In the U.S. and abroad, the world of female athletics has come a long way over the past 30 years. In just a few decades, we have seen the inception of the WNBA, Women's MMA, a female football league (Legends Football League), as well as many more new opportunities for women to showcase their stellar athleticism. With the new exposure and opportunity for professional female athletes, we have also seen an increase in visual stimulation from the female sports world.
Many of the ladies on this list are incredible world class athletes and deserve to be praised as simply that: athletes. But also, it is natural to appreciate the appearance these woman are able to showcase while demonstrating great feats in athleticism.
There is sadly still a bit of inequality when it comes to the pay for female athletes versus their male counterparts. With that being true, many of the woman on our list also have to participate in modeling, or acting roles to help generate enough money to live the lifestyle they demand. There should be no shame felt by any woman who decides to make profit off of her own physical gifts. As you will soon find out, some of these ladies have made handsome sums of money doing just that. After all, sex does sell.
20 Danica Patrick
In 2005, Danica Patrick was the Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year, and for the next five years, she would reign as the IndyCar series Most Popular Driver. Danica brought attention to the sport of car racing more than anyone in the history of the sport. It was no secret that part of the reason she was brought into the sport was to help generate some buzz to the world of racing. This is no knock on Danica, as she proved she was more than talented enough on the track to keep up with the big boys.
19 Gabrielle Reece
Gabby is regarded as one of the greatest female volleyball players in the history of the sport. After a Hall of Fame college career at Florida State University, where she majored in communications, Reece dominated the pro-tour for several years. During her time with the Women's Beach Volleyball League, she led the league in kills for four consecutive seasons, winning a championship along the way. Her modeling career began back in college when Elle Magazine named her one of the five most beautiful people in the world. As a young adult, she spent her time focusing on her passion, which was volleyball, but once she realized she could make a lot more money modeling and acting, Reece transitioned her life.
18 Katarina Witt
17 Anni Friesinger
Now 39 years old, Friesinger was a five time Olympic Medalist during the late 90s through the early 2000s. Both of her parents were speed skaters as well, so it is no wonder she became an icon within the sport. The speed skating legend last showcased her amazing skills in 2010 when she helped lead her team to the gold medal while fighting through cartilage damage so severe that it ultimately forced her to retire. To be a great speed skater, you must have incredibly strong thighs. Anni certainly had those, as she showed many times in different swimsuit publications.
16 Amanda Beard
15 Michelle Wie
14 Maria Sharapova
13 Michelle Jenneke
12 Lindsey Vonn
11 Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey has helped grow the sport of mixed martial arts and of all the athletes on this list, she's the only one who has truly been the torchbearer of a sport traditionally dominated by males. It's because of Rousey that a women's title fight between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes was able to main event a historic card like UFC 200. Rousey was an undefeated champion for several years in mixed martial arts, first in Strikeforce, then in the UFC. She was the first woman signed by the promotion and was immediately made their inaugural Women's Bantamweight Champion.
10 Gina Carano
9 Skylar Diggins
Diggins was drafted into the WNBA in 2013 with the 3rd overall pick. Before making it to the WNBA, however, Skylar was a proven winner. Her most amazing feat as a basketball player may have been her record in high school. As a 4-year starter and 3-year captain of her team, she led the school to a silly 102-7 career record. She wasn't too shabby during her days with the Fighting Irish either. Her college record was 130-20, including three straight Final Four appearances. Over her first three professional seasons with the Tulsa Shock, which this season became the Dallas Wings, Skylar has established herself as an elite WNBA player. She has also established herself as arguably the most attractive player in the league as well. As you would expect out of the Notre Dame graduate, she has found ways to profit from her beauty.
8 Serena Williams
Serena is regarded by many experts as the single greatest female athlete in the history of the world. Her dominance in women's tennis is unprecedented and is still ongoing as witnessed at the recent Wimbledon Open, where she won her 7th title. Her beauty and sex appeal is second to none as well. The world was shown all about her "assets" recently, when a video was leaked of her giving a "twerk" tutorial. Williams is well aware of her mass sex appeal. We all remember the Catwoman outfit she wore during the 2002 Wimbledon Open. She also has posed for Sports Illustrated as well as ESPN's Body Issue.
7 Hope Solo
Hope Solo has been a main stay in the public eye for years now, and the reasons she stays relevant vary greatly. Those reasons range from her incredible skills as the world-class Goal Keeper for the USA Women's National team, to her infamous run-ins with the law, to her appearance on Dancing With the Stars, but my favorite reason to continually see her, is her outstanding beauty. Simply seeing her makes many people happy. Solo has lived a life of which many only dream. She has been on the forefront of the modern day women's liberation movement. One of the greatest things about Hope is her fearlessness, as well as her courage to show the world her body.
6 Summer Sanders
5 Jennie Finch
4 Anna Kournikova
Unlike many of the women on this list, Anna Kournikova did not accomplish all that much in the actual sport she played. Kournikova turned pro in her late teens and became a sensation in the sport due to her exotic Russian looks. She was briefly ranked no.1 in the world in late 1999 in double competition. Eventually, injuries derailed Kournikova's career and she retired from the WTA tour at the young age of 22. She has since spent much of her time modeling and plays tennis at certain charity events and other exhibitions.
3 Alex Morgan
2 Sydney Leroux
At only 26 years old, Sydney Leroux has seen a lot in her life. The Canadian born soccer star, who is now a U.S. citizen and member of the United States Women's National Soccer team, was born to two professional athlete parents. Her father was a professional baseball player with the California Angels in the 1980s and her mother softball for the Canadian National Team. Coming from a family of baseball and softball players, it seems natural that Leroux would chose to play a sport as well. Sydney is a woman with perspective. She understands who she is and the potential impact she could have on women across the world.
1 Natalie Gulbis
Naming Natalie Gulbis as the sexiest female in sports history is not a stretch. She is the epitome of a semi-talented athlete who turned her looks into a career. Natalie turned professional in 2001, but had little success in her first few years on tour. In 2005, she released a calendar of her hitting golf balls in quite revealing swimwear and the world would soon know who she was. The U.S. Golf Association banned the sale of the calendar at all sanctioned events, (why, I don't know) but it was obviously distributed many other places. After the massive exposure she received from the calendar buzz, endorsement deals began coming at her faster than she could handle. She accepted endorsement deals from Adidas, MasterCard, Canon, and TaylorMade, just to name a few, and she has posed for several magazines, including the Sports Illustrated Body Paint Issue. At the height of her fame, she even had her own television show on the Golf Chanel, appropriately named The Natalie Gulbis Show. She has no qualms about being recognized for her beauty either. She was quoted as saying, "I like the attention I get, even if it is for my appearance."
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