Laney Byler

Not-so-fun-fact: If you type ‘female athletes’ into Google search, the first results are lists of the ‘Top 50/100 Hottest Female Athletes.’


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There could've been a million other posts to come up; it could've been Aly Raisman’s final floor routine as a two-time Olympic gymnast, or sprinter Allyson Felix’s grand total of two gold medals and one silver to make her the most decorated U.S. woman in Olympic track history.

But instead, two lists of the 'hottest female athletes' pop up.  As if it’s more concerning what these women look like than what they do (like, you know, win multiple medals at the Olympic games.)

Female athletes dominate in many facets of life — just recently, Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam in singles at the Australian Open while pregnant.  This resident badass transcends the boundaries of athletics into the realm of motherhood, all with 39 total Grand Slam titles.

If that isn’t enough, at the 2016 Olympic trials, the U.S. women brought home 27 gold medals.  To put that into perspective, Britain (as a whole) brought home the same amount of gold medals, women and men included.  The U.S. women legitimately matched an entire country in medals and surpassed the U.S. men’s total medal count (55) by six.

So why, when these female athletes are such dominant forces in the field of athletics, are they reduced to pretty faces and 'hot' lists?

The answer seems clear: people don’t take female athletes and sports as seriously as they should.  These lists are straight out of a knock-off Mean Girls scene, where women are judged solely on looks and not their accomplishments.

That’s why this list — this very (very) non-comprehensive list — was made.  We want to honor some of the women who have made an impact throughout the past year (or so), and not because of their appearances.

Simone Biles

This 19-year-old won five Olympic medals in Rio last year, making her the most decorated gymnast at a single game.  She won gold medals in vault, floor, all-around, and team, and also secured a bronze in the balance beam — all while still being unable to legally drink.

Helen Maroulis

Maroulis became the first ever U.S. woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics in freestyle wrestling.  Her final opponent, Saori Yoshida from Japan, is the most decorated freestyle female wrestler, and previously beat Maroulis for the 2012 World Championships.  So, basically, Maroulis not only made history, but she did so while defeating one of the best wrestlers in the world.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams is just too good not to mention again.  And again.  And again.  Consistently topping tennis rankings, Williams has recorded the most Grand Slam titles among current players, with 39 total.  She’s made history, she’s going to be a mom, she’s battled racism from individuals and corporations, and she still has to take the time to tell people she would rather be called ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time 'rather than ‘one of the greatest female athletes of all time.'

 Katie Ledecky

Ledecky, a swimmer from Stanford University, won five medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics, with gold medals in the 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle relay, and a silver in the 400-meter freestyle relay.  And if the list wasn’t already impressive, she broke world records in the 400 and 800 with times of 3:56.46 and 8:04.79, respectively.


If you type ‘female athletes’ into Google search, the first results are lists of the ‘Top 50/100 Hottest Female Athletes.’


Becca Longo

What’s better than women transcending the lines of gendered sports?  Becca Longo is the first woman to receive a scholarship for football at a Division II school (please check out this full feature here — totally worth the read!)  Adams State University picked up on Longo’s talent as a kicker in high school and recruited her for the upcoming season.

U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey team and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team

These two teams — U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey and U.S. Women’s National Soccer — have both taken stands for equal payment recently by demanding new contracts.  

Both teams have seen critical success on the ice and field, as the hockey team is coming off their fourth consecutive World Championship title, while the soccer team boasts three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals.  However, each team has had to deal with significantly less compensation than what they deserved.

Neither team backed away from these demands for higher pay until their contracts were revisited, though — a feat almost as worthy as the multiple championships in their record books.


Laney is a Communications student at the University of Michigan and sports editor for her school paper.  She really really really loves sports.  If you also really love sports, feel free to contact her on Twitter @laneybyler.


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