30 greatest female athletes of all time

It's Women's History Month and to honor the great women who have graced the sports world, we've put together a list of the greatest female athletes ever.

Caitlin Clark celebrates a big play for the Iowa Hawkeyes
Caitlin Clark celebrates a big play for the Iowa Hawkeyes / Matthew Holst/GettyImages
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22. Sonja Henie
Ice Skating

This one is going way back. Sonja Henie hit the scene in 1927 when she was just 14 years old. She was one of the first international sensations in the sport of ice skating. She won the Norwegian national figure skating championship when she was just 10 years old. She was known for her movement, instilling a ballet-like style into her performance. This brought a style many from the time could follow, as ballet had been incredibly popular for more than 100 years at this point.

This became a time of dominance for Henie, who won 10 World Championships and three Olympic gold medals from 1927 to 1936. She’s one of just two women ever to defend an individual figure skating crown at the Winter Olympics. There is no female ice skater ever who has her list of accomplishments. Just at the Olympics, nobody has three individual gold medals. 

Henie was one of the first amateur athletes to show that it could be turned into a professional career. She was quietly charging to showcase her skills, or at least her parents were. She would travel the world and put on performances, making this a pseudo-career. Once she officially ended her amateur status, she started a touring skating company. 

The World Figure Skating Hall of Famer left the skating world to become an actor. She was always an innovator, from huge impacts like her skating-dance hybrid style to something as simple as wearing white boots and shorter skirts, which drew the gaze of judges to her legs, which accentuated her movement. She was one of a kind, and she should be remembered as so.