The sporting culture for women has flourished in the past 40 years, creating an environment where there is opportunity abound for female athletes.  Their strength, determination and superior talent continues to awe and inspire fans across the world. Whether they’ve overcome extreme adversity, touched lives with their philanthropic efforts or simply dominated in their sport, we’ve compiled a list of five of the most influential female athletes in sports. Comment and tell us about any others you feel should be on the list!

Sue Bird


Suzanne Brigit “Sue” Bird, a professional basketball player for Seattle Storm, is a seven time WNBA All-Star and has been voted by fans as one of the top 15 players in WNBA history. With her skill, grace and unwavering drive, Sue is a force to reckon with on the court, and has an Olympic Gold Medal to prove it.

Bethany Hamilton


Bethany Hamilton’s heartwarming and moving success story serves as inspiration to millions around the world. After surviving a shark attack that took her left arm, she pushed through the tragic injury and fought her way back to professional surfing. The 23-year-old is a beacon of persevering through seemingly hopeless circumstances and overcoming tragedy.

Sheryl Swoopes


Sheryl Swoopes redefined basketball for women as the first player ever signed to the WNBA.
A three time Olympic Gold Medal winner, her rockstar talent has gained her recognition as the “Female Michael Jordan.”

Dara Torres


Dara Torres is living proof that athletes can shine no matter what age.  The 40-year-old mother dominates in the swimming realm with an astounding 12 Olympic Medals.

Mia Hamm


Mia Hamm, World Cup winner and two time FIFA World Player of the Year, has made her mark in the world of soccer. She currently holds the record for scoring the most international goals than any other player, including both males and females.

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