5 Of The Greatest Female Olympic Athletes Of All Time

Female athletes win big through history.

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

Douglas Family Gold chronicles Gabby Douglas' quest to win another gold medal at this summer's Olympic games in Rio. The beloved 20-year-old gymnast broke barriers by becoming the first African-American woman in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion in the 2012 Olympics. Now she's aiming become the first American gymnast ever to go back to the Olympics and successfully defend their title. 

Clearly, Gabby belongs to a class of athletes who have blazed new trails for women. Women competed for the first time at the Olympics at the 1900 Games in Paris. Of a total of 997 athletes, 22 competed in five sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism and golf. Since then, fierceless females have shattered records in every sport imaginable. Here are five (not including Gabby) of the greatest female Olympians of all time.

Serena Williams

There's tennis players and then there's Serena Williams. The 34-year-old star has demolished her competition on the courts. As the current number one ranked player, Serena is the reigning champion of the French Open, Wimbledon and Olympic women's singles and doubles. When she's not being the greatest tennis star of all time, she designs her own fashion line and dances with Beyonce. Game. Set. Match.

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey kicks butt--and looks amazing doing it. In 2008, she took the bronze medal in judo. Since then, she's been UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion and the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion and become a household name as an actress and personality.

Mia Hamm

Women's soccer has become a fan favorite sport but it wasn't always so. Mia Hamm has been a trailblazer in the sport. She won the Women's World Cup in 1991 and 1999 and took Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004. She took her fame and became a recognizable name for brands like Gatorade, Nike and Mattel.

Lisa Leslie

Who says that girls don't got game? At 6'5," Lisa Leslie was a powerhouse on the basketball court. As a former player in the WNBA, she is a three-time MVP and a four-time Olympic gold medal winner.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

It's cool to compete in one Olympic sport but the heptathlon is a completely different level of athleticism. Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one of the greatest to compete in this track and field contest (made up of seven events!) and the long jump. She has won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at four different Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women fittingly voted her the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century.


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