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The 50 Most Googled Female Athletes of 2012

by: Esteban On  Monday, March 4, 2013

most googled female athletes 2012

Last December we told you that 2011 was a big year for women’s sports, and it was. We weren’t lying. But this year—and I say this without an ounce of hyperbole—was even bigger. In addition to another exciting season in women’s tennis, we had a couple of huge viral video superstars pop up, as well as an event that never fails to turn unknowns into heroes: the Summer Olympics.

The result of all this is a little bit of a shakeup in our annual list of the most Googled female athletes in the world. Sure, there are still a lot of familiar faces. But there are also a few new ones and, most importantly, an entirely new athlete at #1.

So who is the #1 most Googled female athlete of 2012? Well, take a moment to jot down a few guesses and let some suspense build, then start clicking them arrows.

(FYI, the Google search results listed with each athlete were yielded by searching the person’s name in quotation marks and limiting the results to the past 12 months. Also, this list excludes retired athletes. So sorry, but there no Anna Kournikova.)

 

50. Francesca Piccinini

49 francesca piccinini - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 71,400

You may not have heard of her (unless you happened to read our list of the hottest female athletes at the 2012 Summer Olympics), but volleyball player is pretty popular in Italy.

 

49. Kim Yu-Na

48 kim yu na - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 72,400

South Korea’s Kim Yu Na won gold in figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics; however, that was two years ago, so she’s just barely handing in there on our top 50 list.

 

48. Luciana Aymar

47 luciana aymar - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 75,000

In Argentina they call this field hockey player “La Maradona del hockey.” And that’s probably fair, since Aymar has been named World Player of the Year an unprecedented 7 times.

 

 

47. Simona Halep

46 simona halep - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 76,300

Romania’s Simona Halep (the 47th ranked women’s tennis player in the world) had breast reduction surgery back in 2009 in hopes of improving her game. That hasn’t hurt her presence on the web.

 

46. Yanina Wickmayer

45 yanina wickmayer - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 86,100

Yanina Wickmayer is ranked 23rd in the world, but I think she’s popular just because people like saying “Ya-NINA.”

 

 

45. Vera Zvonareva

vera zvonareva - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 87,900

Speaking of awesome names, if Vera Zvonareva isn’t the best name in women’s tennis I don’t know what is. Anyway, though she has fallen from a career-best #2 ranking all the way down to #96, she’s still popular on the web. (I assume this has something to do with the fact that she is gorgeous.)

 

 

44. Natalie Gulbis

43 natalie gulbis - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 91,600

Natalie Gulbis has won just 3 pro tournaments, but she’s consistently one of the most popular women on the LPGA Tour. Don’t ask me why, though. It’s a mystery.

(That’s a joke. Of course I know why. So do you.)

 

43. Tina Charles

42 tina charles - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 98,000

Tina Charles won two National Championships with UConn and now has an Olympic gold medal to her name. That’s why she’s one of two women’s basketball players to make this list.

 

42. Michelle Wie

41 michelle wie - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 98,900

Michelle Wie turned pro when she was just 15. What can I say? People love a phenom.

 

41. Miesha Tate

40 miesha tate - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 99,900

Miesha Tate has reportedly been signed by the UFC. She’ll be the main opponent of another female MMA fighter also signed recently be the UFC—a woman who we’ll see further on down on this list.

 

40. Natalie Coughlin

39 natalie coughlin - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 101,000

U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin made her third appearance at the Olympics this past summer, winning her 12th and final medal—a bronze in the 4×100 meter freestyle. That’s a pretty okay career, I guess.

 

 

39. Candace Parker

38 candace parker - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 104,000

Candace Parker is not just one of the best basketball players in the WNBA. She’s pretty much the (very pretty) face of women’s basketball.

 

38. Sam Gordon

37 sam gordon wheaties box - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 104,000

This 9-year-old football running back became an international phenomenon when a video of her utter domination (35 TDs, 1,911 yards, 8.2 yards per carry) over boys twice her size went viral. Now she’s on the front of a Wheaties box (obviously) and is among the 50 most Googled female athletes of 2012.

I don’t know about you, but this one made my day.

 

37. Alana Blanchard

36 alana blanchard - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 107,000

Alana Blanchard is supposedly one of the top pro female surfers in the world. Personally, I know nothing about surfing so I can’t judge whether that is true; however, I know why she is so popular in the web.

 

36. Stephanie Rice

35 stephanie rice - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 108,000

After dominating at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice was shut out this year in London. However, she was still one of the games’ biggest celebrities. She even hung out with Kobe Byrant.

 

35. Andrea Petkovic

34 andrea petkovic - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 122,000

She’s ranked #125 right now, but last fall she reached #9. So this German tennis star is still riding that wave.

 

34. Daniela Hantuchova

34 daniela hantuchova espn body issue - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 183,000

Slovakian tennis player Daniela Hantuchova is 29 and in the twilight of her career. But it turns out that hot women who appear in ESPN’s famous “Body Issue” are pretty popular.

 

33. Aly Raisman

33 aly raisman - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 224,000

Aly Raisman was one of the unexpected heroes for the U.S. Olympic team this year. It’s no surprise she makes the list.

 

32. Christine Sinclair

32 christine sinclair - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 127,000

Christine Sinclair has been Canada’s #1 female soccer player for years, having even been nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year 6 of the last 8 years. However, she didn’t truly become famous until a performance for the ages in the Olympic semifinals. She scored 3 goals against the United States, which might have won the game if not for a very controversial penalty kick awarded by the referee. But despite the disappointment against the U.S. in the semis, Sinclair helped her team regroup to take the bronze medal game against France.

 

31. Dominika Cibulkova

31 dominika cibulkova - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 127,000

Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova has never made it past the semifinals of Grand Slam event, but she is ranked 15th right now…and pretty hot. So that accounts for her persistent popularity on the interwebs.

 

30. Maria Kirilenko

30 maria kirilenko - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 169,000

What can I say? The internet is just crazy about hot female tennis players…even if they are supposedly dating Alexander Ovechkin.

 

29. Katie Taylor

29 katie taylor - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 131,000

If you don’t know who Katie Taylor is, then you’re obviously not Irish. Because every single man, woman, child, dog, and cat on the Emerald Isle is a huge fan of this tiny gold medal Olympic boxer.

You can read more about her here.

 

28. Kerri Walsh

28 kerri walsh - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 146,000

Kerri Walsh is one half of the most famous and successful beach volleyball duo of all time. Her partner? Yeah, she’s up next.

 

27. Misty May-Treanor

27 misty may-treanor - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 154,000

Together with her partner Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor has won three straight gold medals in beach volleyball.

Now that’s dominance.

 

 

26. Marion Bartoli

26 marion bartoli - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 159,000

France’s Marion Bartoli doesn’t have the physique you’d expect from an elite athlete. However, she started the year ranked #7 in the world, and currently she’s ranked #11, so obviously she’s doing something right.

 

25. Abby Wambach

25 abby wambach - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 203,000

Abby Wambach currently sits second on the all-time goals list for U.S. Soccer behind Mia Hamm. That’s pretty good company. Of course, this year she added a second Olympic gold medal to her collection of awards.

 

24. Victoria Pendleton

24 victoria pendleton - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 223,000

The gorgeous Victoria Pendleton became a star in Great Britain after winning gold in women’s sprint cycling in 2008. This year she cemented her status as a megastar by winning two more medals on home soil—a silver in the sprint and another gold in the keirin.

 

23. Samantha Stosur

23 samantha stosur - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 249,000

2011 U.S. Open Champ Samantha Stosur may not have added any more Grand Slam titles to her resume this year, but she still has the biggest guns in women’s tennis.

 

22. Petra Kvitova

22 petra kvitova - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 261,000

This 22-year-old Czech tennis star won Wimbledon in 2011 and rose to #2 in the world last fall. As 2012 draws to a close she currently sits at #8, but she still has a big web presence.

 

21. Leryn Franco

21 leryn franco - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 265,000

Perennial “Googled female athlete” Leryn Franco got a bit of a boost this year thanks to her participation in the Summer Olympics. Of course, the Paraguayan javelin thrower didn’t medal, but gosh darn it she tried hard.

 

20. Agnieszka Radwanska

20 agnieszka radwanska - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 302,000

After becoming the first Polish player in the Open Era to reach the finals of a grand slam (Wimbledon) this summer, Agnieszka rose to #2 in the rankings and #1 in the hearts of Polish sports fans. Though she currently sits at #4, the 24-year-old looks poised for a great 2013.

 

19. Li Na

19 li na - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 562,000

When you become the first Chinese tennis player to win a Grand Slam event (the 2011 French Open), you become very popular on the web. (In case you didn’t realize, there are a lot of people in China.)

 

18. Lolo Jones

18 lolo jones - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 652,000

Lolo was heavily criticized by Jere Longman of the New York Times this summer for using her good looks to gain more attention heading into the 2012 Summer Olympics than her athletic performance merited. Actually, “heavily criticized” probably doesn’t do it justice. Of course, the article did not mention that her 2012 performance had been dampened by injuries and that she was the U.S. record holder in the 100-meter hurdles. And it also didn’t admit that maybe, just possibly, people also like her for her personality. (Have you seen her Twitter feed? It’s pretty funny.)

And of course, despite Longman’s claim that Jones was undeservedly the most famous U.S. track athlete at the Summer Games, she is not the highest ranking U.S. track athlete on this list.

Go figure.

 

17. Ana Ivanovic

17 ana ivanovic - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 846,000

Will Ana Ivanovic ever win another Grand Slam tournament? Who knows. But she’s got one, which is more than enough to prove that, unlike Anna Kournikova, she didn’t just get by on her (insanely good) looks.

 

16. Victoria Azarenka

16 victoria azarenka trophy - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 927,000

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka kicked off 2012 by winning the Australian Open, her first Grand Slam victory, and she capped the year by reaching the finals of the U.S. Open and finishing the #1 player in the world.

That’s a pretty good year.

 

15. McKayla Maroney

15 mckayla maroney not impressed with barack obama - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 954,000

To be honest, given the ubiquity of McKayla Maroney’s “not impressed” expression, I expected her to finish even higher on the list. But hey, 15th aint bad.

 

14. Allyson Felix

14 allyson felix - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 1,030,000

Discussing Lolo Jones’s popularity in #18, I said that she was not the most popular female U.S. track athlete on the web this year. That honor belongs to Allyson Felix. In addition to being gorgeous and intelligent (she graduated from USC with a degree in elementary education), Felix is also the owner of 6 Olympic medals. Four of those are gold, and three of them came in London this summer in the 200m, the 4x100m relay, and the 4x400m relay.

 

13. Sania Mirza

13 sania mirza - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 1,120,000

Sania Mirza has never been ranked higher than #27 in the world, and has never even sniffed the singles final of a Grand Slam tournament. However, she is by far the most accomplished Indian player of all time, having been the first to win a WTA event and only the third to win a Grand Slam doubles event. (She won mixed doubles at the 2009 Aussie Open and the 2012 French.) So she’s pretty big in her native country, and that accounts for her major popularity on the internet.

 

12. Alex Morgan

12 alex morgan - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 1,260,000

Alex Morgan is very good at soccer and very good at being attractive. The only thing surprising about her place on this list is that it’s not higher.

 

11. Hope Solo

11 hope solo - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 1,410,000

This year U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo just barely beat out her teammate Alex Morgan for the #11 spot on this list. She dropped a couple of spots from last year’s list, but she also had stiffer competition, what with the Olympics and all. So #11 is still solid.

 

10. Ronda Rousey

10 ronda rousey - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 1,680,000

If women’s MMA finally takes off, it will be because of Ronda Rousey, who became the first woman ever signed by the UFC.

Of course, if women’s MMA doesn’t take off, it might be because of Ronda Rousey. Since no one can seem to get past the first round of their fights against Rousey, it will be hard to foster competitive balance.

 

9. Danica Patrick

9 danica patrick - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 1,870,000

Danica made the full-time move to NASCAR this year but the results were still the same: disappointing. Of course, she may have been distracted by events in her personal life, as she recently announced she and her husband were getting divorced.

 

8. Venus Williams

8 venus williams - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 2,210,000

Unlike her sister, Venus Williams, 32, looks to be done as a top-10 tennis player. Of course, she is still ranked #24, and she still has those 7 Grand Slam titles to her credit. So she’s still a big draw on the tour and a big presence on the Googles.

 

7. Gabby Douglas

7 gabby douglas - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 2,490,000

No surprise here. Gabby Douglas became the newest “America’s Sweetheart” this summer when she took gold in the individual all-around gymnastics competition at the Summer Olympics. This picture pretty much says it all.

 

6. Lindsey Vonn

6 lindsey vonn - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 6,340,000

Lindsey Vonn is, in my opinion, the greatest female athlete in the world right now. Though she has “only” one Olympic gold medal on her resume, the 28-year-old skier has won 4 of the last 5 World Cup season championships.

Find me another female athlete who’s dominated her sport so thoroughly over the last 5 years.

 

5. Caroline Wozniacki

5 caroline wozniacki - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 7,710,000

Rory McIlroy’s girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki had an incredible run in 2010 and 2011 that led her to the top of the world tennis rankings. Unfortunately, either she cooled off or her competition heated up in 2012, because now she sits at #10.

Nevertheless, she’s still one of the most popular players in the world, and the #5 most Googled female athlete.

 

4. Maria Sharapova

4 maria sharapova trophy - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 8,860,000

There are 3 tennis players in the top 5, and Maria Sharapova is the second. 2012 was a fantastic year on the court for the Russian-American bombshell. In May she complete the very rare Career Grand Slam by winning the French Open, which at the same time vaulted her back to the top of the rankings for a while.

Right now she sits at #2, but hey, that’s still pretty good.

 

3. Michelle Jenneke

3 Michelle Jenneke - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 14,800,000

Australia’s Michelle Jenneke became an international superstar (or sorts) this summer, and the hurdler didn’t even compete in the Olympics. Instead, the then-18-year-old became an internet sensation when a video of her pre-race warmup routine found its way to the web.

Man, the internet is a crazy place.

 

2. Serena Williams

2 serena williams - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 16,100,000

Serena Williams was #1 in 2010 and #1 in 2011. But in 2012, despite having an absolutely killer comeback year on the court in which she won Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the U.S. Open, Serena finds herself at #2 on the list of most Googled female athletes.

Who the heck is #1, you ask?

Well, drumroll please…

 

1. Jessica Ennis

1 jessica ennis - most googled female athletes 2012

Google Results From Past Year: 29,400,000

Jessica Ennis was by far the most-hyped and therefore most famous British athlete heading into the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. That had to put a lot of pressure on the 26-year-old heptathlete and hurdler.

However, that pressure was no match for Ennis. She lived up to all the expectations by taking gold in the women’s heptathlon, thus earning the unofficial title “greatest female athlete in the world.”

Now she’s earned a new title: most Googled female athlete of 2012.

Congratulations, Jennifer. You’re very deserving.

 




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