Serena Williams, Tennis Player
Arguably the greatest female athlete of all time, Williams has emerged victorious through injuries, prejudice and issues with her pregnancy, inspiring women everywhere. Her achievements are too many to list; she’s won 23 Grand Slam titles and four gold medals at the Olympics, for starters. Adding to her list of accomplishments, Williams is also a fashion icon. From wearing a banned black catsuit to the 2018 French Open to her white trench at Wimbledon in 2010, she always shows her strength and sophistication and her fashion sense does too.
Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Hope Solo, Soccer Player
Two-time gold medal Olympian soccer goalkeeper and World Cup champion Hope Solo is totally badass. Showing strong body positivity, she posed nude for ESPN Magazine’s body issue and competed on the 2011 season of Dancing With the Stars. Passionate and sometimes controversial, Solo’s career on the soccer field has been inspirational, as is her fight for equal pay for female athletes.
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Maya Gabeira, Surfer
There are surfers, and then there are big wave surfers. And then, there is Guinness Book World record holder Maya Gabiera. Seemingly fearless, she rides 68-foot (seven-story) waves like she is out for a Sunday swim. She fought tirelessly to get a women’s category added to the World Surf League’s big-wave category. Surfer style has always been cool, and during the summer we all try to emulate the beachy waves and laid-back look that the surfer girls effortlessly brandish. Brazilian Gabeira keeps it looking haute on and off her board.
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Gabby Douglas, Gymnast
The first African-American to win the individual all-around in the 2012 Olympics, Douglas is a trendsetter on and off the mat. Saving the precision for her routines, Gabby rocked the messy bun, eschewing the years of gymnasts’ tight and overly-barretted ponytails. Her style is as strong as she is.
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Danica Patrick, Race Car Driver
Of all the sports here, racecar driving is the most male-dominated, and Patrick is doing her best to change that. She is keeping up with the boys, and against the odds, sometimes beating them. She won the Indy 300 Japan, the only woman to ever win an Indy race. She never downplayed her femininity, becoming a role model for feminists and fashionistas everywhere.
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Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skier
Four-time World Cup champion, first American woman to win a gold medal in the downhill event in the Olympics, and all-around speed demon Lindsey Vonn also happens to be gorgeous and a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Vonn fought through injuries and never gave up, and it paid off — she recently retired as the best alpine skier ever.
Image Karwai Tang/WireImage
Ibtihaj Muhammad, Fencer
A trailblazer in her sport and in life, Ibtihaj Muhammad was the inspiration for a hijab-wearing Barbie, the first Muslim-American woman to win an Olympic medal, and she was the first woman to wear a hijab while competing for the USA. She makes making history look easy, launching her own clothing line that aims to bring fashionable modest clothes to the market.
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Michelle Wie, Golfer
Taking the game — and athleisure — to a whole new level, Michelle Wie brings a sense of style to a game that for too long has been dominated by ugly green blazers. Turning pro before her 16th birthday, Wie won the US Open in 2014.
Image Han Myung-Gu/WireImage
Queen of the court Diggins-Smith has been balling since she could walk. Despite injuries, she became an WNBA All-Star, and she’s got the looks and body of a fashion model. She recently announced her pregnancy and we can’t wait to see how she inspires moms across the country.
Image Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Competitive, driven and gorgeous, female athletes have a certain finesse. The same finesse that allows them to become the best in their sport often gives them a savvy sophistication that translates to everything they do. The stride in their step, set in their jaw and a shining confidence makes them more than just pretty.
With these strong, powerful, intense women, it’s never about the clothes. It’s about the woman inside.
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