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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4. Larisa Latynina

Larisa Latynina is and will always be in the conversation for the greatest Olympic athlete ever. Only Michael Phelps has more medals at the Olympics than Larisa Latynina. 

She’s won 18 medals in her illustrious career, nine of which are golds. She almost swept the 1956 Olympic Games for the Soviet Union, winning gold in all around, vault, floor exercise, and team. She fell to silver in the uneven bars. Unlike most gymnasts on this list, who found their success in their early teenage years, Latynina was 21 years old at her first Olympics. 

What makes this career seem impossible is the fact that she was pregnant in 1958. Two years after her dominant Olympic run in Melbourne, she was competing at the World Championships while four months pregnant. She won four out of the five events she competed in, again while four months pregnant. That also means she was a mother for the rest of her gymnastics career, which includes competing at the highest level at the Rome and Tokyo Olympics. 

Latynina will forever be linked to greatness. She is the only female gymnast to have twice won team gold, all-around gold, and an event final gold at the same Olympics. She is also the only gymnast in history to win three gold medals in one event (floor exercise).