50 Hottest Female Athletes in the World

32. Katarina Johnson-Thompson


A Liverpool native, 23-year-old Johnson-Thompson is being tagged as one of Britain’s upcoming stars for the Rio 2016 Olympics. The 6-foot, 150-pound heptathlete adds boxing, gymnastics skills exercises and more to her traditional sprint workouts on the track. It’s no wonder she sports a picture-perfect six pack.

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31Kayla Harrison / JUDO

Harrison began judo at the age of six and was a strong junior player, but she secured her spot in history in 2012 at the Olympics in London by winning the first gold medal by any American (man or woman) in the sport’s history. As she eyes Rio 2016, Harrison trains using circuit-based workouts featuring running, lifting, rope climbs and, of course, judo.

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30Miesha Tate / UFC

Tate officially joined the UFC in 2013 and is the current UFC women’s bantamweight champion after defeating former titleholder Holly Holm at UFC 196 in March. The 29-year-old is training for her first title defense against Amanda Nunes, at UFC 200 which, if anything like her last pre-fight camp, will feature sparring sessions, footwork drills with a ladder and more.

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29Candace Parker / LOS ANGELES SPARKS

A power forward for the Los Angeles Sparks, Parker is a two-time WNBA MVP and isn’t afraid to show off the training that got her there. From pull-ups to battle ropes and sled pulls, the 30-year-old mom of one puts in the work off court and it’s paid off so far in her career.

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A two-time Olympic medalist in halfpipe snowboarding, 29-year-old Teter has also won seven X Games medals and her diverse workouts allow her to build her stellar strength, endurance and explosiveness. Her go-to is circuit training: a mix of battle ropes, Bosu ball balance exercises, TRX stability work and more.

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27Sally Fitzgibbons / WSL SURFER

Ranked No. 6 on the WSL 2016 Championship Tour, Fitzgibbons is known for her commitment to health and fitness and is even working on her own workout program featuring cardio, high intensity circuits and flexibility exercises. When she’s not catching waves, the 25-year-old Australian surfer is running, swimming, biking, boxing or hiking—any activity by which she can build cardiovascular fitness.

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26Michelle Waterson/ UFC

Mixed martial arts artist Waterson trains with Team Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., and has also trained in WuShu, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Boxing and wrestling. Waterson fits in her workouts—a mix of MMA sparring, kickboxing and cardiovascular work—between caring for her daughter as a self-described “full-time mommy.”

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25Talayna Fortunato / CROSSFIT

A 3x CrossFit Games athlete, Fortunato is also a physical therapist, a former collegiate gymnast and heptathlete and her workout sessions demonstrate her varied background. She does basic cardiovascular work, such as running, rowing and biking and also adds in yoga, gymnastics skills, such as handstands or rings, Olympic lifts and strong man training, such as carrying heavy objects.

CrossFit, Inc.

24Charlotte / WWE

Ashley Fliehr, aka Charlotte, has athletic abilities that extend well beyond WWE. She competed internationally in gymnastics for seven years; won three cheerleading national championships, played volleyball and basketball and did swimming, diving, ballet and track and field. Fliehr uses everything from kettlebells to pull-up bars and more to sculpt her physique.

WWE, Inc.


Copeland is a ballet dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, an Under Armour-endorsed athlete and a member of the President’s Council on fitness, sports and nutrition. The 33-year-old is also writing her third book—a health and fitness guide featuring exercise regimens and motivational advice for athletes, titled Ballerina Body—that is set to be released in 2017.

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22Brianne Theisen-Eaton / TRACK AND FIELD, HEPTATHLON

Wife to Ashton Eaton, the top athlete on our Fittest 50 men’s list, Theisen-Eaton also holds her own as one of the world’s fittest female athletes. The 27-year-old Canadian heptathlete won the 2016 World Indoors Championships pentathlon in Portland in March and now has her sights set on Olympic gold in Rio.

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A Portland, Ore., native, Boone is a three-time winner of the World’s Toughest Mudder, the 2013 Spartan Race world champion and a three-time Death Race finisher—and also a corporate bankruptcy attorney. Her love affair with fitness began through CrossFit, and her workouts still incorporate some of the program’s exercises, combined with bodyweight movements, sprints and more. Recently, she’s taken up a new challenge: ultra-running races.

Tough Mudder

20Missy Franklin / USA SWIMMING

Franklin is a four-time Olympic gold medalist, currently holds the world record in the 200-meter backstroke and is headed into Rio poised to top the podium once again in August. The 21-year-old has been working with NFL speed and agility coach Loren Landow for dry land training ahead of the 2016 Summer Games and her workouts are geared towards explosiveness and power in the pool.

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19Ronda Rousey / UFC

Even after her shocking defeat vs. Holly Holm, Rousey is still in fighting form and vows to return to reclaim her UFC women’s bantamweight champion belt. As she recovers from injuries she sustained against Holm, Rousey is training to get back in the ring by lifting weights, swimming, and working with her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, at Glendale Fighting Club in California.

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Named WNBA MVP in 2014, Minnesota Lynx forward Moore is a three-time WNBA champion and she trains her 6-foot frame for basketball-specific scenarios through various footwork drills and lifts in the gym. The 26-year-old also focuses on recovery and building a strong conditioning base through high-rep, lower weight exercises.

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Washington Spirit defender Krieger is known for being one of the fastest on the 2015 World Cup champion USWNT and her explosiveness and power can be credited to plyometrics, agility and speed drills and other sans-soccer ball workouts.

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16Gabby Douglas / USA GYMNASTICS

After winning the all-around and team gold medals in London 2012, 20-year-old Douglas looks to become the first woman to repeat as a gold medalist since 1968. At 4′ 11″, Douglas earned the nickname “Flying Squirrel” and hopes to find Olympic success once again in Rio. Her workouts—in the gym and on the mat—keep her quick, agile and graceful for all of her events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and the floor exercise.

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15Samantha Briggs / CROSSFIT

Do you have #bicepslikebriggs? The Leeds, England, native is best known for her guns, and for winning the CrossFit Games in 2013 after returning from a devastating knee injury. She has been a regular at the event for several years since and also played soccer and competed in triathlons, duathlons and indoor rowing competitions growing up.

CrossFit, Inc.

14Ashima Shiraishi / ROCK CLIMBER

Just 15, the New York-born Shiraishi is already recognized as one of the greatest rock climbers ever. In ascents of seemingly impossible routes she appears to be dancing more than climbing, reflecting her unmatched blend of power, stamina, strength and flexibility, honed through workouts outdoors and in climbing gyms.

Taylor Ballantyne

13Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce / TRACK AND FIELD, SPRINT

The 29-year-old Jamaican earned the nickname “Pocket Rocket” for her slight, five-foot stature and explosiveness. Already one of the most titled female sprinters, Fraser-Pryce will look to raise the bar once more in August in Rio, as she bids to become the first woman to win three 100-meter gold medals at the Olympic Games.

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12Meghan Duggan / ICE HOCKEY

Two-time Olympic silver medalist and U.S. ice hockey forward Duggan utilizes circuit training off the ice to mimic the quick bursts of speed, acceleration and agility needed during a game. She focuses on legs to make her a faster and more efficient skater, using different variations of squats and Omegawave technology to track her recovery and readiness to train, which allows her to push even harder.

USA Hockey

11Jenn Suhr / POLE VAULTER

The world’s No. 1 pole vaulter for the last two years, the New York native has won 15 U.S. national championships in her career and is the reigning Olympic pole vault champion heading into Rio. Coached by her husband, Rick, Suhr trains in two steel buildings behind her home and also adds in Pilates to her regimen.

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10Kerri Walsh Jennings / BEACH VOLLEYBALL

The 37-year-old three-time Olympic gold medalist has her eyes on Rio 2016 with new partner, April Ross. A mom of three young children, the 6’3” Walsh Jennings incorporates different training techniques into her routine, including Pilates, Olympic lifts and plyometrics in addition to several hours of beach volleyball practice on the sand.

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9Holly Holm / UFC

Known as The Preacher’s Daughter, Holm is the first person, female or male, to win titles in both boxing and mixed martial arts. The 5’8”, 135-lb southpaw, twice Ring’s Female Fighter of the Year, has devoted countless hours of training to transforming herself into a UFC champion, producing a fearsome blend of power, speed, endurance and agility.

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8Maggie Steffens / USA WATER POLO

Only 22-years-old, Steffens already has an Olympic gold medal to her name with the U.S. water polo team in London 2012. She’ll go for a second in Rio and is known for her stellar level of fitness, which she puts on display in the pool but works for in the gym. The California native sticks to Olympic lifts but adds in pull-ups, ab workouts and other exercises to ready her body for a match in the water.

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7Claressa Shields / BOXING

Shields began boxing at age 11. Four years ago she became the first U.S. woman ever to win a boxing gold medal, taking the middleweight title. Rugged, powerful and utterly committed, Shields put off turning pro in order to go for a second gold in Rio. Her training days include boxing specific drills and sparring as well as lifting and running—often capped with pushups and situps before bed, just because, she says, “it makes me feel stronger.”

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6Gwen Jorgensen / TRIATHLETE

A standout runner and swimmer at Wisconsin, Jorgensen only started triathlon in 2010, but quickly made her way to the top, winning 12 straight ITU World Triathlon Series events in 2014-’15. A willowy 5’10”, and 126 lbs., the 30-year-old favorite for Rio gold combines outsized power and endurance with technical precision in the bike and swim.

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5Serena Williams / WTA TENNIS

Each time the 21-time Grand Slam champion and WTA World No. 1 takes the court she puts on a masterful display of tennis skills combined with unmatched strength, power, agility and quickness—sometimes all in one rally.

Bob Martin

4Katie Ledecky / USA SWIMMING

A once-in-a-lifetime talent, Ledecky made her international debut in sensational style, winning the 800-meter freestyle at the London Olympics at age 15. She followed that up with nothing but gold at the next two world championships, including an unprecedented 200-, 400-, 800-, 1,500-meter sweep last summer. That astounding range has the 6-foot Ledecky standing as one of the likely superstars of the Rio Games.

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3Simone Biles / USA GYMNASTICS

U.S. all-around champion and world all-around gold medalist each of the past three years, Biles at 19 seems perfectly poised for Olympic glory as the world looks to Rio. In fact, “perfectly poised” seems the right phrase for the 4’9” Biles, who trains 32 hours a week to continue refining a body that seems magically capable of both soaring explosiveness and exquisite grace and precision.

Bob Martin


Felix has been a sprinting star since high school (despite being dubbed Chicken Legs by her teammates), earning an Olympic silver in the 200 meters in 2004 at age 18. In the 12 years since, she has added 18 world and Olympic medals, 13 of them gold. Such a run of excellence demands not only raw talent but also an almost unheard-of level of fitness and attention to preparation.

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Few athletes came into the London Olympics carrying greater expectations than Ennis-Hill, but the British star outran (and out-jumped, out-threw and out-hurdled) them all to take the gold. Small for a heptahlete at 5’5”, the 30-year-old Ennis-Hill (whose abs are an Internet sensation in their own right) is a rare package of speed, explosive power and refined athletic technique.

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