world in 2001. The New Yorker also captured a gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games. 2004 would be her final season on the WTA tour.
After she retired, Capriati appeared on the reality television show The Superstars in 2009. However, she would end up leaving the show prematurely due to injury. In 2013 she was charged with battery and stalking a former boyfriend, though the charges would eventually be dropped.
8 Manon Rheaume
Beauport, Quebec, Canada’s Manon Rheaume helped break gender barriers in the sport of Ice Hockey. In her formative years, she became the first girl to play in an International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament and a major junior game. In 1992 the gorgeous goaltender played an exhibition game as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, thus become the first female to play in a National Hockey League (NHL) game. The feat also made her the first woman to play in a North American pro sports league. Rheaume also won a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in women’s ice hockey.
Rheaume retired back in 2009, after a lengthy professional career. The Canadian formed the Manon Rheaume Foundation, which focuses on providing scholarships to young women. In 2011 she took part in the Quebec TV program Champions Challenge, a show where athletes train to become circus performers.
7 Mia St. John
Mexican-American pugilist Mia St. John began her career in professional boxing back in 1997. She captured several titles over the course of her career, including the WBC Super Welterweight Championship. She is possibly best remembered for her competitive bout against boxing legend Christy Martin in 2002. However, there are certainly many folks out there who remember her appearance in Playboy Magazine back in November of 1999 as well.
The now 50-year-old former boxing champion has fought as recently as April 16, 2016, and even defeated a New Zealand fighter by the name of Lisa Lewis. The former title holder has even dabbled in mixed martial arts. Her first (and only) pro MMA fight took place back in 2008 when she defeated a relatively unknown fighter by the name of Rhonda Gallegos at an X-1 Champions event.
Before wrestlers like Trish Stratus and Charlotte Flair, Sable was the woman who dominated the late '90s wrestling scene in WWE. She spent most of the early portion of her career accompanying her then-husband, Marc Mero to the ring. She would eventually go on to begin her own wrestling career and even capture the WWE Women's Title. She also appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine multiple times, at the height of her popularity. She left the company in 1999 and even filed a sexual harassment suit against WWE in 2001. However, despite the litigation, she would return to the company briefly in 2003 before departing for good in 2004.
Sable would divorce Marc Mero and eventually go on to marry WWE and UFC star Brock Lesnar. She rarely makes public appearances and lives with Lesnar and their children in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, Canada.
5 Kristi Yamaguchi
At just under 5-feet-tall, California’s Kristi Yamaguchi has the distinction of being the shortest athlete on our list. However, she definitely didn’t come up short at the 1992 Olympic Games, where she won a gold medal in figure skating. She also took the gold at the 1991 Munich World Championships and the 1992 World Champions held in Oakland. Fans may also remember her from her exercise video with the California Raisins entitled “Hip to be Fit: The California Raisins and Kristi Yamaguchi.”
In 2005 Yamaguchi was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for her gold medal winning performance. In 2008 she won the sixth season of the reality show Dancing With The Stars. The skating sensation even started her own clothing line in 2012 called Tsu.ya by Kristi Yamaguchi.
4 Gabriela Sabatini
Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini was one of the top female tennis players during the late 1980s into the mid-'90s. The highlight of her single career came back in 1990 when she won the US Open by defeating Steffi Graf. She also captured Olympic gold in 1988 in Seoul South Korea. The Argentinian beauty decided to retire from the sport in 1996 at just 26 years of age.
Since retiring from active competition, she began to focus on promoting the perfume line that she started back in the late '80s. She also uses her celebrity status to help organizations improve the lives of impoverished children. Moreover, the stunning tennis star has been involved with projects to assist the Special Olympics. Gabriela Sabatini became a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006.
Madusa aka Alundra Blayze was a professional wrestling champion in both WWE and WCW throughout the 1990s. She is best known for switching brands and leaving WWE for WCW. When Madusa arrived at World Championship Wrestling, she proceeded to throw her WWE Championship in a garbage can on national television during pro wrestling’s Monday Night Wars. The action resulted in the former champ being blacklisted from WWE for roughly two decades.
After her time in wrestling ended, Madusa began to focus on her career in the monster truck business. In fact, she even competed in monster tuck events. In January of 2008, she was named Executive Vice President of the Major League of Monster Trucks. In 2015 she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and even removed the title from the trash can during her induction speech.
2 Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding is one the most recognized names in the world of figure skating. She was a two-time Olympian and the first American woman to complete a triple axel jump in competition. However, she is best known for her alleged involvement in the 1994 attack on skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. In 1994 she was banned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association for hindering the prosecution, following the attack on Kerrigan. Her level of involvement in the attack is still a subject of debate, even today.
Following the ban, Harding went on to pursue a career in pro boxing. She finished her career in the ring, following a 2004 loss to Amy Johnson, with a 4-3 record. She also went on to release an autobiography in 2008. The 2017 film I, Tonya was just released and chronicles the figure skater's life.
1 Dara Torres
Dara Torres could be featured on an article for the '80s, '90s, or even 2000s. The gorgeous swimmer first debuted in the Olympics way back in 1984 with her last appearance in the games coming as recently as 2008. She even tried out for the 2012 team but failed to qualify. The native of Beverly Hills, California won an impressive 12 Olympic medals over the course of her career and competed well into her 40s.
The 50-year-old retired swimmer has worked as a reporter and commentator for numerous television networks including ESPN, Fox News, and NBC. She also wrote two books; Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life and Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program.