We’ve seen countless examples of female athletes rising to the occasion and dominating their respective sport. In this article, we pay tribute to these pioneers taking a look at their past as unrecognizable youths. We’ll also look at some of the steamier athletes that made their name be known due to their skill and good looks, and also take a look at what they looked like before their viral fame.
Along with unrecognizable photos, we’ll also discuss the upbringing of these athletes and what led to their rise in whatever sports they excelled in. Some started when they were barely able to walk while some rare instances feature top tier athletes not playing professionally till the age of 14. Yes, we’ve got a wide variety of stories and pics in this article – stay tuned.
From Eugenie Bouchard’s throwback Instagram photo to Paige Spiranac rocking gymnastics attire, these are unrecognizable photos of steamy athletes before their viral fame. Enjoy folks and like always, be sure to share the article with a friend. We begin with the beautiful Genie Bouchard throwing it back to her younger days holding a tennis racquet.
15 Eugenie Bouchard
This awesome throwback photo was recently posted by Bouchard, as you can see she took to tennis from a young age. In fact, Eugenie started at the age of five if you can believe - just imagine what you were up to at that age, for most of us, the answer isn’t holding a tennis racquet that’s for darn sure. By the age of 12, Bouchard moved to Florida and was considered a massive prospect. In a weird twist, Eugenie had investors by her side since the age of nine, taking 10% of earnings. Thankfully, the court would rule against such a claim as it was preposterous for a nine year old to decide on such a deal.
Bouchard enjoyed a hell of a run back in 2014, though she hasn’t been the same since. She’s more so known for her steamy Instagram posts with near two million followers. Oh and she’s also newly single.
14 Ronda Rousey
Back when Ronda was only six and struggling with her speech, perhaps Rousey herself would never be able to dream of such an outcome. She became the most popular UFC fighter of all-time and now, she’s transitioned into the life of a WWE Superstar, another dream she had since a young age.
Many believe such a transition is going to be effortless due to her experience in working a grappling style along with a past in judo. Before MMA, Rousey began in judo at just 11 years of age. She would even take part in the Beijing Games in 2008 taking home a bronze medal, the first American to do so since the sport existed for women.
After retiring from judo and working multiple jobs, Rousey struck gold as an MMA fighter. We hope for similar results in her WWE career.
13 Lindsey Vonn
Vonn finally made her Olympic return and after a long wait, the results weren’t the greatest. Vonn finished sixth in the Women’s Super-G, it’s likely the last time we see the 33 year old ride down the hill after such a storied career.
Like Eugenie in the previous entry, Vonn was working her craft at the age of two – most people don’t even know how to ski well into their 40s never mind the age of two. She was pushed hard by her father and by the age of 10, she was training with a former gold medalist. As they say, the rest is history and she would become a trailblazing face in the sport. The picture you see above was posted by Vonn herself via social media in paying homage to her mother. Like Bouchard, Vonn has quite the following due to her stunning good looks.
12 Aly Raisman
Raisman has turned into one of the most popular female athletes born in the US, not only is she a gold medallist but her contributions in the recent Olympic scandal has only enhanced her image as a leader and someone many look up to. Still only 23, it’s kind of surreal to see her maturity level let alone, all her success at the Olympic Games.
Growing up, Aly was the oldest of three other siblings, her mother was also a former gymnast at the high school level. Raisman started working gymnastics routines at the age of two and she was instantly regarded as a dominant force to watch for in the future. She burst onto the Olympic scene back in 2012 capturing two gold medals in the team and floor exercises. She won another team gold medal in the 2016 games, along with a pair of silvers.
11 Hope Solo
Known for her fire on the pitch, Hope Solo became a household name. Yes, she’s dipped into controversy in the past for some statements and even arrests, though that doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s the best female goaltender of all-time.
Growing up as an Italian-American, Solo started playing ball at a younger age. In high school, Solo was actually known as a dominant forward finding the back of the next with ease and leading her team in the goals department on the regular. She switched positions during her career with the Washington Huskies, Solo was optimistic to play the position due to her mentality of wanting to save games as opposed to winning them by scoring. She owes her mentality from a young age to her success at the position.
10 Danica Patrick
The storybook career for Danica Patrick recently came to an end just days ago as she took part in the Daytona 500 for the final time. Sadly, her NASCAR career didn’t end on the greatest terms as she did not finish the race due to a crash during lap 102. She ended her career in NASCAR without a victory, though her career meant a lot more than wins.
Patrick turned into a marketing sensation, though since she was young her biggest love was always auto racing. Patrick took part in go-karting and her love for racing would only expand from then on. In 1998, she took her passion to another level dropping out of high school and moving to England in order to work on her craft. Age 35 and now retired, we can safely Danica’s decision to drop out of high school was the correct one but don’t tell your kids that.
9 Allison Stokke
As you can see in the unrecognizable photo above, Stokke has been pole vaulting for quite some time. She started off at the high school level and soon enough, would be regarded as a top prospect vaulter in the entire country – yea, no pressure. She won a laundry list of awards during her teens, though she would reach global fame back in 2007 due her looks. At just 17, she was a viral name turning heads.
Despite missing out on the 2012 Olympics, her fame certainly remained unharmed. She signed sponsorship deals with such giants like Nike and even, GoPro – all of this due to her viral fame for looking so darn good. You can keep up-to-date with the pole vaulter via Instagram - still only 28, Stokke is just as steamy as she ever was nowadays.
8 Maria Sharapova
We now turn our attention to a photo of a young Maria Sharapova prior to her Grand Slam victories. Tennis ran in the family and by the age of four, she was already practicing on local courts alongside her father. She started training professionally at the age of six and she was instantly deemed as a big deal due to her remarkable skills at such an early age.
She would win a laundry list of awards during her adolescent years and later, she would become a household names winning all of the major tournaments, the Australian Open, French Open, US Open and of course, the prestigious Wimbledon Trophy. Despite her controversial past, the 30 year old is regarded as one of the true greats of the game.
7 McKayla Maroney
Maroney was another brave face standing up to the disturbing acts by the US team doctor – her statement at the court trial was truly inspirational and one that deserves lots of recognition. Still only 22, it took lots of bravery on her part.
Becoming a gymnast was always the plan for McKayla who was home schooled at a young age so she could have a future as an Olympic gymnast. She started off at the age of two and by nine years old, she already aspired to become a future Olympian, a dream that would come true in the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. Maroney walked out as a gold medalist winning a top medal in the team competition. She also took home silver in the vault trials. Unfortunately, she called a career due to nagging injuries a couple of years back.
6 Michelle Jenneke
One of the most beautiful Olympians ever, Jenneke sported a similar smile even back in the day during her youth. The young 24 year old stole all the headlines during the 2012 Olympic Games. Her pre-match dance and warm-up caught the attention of millions, though her smile was what truly captivated the masses. She became an internet sensation due to her moves.
During her high school days, track wasn’t her only passion. Instead, Michelle enjoyed a variety of sports which included rugby (of course, she’s Australian), soccer and handball. She also loved to bike and studied to become a mechanical and electric engineer. Yup, this beauty has the brains and the brawn. Though sadly, she never won an Olympic medal. Age 24, maybe she’ll get one more try at the next summer games.
5 Serena Williams
Arguably the greatest female tennis player of all-time - tabloids are curious at how Serena will respond following such a lengthy hiatus from the game. Many are speculating a decline from the Grand Slam Champion, but it wouldn’t shock us if the 35 year old returned with ease climbing back to the top of the mountain.
We love to praise her terrific career, however, it was a struggle earlier on as Serena moved from town to town, getting home schooled. In 1995, Williams was taken out of high school to pursue a tennis career full-time as she had the skills early on to make it quite far. That seems like an understatement nowadays as the tennis beast has forged an incredible path with countless amounts of hardware.
4 Alex Morgan
With 5.1 million followers via Instagram, you can say that Alex Morgan is arguably the most popular female soccer player of all-time. She burst onto the scene back in 2012 Olympic Games scoring the game-winning goal for the US in the 123rd minute against Canada in the semis. She’s been a household name ever since that moment becoming a dominant force on the pitch.
The youngest of three sisters, Morgan excelled in lots of sports growing up. What’s truly shocking is that Morgan wasn’t playing on a club team till the age of 14 if you can believe. She dominated early on and just three years later at 17, Morgan was called to the under-20 national team. Age 28, Morgan still looks great nowadays with the aging process hardly showing.
3 Simona Halep
Not only is the 26 year one of the top tennis players in the world but she’s also quite the looker, especially in a not so family friendly area, but hey, we’ll keep that type of talk for another day. In the unrecognizable throwback photo above, Halep is photographed next to a familiar face, soccer icon Hagi.
Her father was also active in the sporting world playing as a lower level soccer player. Halep forged her own path taking a liking for tennis because of her older brother. By the age of four she was already rocking the court. Similar to Bouchard earlier, Halep moved away at 16 prolonging her tennis career over in Bucharest. The decision has certainly paid off as the Romanian has raked in over $22 million in prize money.
2 Paige Spiranac
Like some others on the list, Spiranac grew her fame due to her stunning looks. The blonde is an absolute bombshell and developed a massive following because of it - she has over one million followers via social media and you can expect that number to only grow even further. She’s still only 24 if you can believe and considered the best looking golfer of all-time.
A little known fact about the stunning golfer is that her first love was actually gymnastics as you can see in her childhood photo above. Paige took to gymnastics at a young age and pursued the sport for quite some time. However, she would later find a new love - of course, we’re talking about golf. If you ever need motivation to play the sport, check out her slew of tremendous photos.
1 Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline recently took her game to the next level finally winning a Grand Slam Championship at the Australian Open. The victory catapulted the 27 year old to the top of the rankings - it was the biggest victory of her entire career.
Sports ran in her family as a youth. Her mother Anna played on the Polish national team in volleyball. While her father Piotr was also a professional soccer player. Even her brother joined a league in Denmark as a pro soccer player. Caroline would instead take a different path and absolutely thrive. Off the court, she’s also a huge sensation via Instagram – along with a breathtaking spread for Sports Illustrated which boosted her status. As you see in the photo above, she’s come a long way since then.