This may not be popular to say, but men’s sports are far more popular than women’s sports. It is a simple fact. The men draw more of a crowd to stadiums and draw a massive audience share on television while many women’s sports struggle to get aired on television. Perhaps that may be why some female athletes have taken it upon themselves to cross-brand themselves beyond just being athletes.
And let’s face it: More often not, their looks far exceed their playing abilities. But who cares, right?
Stephanie Rice, Swimmer
Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice was one of the standout stars at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Nobody expected Rice to return to Australian empty-handed, but they certainly didn’t expect her to come bearing gifts of gold. Three gold medals to be exact.
Rice was one of the most buzzed-about Olympians in the four years between the games, mostly for scandalous activities and generally raising hell. The one thing it seems she wasn’t doing was training properly for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Rice was a relative unknown who stunned the world in Beijing. She was a megastar in London who was spotted hanging out with the likes of Kobe Bryant, but she didn’t manage to medal in any of her events.
Sophie Horn, Golfer
Another female golfer with some good looks, Sophie Horn has made a bigger impact on the world with her Maxim spread than her golf game. Visit her website and you will see a gorgeous woman spread across a couch in a bra and tiny shorts. Her image is clear: Sex Symbol, not a serious athlete. In addition to her failed golfing career, Sophie models and is a presenter at various events. Sophie was a strong golfer at a young age. She captured an Under-21 title when she was only 15 years old. But as Sophie got older, her beauty was a bigger draw than her fading golf game. Sophie was good, but not elite. And she decided to dedicate herself to being a fitness guru and model and has moved away from golf.
Sierra Quitiquit, Skier
Known as one of the hottest women in skiing, Sierra Quitiquit is a gorgeous 5’10” blonde who impresses wherever she goes. This beauty is beyond comparison on the slopes when it comes to looks, but when it comes to her career, Sierra lands quite a few more endorsement deals as opposed to skiing championships. The list of big time brands lining up for Sierra are: American Eagle, Lululemon and Nike. Sierra competes all over the place but it is appearances like the one on America’s Next Top Model that tell the bigger story about her life and career. Sierra ended upon on numerous International modeling campaigns from New York City to Tokyo. She landed gigs with Seventeen, US Weekly, People, Cosmo and Teen Vogue. Needless to say, she is hot and she can ski pretty well.
Sara Galimberti, Runner
Sara Galimberti is more well known in her native Italy, where she won Miss Lombardia, but here in the US, she’s known only as that hot Italian track star. She competes in the 800,1000,1500, 3000, 5000, 10,000 meter and 5 km Road & Half Marathon races.
Ronda Rousey, Fighter
Ronda Rousey is an American mixed martial artist and judo champion from Riverside, California. Rousey has always been easy on the eyes but tough on opponents and collected some Olympic hardware at the 2008 Beijing games coming home with a Bronze Medal around her neck before launching one of the most successful female MMA careers of all time with the UFC where she defended her Bantamweight title 6 times. Rousey has never been shy in front of the camera and when she’s not pounding on people in the ring she always looks great for a night on the town. After a few tough losses she has stepped away from the octagon recently and it looks like she’s close to hanging up the gloves and hopefully picking up the lens.
Natalie Gulbis, Golfer
Natalie Gulbis is another LPGA golfer who struts her stuff in pretty impressive fashion. The beautiful blonde with blue eyes obviously has some pretty impressive assets to go along with her clubs. Now, Gulbis, isn’t a big name in Golf but she has done a bit of winning. She played in her first LPGA Tour event at the tender age of 14. The 5′ 9″ beauty looks more model than golfer and she certainly hasn’t been hurt by those looks. She won her first professional tourney in 2007 at the Evian Masters in France. That was her big score. She cracked the top 20 in 2006 but pretty much slid fast and furious downhill from there. It would be her swimwear modeling spread that caught the ire of the United States Golf Association who barred her photos from being sold at a golf event, labeling it “inappropriate.” She has a much longer list of endorsement deals than golf tourney wins that include the likes of MasterCard, Pure Silk, Lake Las Vegas Resort, EA Sports and Lexus.
Michelle Jenneke, Hurdler
In 2012, a then-19-year-old Michelle Jenneke became an Internet sensation when a video of her performing a pre-race dance routine went viral, collecting millions of views in a matter of days. Dubbed the “sexy Australian hurdler,” she would go on to be featured on shows such as Top Gear and The Tonight Show. Because of her stunning good looks, she would also pose for major magazines, most notably the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, wherein she recreated her sexy pre-race dance—only this time in a bikini.
Michelle Wie, Golfer
LPGA golfer Michelle Wie was the youngest golfer to ever qualify for an LPGA Tour event in 2003 at the ripe old age of 13. Naturally, the young phenom received worldwide attention and followed up with a few successful performances in additional events before turning professional in 2005.
All eyes were on Wie when she finally joined the LPGA Tour in 2009, as well many eyes that make a habit of watching ladies golf, to see her kick off her career on the tour.
She has failed to impress on the course since then, yet still rakes in millions in endorsements.
Lolo Jones, Hurdler
The heat that Lolo Jones took after failing to medal at her second consecutive Olympics at the 2012 games in London was a little bit excessive. Not everyone can win, right?
But that being said, Jones was one of the most overhyped female athletes in the months leading up to the Olympics, and many other track athletes felt slighted and ignored.
Kristi Leskinen, skier
Kristi Leskinen is an American freestyler skier probably best known for being the first woman to pull a rodeo 720. As for her pin-up reputation, she said, “I can’t knock it. If modeling gets me noticed, that helps me promote the causes I care about. But I’m a skier first.” She added later, “Skiing is what I really take seriously.”
Kiira Korpi, Figure Skater
Stunning Finnish figure skater Kiira Korpi certainly looks the part of a dazzling ice princess. Unfortunately, she doesn’t play the part all that well on the ice, having never medaled in global competition.
Hey, at least she does well at competitions in Finland!
Korpi has been injury-plagued since mid-June 2011 and has yet to fully recover, causing her to pull out of most competitions ever since; most recently she withdrew from the 2012 World Championships.
The fact of the matter is that Korpi is a marginally talented figure skater with minimal success outside her native Finland. Naturally, she gets plenty of endorsements and modeling gigs, which she should probably stick to.
Eugenie Bouchard, Tennis Player
It appears as though female tennis players automatically have job security after tennis. As you will see throughout this list, there is no shortage of beauty in women’s tennis. While there is also no shortage of talent, one struggling tennis star should definitely consider a career change sooner rather than later. We are of course talking about Eugenie Bouchard. The Canadian bombshell burst onto the scene and quickly caught the world’s attention, but has recently fizzled out. While she has struggled to find her game on the court, her Instagram game has never been better. She has already done some modelling, but it may turn into a full-time career if her play doesn’t improve soon.
Ellen Hoog, Field Hockey Player
Ellen Hoog is a Dutch field hockey player who looks just as good in front of the camera as she does when she’s swinging the stick around on the pitch. She has plenty of championship hardware kicking around the old trophy case with a Gold Medal in 2008 Beijing, a Gold Medal in 2012 London, and a Silver Medal in 2016 Rio de Janeiro, as well as 2 Golds and a Silver at the World Cup. A native of the Netherlands, Ellen is a perfect picture of a hottie from Holland who kicks butt at her sport and looks incredible whenever she steps out onto the town. She’s been representing her country on the world stage since 2004 and it looks like her time knocking balls around is almost up. But don’t worry I’m sure photos of the enchanting Ellen will be gracing our screens for years to come.
Daniela Hantuchová, Tennis Player
Today Slovak tennis beauty Daniela Hantuchová is one of the better known female tennis players on the WTA Tour, no thanks to her unimpressive singles record. Hantuchová was a superstar in both doubles and mixed doubles early in her career, but she’s had significantly less success in singles. She hasn’t won consistently in a decade.
She may not be impressing on the court, but her stunning good looks have attracted the attention of a number of magazine editors. Hantuchová was featured prominently in the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as well as ESPN: The Magazine’s annual Body Issue in 2012.
Danica Patrick, Nascar Racer
Danica Patrick made waves back in 2005 where she became one of the only women to ever compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 and she quickly became a household name not only because she was a great up and coming driving but because when she stepped out of that race car she was an absolute stunner at that. Danica became the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race and lead both the Indianapolis and Daytona 500s and became the first woman of racing in our hearts. Patrick’s been racing for a long time and it’s probably time she step aside sooner rather than later, which may be beneficial for us fellas because she still looks as good today as she did when we first saw her behind the wheel.
Blair O’Neil, Golfer
More golf clubs and more hotness. That is the theme behind these wannabe golf pros who turn to modelling as opposed to pushing their athletic talents to the limit. Blair O’Neal is one hot golfer who was born in Macomb, Illinois. She grew up in Arizona, however, where she spent many hours at the Ranch Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. Blaire was a good amateur player, capturing a scholarship to play at Arizona State University. She turned pro after college but injuries and the fact that she was super-hot led her to walk away from the game. Instead, she moved into modelling. From there, she has been the face of Puma and largely been considered as one of the sexiest female golfers of all time (notice we didn’t say one of the best). Blair definitely has golf game but her looks have taken her much further.
Ashley Harkleroad, Tennis player
Every time I see one-time tennis player Ashley Harkleroad mentioned with regard to sports, it never fails to stun me. To this very day Harkleroad ends up on lists of the hottest athletes ever and is routinely mentioned as a tennis player, all thanks to a 2008 Playboy pictorial.
Harkroad had a promising start to her tennis career back in 2003 and was once ranked as high as No. 3 in the world by the WTA. Injuries, poor play and eventually motherhood sidelined Harkleroad for good in 2010.
Anna Sidorova, Curling Player
Some athletes transcend their sports. Anna Sidorova is an example of that phenomenon. This curler from Russia has not only become the talk of the 2014 Winter Olympics, she has people tuning into curling who have never watched the sport in their life… not because of her curling skills but because of some risqué – and widely shared – photos!
Anna Rawson, Golfer
If only the LPGA Tour could attract even half the attention as Australian beauty Anna Rawson has over the years, they’d be doing much better in terms of ratings. After playing promising collegiate golf at the University of Southern California, Rawson joined the tour in 2008.
Although her official website refers to her as a professional golfer, Rawson hasn’t competed since 2010, and the closest she ever came to a win was one top-10 finish in 2008.
But she is routinely mentioned in the (very rare) discussion of female golfers, despite being shockingly bad at golf. She’s all but given up the sport though recently.
Anna Kournikova, Tennis Player
Has there ever been anyone who got more publicity and attention for her looks in sports than Anna Kournikova? We say, “no!” She is absolutely the queen of being the most over-hyped athlete of all time. But to be fair to Anna, the media enjoyed hyping her looks far more than her tennis game and she just went along for the ride. She was a pure beauty, a blonde angel who arrived out of Russia to dawn the tennis courts. Women competing against her were jealous of her looks and the attention she garnered. Anna had more endorsement deals than anyone and had far less success than many on the tour. Anna could compete, she could be above average in most tournaments, but she never sniffed a major title and she often was lacking in her game, having few strengths. She was able to tread water and compete on the court, but off the court, she was a massive success. She made millions upon millions in modeling and endorsement deals, dwarfing any money she made while playing tennis. At her height, no athlete was more popular who did as little in her sport. Her every move off the court was followed as if she was a star and she was to many.
Anastasia Ashley, Surfer
I’m actually not sure if beach beauty Anastasia Ashley is overhyped as a surfer, because I’m not entirely sure she’s a full-time competitive surfer. But she gives interviews on the regular, is often photographed in the vicinity of a surfboard and definitely lives near a beach.
Ashley is gorgeous, but she really gets a lot of attention for a surfer who isn’t even ranked in ASP top 100 female surfers in the world.
Allison Stokke, Pole Vaulter
Allison Stokke reached a higher level of fame than any other pole vaulter, thanks to her amazing form. She is still overhyped today despite a complete lack of noteworthy achievements in her collegiate pole-vaulting career.
Stokke has been making lists of the hottest female athletes in the world for years, and that continues to that day, but her biggest achievement is having a caboose you could bounce a quarter off.
Alicia Schmidt, Runner
Athletic starlet Alicia Schmidt has been dubbed the “sexiest athlete in the world” after leaving fans in meltdown with her raunchy Instagram posts.
The 18-year-old runner has been tipped as a future star of German athletics and she is set to shine at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
So far, Schmidt has been impressing at junior level and has helped Germany take silver in 4×400 relay at this summer’s European Athletics Under-20 Championships. But the babe is also turning heads off the track too with her sexy photos on social media.
Alana Blanchard, Surfer
Ask most male surfers who their favourite surfer gal is and they’ll probably say Alana. But poor Alana just wants to be known for her surfing – not her toned kicker. Once labeled the “Anna Kournikova of Surfing,” she grew up to become much more than just a blonde beauty. Today, Alana Blanchard is one of the most popular female athletes in social media.
With a body like Blanchard’s, it’s no wonder she juggles careers as both a professional surfer and a bikini model. She snagged the second place spot during this summer’s Movistar Women’s Pro in Peru, but what we love most about her isn’t her surfing skills. It’s the smoking hot photos she routinely uploads to her Twitter feed.
Leryn Franco, Javelin Thrower
I’m not going to give Paraguayan Olympic javelin thrower Leryn Franco too much crap for being mediocre at best being a javelin thrower. She competed at both the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and again at the 2012 Olympics in London and failed to impress both times.
But Miss Franco has always made it clear that being a professional athlete is just something she enjoys and as the aptitude for to a degree. Franco pays the bills with her massively successful career as an international model.