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
24 of 31

8. Simone Biles

Simone Biles hit the scene unlike any gymnast we’ve seen before, and we’ve seen some stars in this sport. Yet, this little bundle of joy with her million-dollar smile spun into our lives with a dominant performance in Rio de Janeiro. She left Brazil in 2016 with four gold medals and a bronze, showing greatness at every event. 

Biles continued to blaze a path, looking like she was going to easily become the greatest gymnast to ever live. She already has the record for most World Championship medals, earning her 25th at the 2019 event and winning 30 total at this point. Twenty-three of those 30 medals are of the gold variety. There is nobody who comes close to what she’s doing, even today. She won three gold medals at the 2023 World Championships. 

Biles very famously was forced to step away from the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo to regain her mental composure. She returned to the team event, where she helped them win a silver medal. It also brought into the general conversation the term “Twisties,” which in gymnastics means she lost awareness of her placement while in the air. Despite the harsh criticism she received worldwide, she came back for her team. 

She returned to gymnastics last year, and it became clear she hadn’t lost a step. Now that she’ll be 27 years old at the time of the 2024 Olympic Games, and she plans to make the trip to Paris. If she can have another dominant Olympic performance, Biles could see herself joining the elite of the elite on this list.