- Harrison Brooks
BCMG's Top Female Athletes of The Past 20 Years: Part Four
We have reached the end of our top 20 female athletes of the last 20 years list. If you missed the first three parts, check out part one here, part two here and part three here. Today we are unveiling numbers five through one.
5. Ronda Rousey, MMA (65 points)
While she may not be the greatest fighter anymore, there's a reason Ronda Rousey is so high on this list. When people think of the women's division of UFC, Rousey is still the first fighter that comes to mind. She started her career at a furious pace winning her first 12 professional fights. She used her Olympic calibre Judo skills to absolutely dismantle her opponents, often winning within the first few minutes of the match. At her peak Rousey was the UFC's female Bantamweight champion and successfully defended her title six times. Just when Rousey was beginning to get recognized as one of the greatest in the sport, her competition caught up to her. She lost her next fight to Holly Holmes, retired then came out of retirement to fight Amanda Nunez and lost again, officially ending her career as a UFC fighter. Regardless of where she ends up on the all-time list, Rousey's utter dominance to start her career put Women's UFC on the map. The sport wouldn't be the same without her, which is why she finds herself as a top five athlete of the past 20 years.
4. Lindsey Vonn, Skiing (70 points)
Lindsey Vonn is the first skier to make either the mens or women's list and for good reason. She is quite simply the greatest skier of all-time. With three Olympic medals to go along with eight World Championship medals, she doesn't quite have the same kind of hardware as some other top Olympic athletes. However, to see her greatness, you have to take a look at her career as a whole. Vonn's 295.5 points is the second highest super ranking of all skiers, both men and women. She is also only the second woman to ever win four World Cup overall championships and has a record 82 World Cup race wins - 15 more than next on the list. Of those 82 wins a whopping 43 have come in downhill and 28 in Super G. To cap off her incredible resume, Vonn has a total 20 World Cup Crystal Globe titles - a record for both men and women. At the end of the day, despite only having limited Olympic success, Vonn is hands down the the greatest female skier of all-time and might even be the the greatest overall skier in history.
3. Diana Taurasi, Basketball (72 points)
For the past 16 years, Diana Taurasi has been dominating the sport of women's basketball - and she's not done yet. In her career so far, the nine-time all-star has been a WNBA champion three times, finals MVP twice and the WNBA scoring champ five times. She has also dominated internationally with six Euroleague championships, seven Russian National League championships, four Olympic gold medals and three World Championship golds. There have been many amazing basketball players in the WNBA over the years many of whom have very similar resumes to Taurasi. However, Taurasi is head and shoulders above everyone else in history in one category - scoring. Taurasi currently has a 1500 point lead and counting in the WNBA's all-time scoring list despite playing 40 less games than second overall, Tina Thompson. And with her career still going, Taurasi has a chance further her lead even more. We might never see a better scorer in the WNBA than Diana Taurasi.
2. Simone Biles, Gymnastics (79 points)
Simone Biles is one of the most gifted athletes on the face of the earth. Full stop. Her 19 World Championship gold, and 25 total medals across four events are both current records. In the years leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Biles absolutely dominated the sport of gymnastics to the tune of 10 gold, two silver and two bronze medals between the World Championships, Pacific Rim Championships and the FIG World Cup. She continued that trend of success in Rio where she won four gold medals and one bronze. After taking the next year off, Biles returned to competition in 2018 and continued her dominance winning gold in all five of the events she competed in at the US Championships - a feat that hadn't been accomplished since 1994. She followed that up with six medals - four gold - in six categories at the World Championships on her way to her fourth world all-around title. The crazy thing is she was only 21 years old at the time. Now just 23, Biles has a lot of competitive years left in her career and will surely add to her already commanding lead atop the all-time gymnastics rankings.
1. Serena Williams, Tennis (117 points)
Had we combined the male and female list into one, chances are Serena Williams would still be one of the top three athletes of the past 20 years. That's how dominant she has been in the tennis world. Williams' 23 Grand Slam victories are the most by any tennis player male or female in the Open era. On top of that, she has an additional 14 Grand Slam doubles with her sister Venus and four Olympic gold medals - three doubles, one singles. While Williams only has one more Grand Slam than Steffi Graf and is tied with her atop the list in consecutive weeks at number one with 186, it's Serena's 357 total wins that really sets her apart. That's 50 more wins than second on the list and nearly 80 more than Graf. But much like LeBron James, one of the things that really sets Williams apart is her longevity. Her first win came in 1999. Eighteen years later at the age of 36, Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam at Wimbledon and she isn't done yet. Williams also made it to the Wimbledon finals again in both 2018 and 2019. Currently, at 39 years old, Williams is ranked 11th in the world and is still a threat to win any tournament she enters. While you can't guarantee anymore Grand Slam victories for Williams at this stage of her career, she will still surely add to her total wins lead and further cement herself as the greatest tennis player of all time and one of the greatest athletes in history.
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