Sports and bikinis – it’s a winning combination no matter which angle you view it from. The fashion and sports industries continue to intertwine with both parties seeing the benefits of selling products cross-promotionally and given how fit these ladies are it seems a perfect fit.
While it remains a valid argument to see this sexualized glorification as a cheap outlet for male entertainment, most of these athletes see it as an additional asset to flaunt what they have. Ronda Rousey has become a larger than life character cutting through pop culture and she uses her beauty to bring more attention to the UFC. More eyeballs in a competitive market can never be a bad thing.
2015 is proving to be a big year for athletes in bikinis. Caroline Wozniacki made waves when she headlined Sports Illustrated in a revealing white bikini while the Daily Mail couldn’t get enough of Maria Sharapova’s bathing suit on holiday in Europe.
Whether it’s tennis stars like these two or soccer players, MMA fighters, surfers, skiers, golfers or anything in between, the appeal of seeing an elite competitor wear clothing that leaves almost nothing to the imagination is gold for all parties.
Unless there is a bikini shortage in the near future, major publications in print and online will eat this fodder up like there is no tomorrow. Throwing Instagram into the picture gives the athletes more personal power and authority over how they distribute and frame themselves, giving their fans the best access possible.
Although there is still a few weeks to go in the year that was, let’s recap the top 15 hottest bikini athletes of 2015.
21 Kyra Gracie
Jiu-jitsu has never been sexier as a sport since Kyra “Gracied” her way to the competition. The gorgeous Brazilian is a big hit on Instagram, often posing with friends, trainers and fans in either fighting attire or a casual two-piece bikini. A lot of her best shots are taken after a sweaty work out as she usually favors the contrasting colors of black and pink, illustrating that she is indeed a mixture of beauty of fury. At 30-years old we hope she hangs around for a little while yet.
20 Melanie Adams
We could have watched her pole-vaulting all day. Melanie Adams rose to fame when she competed at London 2012 representing Australia. The girl from down under hasn’t been seen much on the track since, but more in tight bikinis online. She one day harbors ambitions of competing for Miss Universe and given how natural she looks in front of the camera, it appears to be a wise choice. Pink, red, black, blue, whatever color she wears it works for the blonde bombshell.
19 Rachel Wray
2 losses in her last 2 fights might mean we might be seeing the end of Rachel Wray in the MMA, but perhaps not to the world of summer fashion anytime soon. At 5ft 5 the petite athlete transitioned from being a cheerleader in the NFL to try her hand at a much tougher task so it’s no surprise she’s finding the switch a lot harder. Photographed in two-piece black and white fighting attire or yellow bikini on the beach, Wray radiates in front of the lens.
18 Eva De Goede
She’s been photographed in one of the steamiest bikini pairings in athletic history, but you’ll hear more about her partner shortly. The Dutch field hockey star is officially known as a “hockey babe” for her stunning appearances off the pitch. The slender brunette is a pro with the stick and her social media mainly sticks to her day job. Whatever the 26-year old does that smile is simply infectious.
17 Ellen Hoog
The other half of the Dutch hockey bikini shoot, Ellen Hoog is the Amsterdam native who is all business on the pitch. Her down time looks like the life of the rich and famous, enjoying drinks with friends and fine dining parties whenever the opportunity presents itself. When she’s not sporting a new mouth guard model, she’s dipping into the pool to show off her lovely red bikini poolside. She has the Hollywood looks of a James Bond girl and the tenacity of a first class hockey player.
16 Allyson Felix
Given what the female athletes run in, it’s a simple transition to a bikini from there. 29-year old American runner Allyson Felix is a natural superstar and transcends her sport in the process. Her Instagram account will post sexy images of herself cooling down from a session or during a photo shoot, then uploads Nike adverts with her face next to Kobe Bryant, Wayne Rooney and Serena Williams. That’s if she’s not posting pictures during a catch up with Barrack Obama.
15 Sally Fitzgibbons
If you still need convincing that Australian surfers aren’t hot property after seeing Sally Fitzgibbons in action then there is no pleasing you. The 24-year old girl from regional New South Wales is just as comfortable on the board as she is in front of the camera and that pearly smile is to die for. 393,000 followers cannot be wrong, reposting her workout shots and cover on the Sunday Telegraph’s Body & Soul in a black bikini.
14 Jackie Perez
This CrossFit competitor is ridiculously hot. Her 212,000 followers are treated to regular updates from competition shots in Mexico and the USA while posting consistent motivational training videos to give her fans more of an insight into how she creates her stunning figure. Perez is not shy of a selfie and with a body like that who could blame her?
13 McKayla Maroney
Most famous for being photographed with a “not impressed” expression during a Silver Medal presentation at London 2012, the then 15-year old could be forgiven for being a little naïve. Now at 19, Maroney is a vaulting and floor exercise expert carving her own identity away from the competitive world of artistic gymnastics. With 752,000 followers to boast on Instagram, the gorgeous brunette is the typical Gen Y celebrity who indulges in selfies and holiday pics in bikinis at the drop of a hat.
12 Natalie Gulbis
If you’re sitting in the waiting room next time you have a doctor’s appointment and wondering why so many men are reading the January 2015 edition of Golfer’s Digest, blame Natalie Gublis. The 32-year old American native might have got her genetics from her Latvian heritage, but there is no doubting that tanned skin is from a life lived in California. 4 wins on the LPGA Tour demonstrates that Gulbis is also far more than just a pretty face.
11 Kaylyn Kyle
27-year old Canadian lights up social media with her bikini pics. Her 65,000 and counting followers demonstrates that Kyle has transcended her sport and sets pulses racing with snaps on the beach and poolside. 9 times out of 10 she’ll be sporting a cool pair of shades to show that she’s a girl with swagger to boot her soccer skills, often spotted in sunnier climates during her downtime with the Canada national team and Orlando Pride.
10 Michelle Jenneke
Sexy and sassy, Michelle Jenneke is the complete package. Her pre running routine in the Olympics was to dance a funky jig at the start line to get her in the mood, and what a refreshing approach that was to a fairly bland sport by most measures. The Aussie is a flamboyant character and the hurdler is understandably doubling her athletic prowess with a part-time modeling career. What a stunner! Give her a follow @mjenneke93 and see what all the fuss is about.
9 Angela Rypien
Skimpy outfits might be an occupational requirement for people like Angela Rypien in the Lingerie Football League, but few pull it off as impressively as this brunette. The 25-year old plays QB for the Seattle Mist while dating Mariners player Taijuan Walker, showing how much she really loves her sports. Whether she’s firing that right arm to make the touchdown pass or making the lens sweat with her steamy shoots in the bright green outfits, Rypien is the ultimate female star of Seattle.
8 Lindsey Vonn
Only Lindsey Vonn can make the snow look so hot. The 31-year old alpine ski racer is now a veteran after taking a total of 4 World Cup championships home. Such is her dedication to excellence she battled on to post a bikini workout video despite suffering a broken ankle! That’s a woman who loves to stay fit, compete at the highest level and do anything to show off her bikini body. Of all the mishaps Tiger Woods has made in his life, splitting from Vonn has to be right up there.
7 Alana Blanchard
America’s answer to Sally Fitzgibbons – anything Australia can do the USA can do better. The pro surfer with 1.5 million Instagram followers categorizes herself as a vegan, traveler and animal lover with a passion for wearing tiny bikinis. OK we added that last part in, but if there is a 25-year old American who loves the sand, surf and summer swimwear more than Alana Blanchard then we want to know about them. If the rumors are true that she wants a break from competing in the ASP World Tour, then we hope she isn’t lost to posing in bikinis.
6 Miesha Tate
If a picture says a thousand words then these snaps would be writing encyclopedias of poetry. Miesha Tate is a frustrated woman at the moment because she believes the UFC aren’t giving her a crack at the title against Ronda Rousey. Yet judging by her bikini pics frustrating seems to be the last emotion she would be experiencing. The photogenic MMA fighter is entering her prime at 29 and if it weren’t for the cult of Rousey Miesha Tate might very well be the face of the sport.
5 Caroline Wozniacki
Arguably the best female tennis player at the moment who is yet to win a Grand Slam title, sexy Danish blonde bombshell Caroline Wozniacki set tongue’s wagging this year when she fronted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Naturally the images went viral as it showed the confidence the athlete has in herself at the moment. Holding the “choker” tag on the WTA Tour when the big event comes would put a lot of other people in their shell, but Caroline is willing to put herself out there.
3 Anastasia Ashley
Once again the USA just has to get one over on the Aussies. Anastasia Ashley saw Michelle Jenneke’s little jig and decided a twerking warm-up dance might get a few more clicks! Enjoying a million followers on her Instagram account, this pro surfer isn’t afraid to take her bikini shots out in the water resting on her board such is her passion for the sport. At 28 she still has a big future ahead, but there is no question her modeling could pay the bills if the competition proved too much of a challenge.
2 Maria Sharapova
Next to Vodka, Maria Sharapova is Russia’s best import. Those long legs make the blonde a marketers dream and standing at number 3 in the world tennis rankings catapults her to superstar status. The Daily Mail got in a bit of hot water once more when they snapped Maria on the beach during vacation this year, taking the tabloid angle of saying she “flaunted” her small bikini while they had a photographer sitting somewhere behind the canopy. Nevertheless, Sharapova proved once more in 2015 that it is a body well worth flaunting.
1 Ronda Rousey
Currently in Melbourne to take on Holly Holm in UFC 193, Rousey surpassed Wozniacki for headlines when she posed in a revealing bikini this year on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The spread had the fighter looking down the lens with a seductive stare while she was bending over on the beach, quite the imagery. Anything Ronda says or does makes waves and the moment her image was captured in a bikini the hits and clicks spoke volumes for her reputation, standing and down right sexiness. Ronda Rousey takes the title for the hottest bikini athlete of 2015.