Originally from Mexico, golfer Lorena Ochoa held the number-one spot for weeks. The accomplished pro worked hard to hold onto the number one spot, though she decided to retire in 2010 so none of us will be able to watch her play live anytime soon. Well, unless you know her personally and can challenge her to a casual friendly game.
Many would have liked to see the golf champion go even further, but at age 28, Ocho decided to head off the green for good. Her accomplishments didn’t end with her retirement, and in 2017 Ochoa was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The winter Olympics doesn't usually enjoy the same viewership as its summer counterpart, but we feel like things look a little different when this woman is scheduled to compete. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin took two gold medals and a silver medal in the 2014 Sochi and 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic games. Shiffrin's smile is contagious, and along with her extreme talents, she's become a fan favorite.
Some may see Shiffrin as a predecessor to Lindsey Vonn, but Shiffrin proves them wrong, showing the world that she has her own legacy to leave behind. In March 2019, she was the first alpine skier to land 15 World Cup wins, so it seems that fans haven’t yet seen all that Shiffrin can accomplish.
Ukrainian Tennis player Elina Svitolina currently ranks fifth and, though she has not won any major tournaments, she remains a constant presence in the pro tennis world. Her lack of tournament wins has not shaken her confidence as she has defeated both Venus and Serena Williams along with Halep, Kerber, and Osaka. Holy smokes, can this woman play!
She also made it to the semifinals of both the French and US Opens in 2019. Svitolina has been sponsored previously by Lacoste and Ellesse and has been endorsed by Nike since 2016. She is married to fellow tennis player Gaël Monfils and the two have a daughter together.
Abby Wambach is certainly one of the most famous female soccer players in the world. While building her legacy on the field, she also brings home a fine salary, which is primarily from endorsements. She has been scoring goals and breaking glass ceilings since her youth and was even moved from the girls league to the boys league.
Wambach also made fans proud when she became the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, as this was the first time in ten years that an American had won. This woman also inspires others by owning her queer identity and advocating for equality and acceptance of people of all colors of the rainbow in sports.
Brittney Griner has become one of the greatest and most recognized players in the WNBA. After coming out to her parents in high school, Griner was forced to live with an assistant coach for six weeks during her senior year. She would later pen a memoir in which she addresses bullying and self-acceptance, "In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court," which was published in 2014.
Griner's endorsement deal with Nike marked the first time the company had signed such a deal with an openly gay athlete. She continues to push boundaries on and off the court, gracefully but with pride.