When we made a list of the hottest female athletes earlier this year, we realized there was something missing. And that something was all the hot female athletes that came before the 2000’s. Sure they might not have bared quite so much skin, but there were tons of foxes playing sports back in the old days when the Olympics were still the highlight of an entire year.
Sure we still have plenty of modern day athletes on our list (you can’t beat the present for hot female athletes ultimately, just look at the LPGA today vs. 20 years ago), but we tried hard to remember all the gems from decades past.
We stopped at 50, but could have easily gone to 100, and we were faced with tons of tough choices. Ultimately physical attractiveness was the number one requirement for inclusion, but we also tried to look at career success and historical import a little bit as well. We at PopCrunch hope you enjoy the list.
50. Laure Manaudou
Laure Manaudou is a French Olympic swimmer who is a three time medalist. Manaudou has suffered through a bit of scandal after some nude pictures appeared online. Google is your friend on this one, but I’ll just say, girl is crazy ripped.
49. Alina Kabayeva
What’s that they say about flexibility? That it’s never overrated? Kabayeva is a rythmic gymnast who is world renowned for her incredible flexibility. I imagine the flexibility comes in handy. Um, for the gymnastics.
48. Lisa Anderson
Lisa Anderson is a world champion surfer who has the hot stereotypical surfer look going on, including the sun bleached blonde hair. She’s into her 40’s now, but still competes and surfs regularly.
47. Missy Gibson
Missy Gibson is apparently a world class surfer, although info on her is pretty scarce online. Most people seem to mostly care about her stunning looks, which is understandable as it’s mostly what we’re concerned with here. And Gibson really is quite incredible looking.
46. Laura Baugh
Baugh was named Golf Digest’s 1972 “Most Beautiful Golfer.” She eventually struggled with alcholism, four marriages, and a bleeding disorder that nearly killed her (and was brought on by her drinking), but she eventually cleaned up at Betty Ford and wrote a tell all book in 1999.
45. Sasha Cohen
Just read that thing up above about flexibility again, because damn. Cohen won a silver medal in the 2006 Olympics and has since appeared on various television shows such as Las Vegas, Project Runway, and CSI:NY.
44. Sonja Henie
Sonja Henie was one of the biggest stars in the entire world at her height, moving from figure skating into acting, and eventually making $2 million + a year.
43. Anni Friesinger
Anni Friesinger is a talented German speed skater who has also spent time modeling. She’s appeared in numerous men’s magazines and has earned herself the nickname “Sexy Annie” in her home country, where they presumably care more about speed skating than we do here in America.
42. Erica Blasberg
Erica Blasberg is one of the hotter players on the LPGA tour, and Puma made the smart decision of making her the face of their golfing brand. She has struggled a bit on the tour, but I’m pretty sure guys still love her.
41. Tara Lipinski
Tara Lipinski is an American figure skater who won the gold medal in 1998 at the age of 15. To this day she’s the youngest gold medalist in Winter Olympic history.
40. Picabo Street
Picabo Street was the most visible women’s skier in the 90’s winning a silver medal in the ’94 Winter Olympics and a gold in the ’98. She eventually retired after snapping her left femur, but was a spokeswoman for Mountain Dew for a time in the late 90’s.
39. Gussie Moran
Gussie Moran makes an appearance here largely for historical reasons. She’s the reason we have so many tennis hotties on this list, as she was the first woman to ever push the boundaries of fashion on the tennis court. She famously showed up to center court at Wimbledon in 1949 in a short skirt with lacy, frilly knickers peering out from the bottom, and since then clothes have only gotten tighter and shorter. God bless her.
38. Gabriela Sabatini
Gabriela Sabatini was an Argentinian tennis player who had a lot of success in the late 80’s and early 90’s. She has an exotic South American look going on that is pretty hot.
37. Amanda Coetzer
Amanda Coetzer is the most successful tennis player in South African history. She developed a reputation during her career as a giant killer, regularly beating players ranked higher than her. She dated pro baseball player Brady Anderson for awhile in the 90’s, and is now dating a Hollywood producer named Arnon Milchan.
36. Natalie Coughlin
Natalie Coughlin is an incredibly successful American swimmer who won five medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She’s getting into broadcasting, and spent time as an in-studio host for MSNBC during the 2006 Winter Olympics. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Coughlin, so hopefully she’ll keep that up. Does anyone else see a bit of a Scarlett Johansson resemblance?
35. Swin Cash
A lot of guys treat the WNBA as a bit of a joke, but a few of the players are definitely worth watching. Swin Cash is one of those players. She led the University of Connecticut to two different national titles and carried that success into the WNBA, winning a title with Detroit in her second WNBA season. But I’m sure nobody really cares about that. Bottom line: she’s hot.
34. Carling Bassett
Carling Bassett primarily made her living as a tennis player back in the 80’s, but she made just as big of a splash as a fashion model with the Ford Modeling Agency. She also made some appearances on television and in film. Bassett is now retired and operating a tennis academy with Chris Evert, someone you’ll see further up on this list.
33. Barbara Schett
Barbara Schett is an Austrian tennis player who played from 1992 to 2005. She’s got a rocking body, and has to be the hottest thing to ever come out of Austria.
32. Maria Kirilenko
Maria Kirilenko is a Russian tennis player in the mold of Maria Sharapova, only not quite there yet. She’s rapidly catching up though, having recently signed to be the face of Adidas tennis.
31. Cristie Kerr
Cristie Kerr is another LPGA hottie. She has appeared on an episode of The Apprentice and is said to have a close relationship with Donald Trump. Kerr is also a spokeswoman for Mutual of Omaha and Lacoste.
30. Ana Paula Mancino
Ana Paula Mancino is a Brazilian volleyball player. Other than that I really have nothing, except that she’s smoking hot.
29. Hope Solo
Hope Solo kind of the opposite of what you’d expect a women’s soccer goalie to look like. Normally you have a mental image of a … um larger woman, but Hope is 5’9 and hot. She also has a pretty kick ass name.
28. Daniela Hantuchova
Daniela Hantuchova is a Slovakian tennis player. She’s a little on the thin side, so if that’s your thing then she’s your girl. Hantuchova is pretty damn impressive off the court too, speaking six different languages as well as having been trained as a classical pianist.
27. Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm is probably the most well known female soccer player of all time, and with that has come numerous endorsements. She’s now retired and married to former MLB player Nomar Garciaparra.
26. Dorothy Hamill
America was in love with Dorothy Hamill in the 70’s, going so far as to make her short bobbed haircut a national fad. She won the gold medal for figure skating at the 1976 Winter Olympics.
25. Gina Carano
Gina Carano is probably the most bad ass woman on this list. She’s a MMA fighter as well as one of the Gladiators on the new incarnation of American Gladiators. All I know is she’s a lot easier on the eyes than the female Gladiators we had to suffer through the last go round.
24. Lokelani McMichael
Lokelani McMichael is a surfer and triathlete. She is still the youngest female to ever complete the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. She’s been featured in Shape, Triathlete, Runner’s World, and numerous other fitness magazines.
23. Karina Petroni
Karina Petroni is possibly the greatest female surfer in the world. She’s only 20 years old, but her attractiveness has already made her a prime endorsement candidate, and she’s the frontwoman for numerous brands, including SoBe/Pepsi and Chevrolet.
22. Amanda Beard
Amanda Beard is a seven time Olympic medalist in various swimming events, but she’s just as well known for her modeling work, including appearances in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition. She now hosts her own segment on The Best Damn Sports Show Period, and I can say from personal experience that she’s the only thing worth watching on that particular program.
21. Florence Griffith-Joyner
Flo-Jo became an American icon after winning the 100m sprint at the 1988 Summer Olympics. If you like a woman who’s extremely fit then Florence Griffith-Joyner is the woman for you. Even if those muscles might or might not have been steroid enhanced. After all, who wasn’t taking steroids 20 years ago? The 80’s were a crazy time.
20. Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan is probably the most overall successful figure skater in American history, and she’s also one of the greatest figure skaters of all time. She started skating when she was 8, waking up at 3 AM to practice for three to four hours a day. Like most American female figure skaters, Kwan has spent some time acting, and has even done voice work for Family Guy and The Simpsons.
19. Gretchen Bleiler
Gretchen Bleiler is an American snowboarder and won a silver medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics. She’s also the spokeswoman for Oakley and K2, and it’s not hard to see why a company would want to have her representing them.
18. Summer Sanders
Summer Sanders was a three time medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics in swimming. She has to be one of the strongest living proofs that your name can determine your destiny. Sanders has since gone on to broadcasting and acting and has hosted numerous sports related television shows.
17. Heather Mitts
Heather Mitts is a great soccer player, but she also has great credentials for this list, having been voted the hottest female athlete alive in a 2004 poll run by ESPN.com. This is a girl who loves male athletes, having dated QB A.J. Feeley, tennis star James Blake, and outfielder Pat Burrell all in the past ten years. She’s single now though.
16. Jelena Dokic
Jelena Dokic is a Serbian tennis player who immigrated to Australia in 1994. She’s pretty curvy for a tennis player, but still features the usual awesome long legs.
15. Ashley Harkleroad
Ashley Harkleroad recently made a splash by appearing in Playboy magazine’s August 2008 issue. Pretty sure that was a hot seller.
14. Kristy Yamaguchi
Kristy Yamaguchi really was US female figure skating for awhile back in the early 90’s. She recently won ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, which makes sense as dancing can’t be all that much more difficult than figure skating.
13. Ashley Force
I’m not entirely sure how a hot young girl gets into funny car drag racing (I’m not really sure how anyone gets into funny car drag racing), but Ashley Force definitely provides reason to watch the sport. She’s recently been featured on a reality show featuring her family called Driving Force.
12. Allison Stokke
Allison Stokke is a college pole vaulter who caused a massive stir on the internet when some rather mundane competition photos of her were found online. Which is a real testament to how hot she is. Or how easily pleased and amused the internet can be, I don’t know which. But she is really ridiculously hot.
11. Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie hasn’t had the kind of sucess everyone expected on the LPGA tour (remember when she was supposed to be the female Tiger Woods?), but she’s still raking in the cash thanks to massive endorsements with companies like Nike and Sony. She’s been the source of quite a bit of controversy for stuff like “inappropriate” clothing and phantom injuries, but I have to say I’m a fan. Probably mostly because of the inappropriate clothing.
10. Peggy Fleming
Peggy Fleming was a figure skater in the 60’s, winning a gold medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics. She parlayed her good looks into a job commentating on figure skating events that she held for over 20 years, including several Winter Olympic games. Fleming is now a breast cancer activist after successfully battling the disease in the late 90’s.
9. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is absolutely stunning, but she’s also a phenomenal athlete which makes her all the more attractive. While some women make this list almost primarily for their looks, Sharapova is just as noteworthy for her career achievements. Watching her play is always an enjoyable experience.
8. Gabrielle Reece
Gabrielle Reece was named by ELLE magazine as one of the five most beautiful Women in the World in 1989. Even though she was a very talented beach volleyball player, Reece was probably more well known for her modeling and television work. Most people who grew up watching MTV in the early 90’s will remember her as host of MTV Sports.
7. Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick is so hot she makes people care about IndyCar racing, at least for one weekend a year. That’s a hell of an achievement and pretty much enough said.
6. Biba Golic
I feel pretty comfortable saying that Biba Golic is the hottest table tennis player to ever live. She’s also the only table tennis player I’ve ever technically heard of, but I’m still willing to bet she’s the hottest.
5. Jennie Finch
Softball players don’t immediately come to mind when you think of hot female athletes, but Jennie Finch is definitely the exception. Probably for that reason, she’s the most famous softball player of all time. Finch has appeared in SI’s swimsuit issue and won an online ESPN.com poll naming her hottest female athlete.
4. Chris Evert
Chris Evert is one of the most popular women athletes the United States has ever had. Her nickname for quite awhile was actually “Chrissy America”. She was linked to damn near every high profile actor and athlete in the 70’s (including Burt Reynolds, Geraldo Rivera, Adam Faith, Vitas Gerulaitis, Pat Boone, and John Gardner “Jack” Ford, son of U.S. President Gerald Ford) and even hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.
3. Anna Kournikova
Anna Kournikova would probably break the internet if she ever posed nude. She gets slammed unfairly for being a poor tennis player (she’s never won a singles tournament), but she was at times one of the best doubles players in the world, even reaching #1 at various times.
2. Katarina Witt
Katarina Witt appeared in Playboy in December of 1998. It was the second issue of Playboy to ever sell out, the first being the inaugural issue featuring Marilyn Monroe.
1. Natalie Gulbis
Possibly a controversial choice, but Gulbis is ridiculously, ridiculously hot. Female golfers have come a long way in perceived attractiveness in the past ten years, and Gulbis is leading the way, having sold a personal calendar as well as posing in magazines like FHM. We here at PopCrunch love her, and are proud to name her our hottest female athlete of all time.