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Who are the 25 most famous women athletes in the world?

We leveraged the power of ESPN's World Fame 100 to find the 25 most famous women athletes on the planet. Some you know, and some might surprise you.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

World Fame 100: The complete list

To find the 100 most famous athletes in the world, we started with 600 of the biggest names in sports, drawn from 68 countries. ESPN's Sports Analytics Group then ranked them based on a proprietary formula that took into account three fame factors.

The rock star following of skater Yuzuru Hanyu

Why does Japanese gold-medal skater Yuzuru Hanyu inspire such a devoted following? We attended a parade in his honor in search of the answer.

Top Headlines

World Fame 100 Fan Quiz

ESPN World Fame 100: Know your famous athletes


Nassar Reaction

Mich. St. agrees to $500M Nassar settlement

Michigan State will pay $500 million to survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse in what is believed to be the largest settlement ever in a sexual misconduct case involving a university.

Nassar survivor Lemke hoping for change after MSU settlement

Larry Nassar victim Lindsey Lemke breaks down the process leading to a $500 million settlement from Michigan State to survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse.


Nassar survivors will be paid an average of $1.28 million

ESPN investigative reporter John Barr expects the $500 million settlement from Michigan State to come from a combination of insurance and bonds.



Chloe Kim is appreciative of her mother's sacrifices

Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim reads a letter she wrote expressing her love and appreciation for her mom, Boran, in honor of Mother's Day.


Semenya: IAAF regulations

Athletics SA to challenge 'skewed' IAAF ruling

South Africa's athletics federation will be filing a challenge to the IAAF's controversial new female classification ruling, which will significantly affect star runner Caster Semenya.

IAAF lawyer quits in protest of testosterone ruling

The IAAF's controversial new ruling regarding testosterone levels in women, which will come into effect on 1 November, has seen one of the body's lawyers resign in protest.

Olympic Sports

Wieber: 'Accountability lies in the organizations that failed us'

Gymnast Jordyn Wieber joins OTL to discuss McKayla Maroney's interview saying she informed USAG of Larry Nassar's abuse in 2011.


London Marathon

The unrelenting Sir Mo Farah

Mo Farah may not have won the London Marathon, but he set Britain's men's marathon record -- and also the mood for the 26.2-mile race.

Kipchoge wins London Marathon, Farah third

Eliud Kipchoge won the 2018 men's London Marathon as Sir Mo Farah finished third in a British record time.

Cheruiyot wins first London Marathon title

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot pulled off a huge upset after surging from behind at halfway to win a personal best of 2:18:31, leaving race favourites Tirunesh Dibaba and Mary Keitany in third and fifth place.


London: What to watch

Third London Marathon win for Kipchoge

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge looked unfazed by the hot British weather, as he coolly crossed the line in 2:04:27, showing why he's regarded as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time.


Record eighth win for Weir at London Marathon

Six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir continued to add to his trophy case by claiming an eighth title at the 2018 London Marathon in the men's wheelchair race.


Lance Armstrong Settles

Ford: Finally, an open road for Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis

There might be no such thing as perfect justice for a pair of riders -- Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis -- who competed and cheated more than a decade ago, or any easy way to reduce relative morality to dollar amounts in a legal document.

Armstrong settles $100M fraud suit with U.S.

Lance Armstrong has agreed to a $5 million settlement of a federal government whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist.

Marathon cheating

How collectible medals and Facebook likes encouraged cheaters in the Mexico City Marathon

Officials scrambled to curb cheating, and one in every five runners to finish the 2017 edition of the international race was disqualified.

Derek Murphy is the marathon gumshoe

E:60 tells the story of Derek Murphy, who has made a name for himself by exposing those trying to cheat in marathons.


Boston Marathon in review

'Des is the definition of unrelenting'

Sideways rain and near-freezing temps couldn't stop American Desiree Linden at the Boston Marathon. Her win is another display of strength from U.S. women on the global stage.

Boston Marathon winner Linden almost dropped out

Desiree Linden, the first U.S. woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985, breaks down how it felt racing in torrential rain.


Yuki Kawauchi's surprise win in Boston

In near-freezing temperatures, Japan's Yuki Kawauchi beat out fierce competition at the Boston Marathon. "I can't help but think fate had something to do with my win today," he said.

Boston Marathon: What to Read

Boston Marathon: Why I'm running

Running 26.2 miles certainly calls for bragging rights. But for these runners, the reason to lace up for Boston is what matters most.

In 2007, Jennifer Phinney ran and won her first ever marathon — the Boston Marathon Shadow Run, a simulation of the race in Massachusetts — in her military base in Iraq. 11 years later, today, Phinney ran her first Boston Marathon in Boston and finished it in 3:50:27. "I compare this moment to my time at the military. We would come out of the field from training, dirty, wet, exhausted and we couldn't wait for a hot shower," she said.

Aishwarya Kumar, ESPN.com41d ago

Drawing strength, five years on

Scott Magoon was moments from the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon when the two bombs exploded. Since then, the children's book illustrator, who was uninjured but experienced PTSD, has partnered with survivors to tell a story of hope.

Olympic Sports

Nassar survivor: I was offered $250K by Engler

Larry Nassar survivor Kaylee Lorincz joins OTL to give her account of a meeting between herself and Michigan State interim president John Engler.


NCAA Softball

College softball players embrace chance to play in 2020 Olympics

Softball players from around the nation talk about realizing their dreams of making Team USA and managing collegiate athletics while working toward the Olympics.


Usain Bolt

Athletics needs a new star to 'step up' - Bolt

Retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is happy to be playing the role of global athletics megastar, but says a new leading light must emerge if the sport is to flourish into the future.

Commonwealth Games

Missing athletes face difficult path to asylum

The African athletes who have gone missing at the Commonwealth Games in Australia have not broken any laws, but face a difficult road if they seek asylum.

Tom Daley draws attention to LGBTQ communities across Commonwealth

Tom Daley has used his gold medal win on the Gold Coast to draw attention to the plight of LGBTQ communities amongst Commonwealth nations.


Two Indian athletes to be sent home for breach of 'no-needle policy'

Race walker KT Irfan and triple jumper Rakesh Babu have been removed from the Games Village and ordered to head back home for breach of the event's no-needle policy'.

From the CWG

Desperate dive cannot prevent sixth Kenyan clean sweep

Canada's Matthew Hughes has learnt the hard way what it's like to be on the receiving end of the shrewdest Kenyan tactics, as the African runners denied him a medal in the 3000m steeplechase on Friday.

Golden Semenya sets sights on long distances

South Africa's Caster Semenya secured the win in her favoured 800m on Friday, making it two golds at the Commonwealth Games. So is long distance next for her?

Boxer launches foul-mouthed tirade after loss

Zambian boxer Mbachi Kaonga launched a furious verbal assault on the judges after losing his Commonwealth Games bout against Australia's Clay Waterman.

Commonwealth Games are on!

Weather can't dampen spectacular Opening Ceremony

Celebrating its 21st birthday, the Commonwealth Games began in spectacular fashion on Australia's Gold Coast on Wednesday night, featuring the Opening Ceremony at Carrara Stadium.

Commonwealth Games

Doping violation

India let off with warning over needle issue

India have been let off with a strong written reprimand by the Commonwealth Games Federation, finally bringing the needles issue to a close.

Ledecky To Turn Pro

Ledecky to turn pro, will focus on Tokyo '20

Five-time Olympic gold medalist and Stanford swimmer Katie Ledecky is turning pro, forgoing her final two years of college eligibility to pursue professional opportunities and focus on the Toyko Games in 2020.

Should Ledecky be leaving Stanford to go pro?

Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornhesier react to Katie Ledecky's decision to forego her last two years of eligibility at Stanford and turn professional in competitive swimming.


Chen Wins Worlds Title

Chen completes six quads to claim worlds title

Nathan Chen completed six quadruples and bettered his Olympic free skate score to win the world figure skating title on Saturday.

Quad king Nathan Chen is ready for Olympic gold

Nathan Chen, the Quad King, has figure skating's most daring move down cold. Will he take the sport to new heights at the Olympics?

The Dominant 20

The Dominant 20: Usain Bolt, the 10th most dominant athlete of our time

He's a six-time IAAF Athlete of the Year, eight-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the 100 and 200 meters. Not bad! ESPN's Anthony Olivieri runs some other numbers on the fastest man in history.

The Dominant 20

In celebration of ESPN The Magazine's 20th anniversary, Peter Keating's crunched the numbers to find the most dominant athletes of our time.

Caeleb Dressel

Dressel breaks his own record in 100 free

Caeleb Dressel sets an American record with a 39.9 in the 100 freestyle at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.


Dressel making a habit of breaking his own record

Florida senior Caeleb Dressel set multiple records in a stunning performance at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, including becoming the first man to break 18 seconds from a flat start.


The Dominant 20

The Dominant 20: Allyson Felix is No. 16

Nine Olympic medals is not what makes Allyson Felix most proud, she shares with ESPN's Ramona Shelburne -- it's that she won them the "right way" in the PED era.

The Dominant 20: Marta is No. 9

espnW's Julie Foudy examines how the legend of Marta, a five-time FIFA Player of the Year, has grown despite the struggle for equality in her native Brazil.

The Dominant 20: Serena Williams is No. 12

It's difficult to imagine a time when Serena Williams didn't rule fans' hearts and minds, but as ESPN's Howard Bryant reflects, the respect was hard-won.

Medal Tracker

Total Medal Leaders
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Total Medal Leaders
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