The Top Five All-Time Most Influential Women in Sport

A week removed from International Women’s Day, we explore the most significant females in sports

By: Brady Coyle, Staff Writer

As we are in the midst of Women’s History Month, there seems no better time to take a look back at the women who have contributed to sports throughout history. Here is The Argus’s list of the top five all-time women in sport.

1) The Williams Sisters, Tennis

While Serena has certainly had a more dominant career than Venus, when looking at their impact on the world of tennis, you cannot talk about one without the other. With a combined 121 single’s titles and 22 double’s titles as a duo, the better part of the last two decades of tennis has revolved around the Williams sisters.

They have both been incredibly active off the court, as well, acting in a number of television programs, starting their own charities, writing a book together and becoming minority owners of the Miami Dolphins NFL football team. When it comes to dominant sports families, the Williams may be in a class of their own.


Mia Hamm. Global Sports Forum/ Flickr

2) Mia Hamm, Soccer

Hamm, who played as a striker for the US national side and for the Washington Freedom, is a soccer player who was renowned for her goal scoring. She has led the United States National Team to two gold medals at the Olympics, as well as the FIFA World Cup Title.

She is currently third on the list of all time total international goals, for both men and women, with 158. Hamm won the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in both its inaugural year (2001) and the following year.

Following the death of her brother in 1999, Hamm founded the Mia Hamm Foundation in order to raise funds for those who need bone marrow and cord blood transplants. The organization also has a focus on using sport to empower women. Hamm’s influence stretches far beyond the game of soccer, which is why she cracks our list.

Ronda. PC: Sabre Blade/ Flickr

3) Ronda Rousey, UFC

When people think of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) it tends to be a male dominated topic. In 2012 that all changed, when UFC signed Rousey as their first female fighter.

Rousey spent the better part of three years dominating the women’s division of UFC. Her average fight time was a miniscule two minutes and fifty-nine seconds and she won the first twelve matches of her career. Her career has taken a tailspin since losing her UFC title to Holly Holm, but she has established herself outside the ring, as well.

Rousey has been involved in film, staring in Furious 7, Expendables 3, and Entourage. She has also had a modeling career, as well as hosted Saturday Night Live. Her social impact and influence reaches far beyond the realm of sport, which is another reason she has earned a spot on this list.

Christine Sinclair. PC: Canada Soccer/ Flickr

4) Christine Sinclair, Soccer

The current Canadian national side captain and Portland Thorns FC star has been tearing up the women’s soccer world, passing Mia Hamm’s all-time goal total last summer, good for second on the all-time list.

Not only has Sinclair been active on the field, she’s been one of the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Ambassadors, which is a program that provides financial aid for children to participate in organized sports. Sinclair has been a strong activist to continue the growth of soccer in Canada, and, similar to others on this list, been a positive influence in empowering young women through sport.

Dinica Patrick. PC: Pit Stop Post/ Flickr

5) Danica Patrick, NASCAR

Bursting through the glass ceiling in stock car racing in 2005, Danica Patrick took the NASCAR world by storm and never looked back. Since joining the sport, Patrick has won the Indy Japan 300, placed 8th in the Daytona 500, and broke the record for consecutive races running at the finish, beating the old record by eighteen. She has accomplished much while facing scrutiny from male racers, such as Kyle and Richard Petty.

Off the track, Patrick has been a model and actress for commercials, TV, and music videos. She’s also been a commentator and analyst for the sport of racing. In a sport that has been dominated by men, Danica Patrick has been a spectacular female ambassador to the sport.

Just missed: Maria Sharapova, Lindsey Vonn, Jeanie Buss, Martina Navratilova.

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