Women athletes who’ve wowed on the red carpet


With their unrelenting determination and out-of-this-world physical abilities, it’s easy to adore the world’s top athletes. We’re used to cheering on our favorite female athletes while they’re busy outperforming their competition — not worrying if a hair is out of place or their mascara’s been smudged.

That’s why this list of lady athletes wowing on the red carpet is so much fun to read. It’s nice to see how these athletic icons choose to get dolled up when the opportunity arises.

Danica Patrick

Haters come out of the woodwork whenever Danica Patrick’s name comes up, but they’re probably just jealous.

She became the face of NASCAR — and, arguably, auto racing in general — during the eight years she spent driving for them, despite never winning a race. Patrick broke many barriers during her racing career in both NASCAR and IndyCar, including being the first woman to ever win an IndyCar race and the highest finish ever by a woman at both the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.

Patrick’s life off the track has attracted much attention, including her eye-catching GoDaddy.com endorsements and high-profile relationships with other athletes, including NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The photo below was taken at the 2015 ESPY Awards, a show she later hosted in 2018.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Ronda Rousey

Despite being only 31 years old, Ronda Rousey has accomplished more than many other athletes ever do, regardless of gender.

As a teen, she became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo at the 2008 Beijing games and she parlayed her martial arts expertise into an explosive career in the UFC. She dominated the UFC’s women’s division from 2012 to 2015 before taking a pair of losses and retiring.

Rousey has since become one of WWE’s top pro wrestlers and has done some acting, including in the 2015 movie “Entourage.” Here she is in a photo from the movie’s premiere.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Nikki Bella

Alongside her twin sister Brie, Nikki Bella became one of WWE’s most popular woman wrestlers ever, starting in the late 2000s. Bella is recognized as the longest-reigning champion in the history of the WWE Divas Championship. She’s also been part of WWE’s E! channel reality show “Total Divas” since it kicked off in 2013.

Outside the ring, Bella has dated fellow wrestler John Cena since 2012, but the couple called off their engagement in 2018, just weeks before their wedding was scheduled to take place. Bella has also done some acting, though not in the movie “Trainwreck,” despite being pictured at its 2015 premiere below.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Serena Williams

If you look up “domination” in the dictionary, there’s a good chance Serena Williams’ photo could be there. She’s been a mainstay in the world of women’s tennis since 1995, when she first turned pro at the age of 14, and has ruled it since the early 2000s. Running down her stats is exhausting but she’s won 39 combined Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles and will likely go down as the best to ever pick up a racket, male or female.

In 2016, she married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and gave birth to their first child, a daughter, in 2017. Williams is also regarded as a style icon, which you can see in the photo below, taken at the 2015 Wimbledon Champions Dinner in London, a tennis tournament she’s won seven times.

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Alex Morgan

Few athletes have been as productive as American soccer superstar Alex Morgan in such a short period of time. The 29-year-old can already call herself an Olympic gold medalist, a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and a National Women’s Soccer League champion — not to mention a UC-Berkeley graduate, a best-selling author and an actor!

Morgan has been a star with the U.S. national soccer team since she was just 22. She’s been married to fellow soccer player Servando Carrasco since 2014. The shot below was taken at the 2015 ESPY Awards, where she won an award shared by her fellow U.S. national team players.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova turned pro on her 14th birthday and has consistently been one of the sport’s top players since the mid-2000s. Sharapova has won five Grand Slam singles championships in her career and has been ranked as the world’s top player five times as well.

Off the court, she has worked as a model and also runs her own candy brand called Sugarpova. The photo below was taken at the 2012 ESPY Awards, where she won the trophy for best female tennis player for the fourth time.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Lindsey Vonn

When Lindsey Vonn finished what is expected to be her last Olympic skiing run in 2018, she brought an end to one of the greatest careers the sport has ever seen. She is a three-time Olympic medalist in downhill and super-G skiing, and has won four World Cup championships. Among alpine skiers, Vonn is arguably the most high-profile athlete ever, earning endorsements with brands including Oakley and Red Bull.

Off the slopes, she made tabloid headlines for dating Tiger Woods from 2013 to 2015 and she currently dates NHL player P.K. Subban. The photo below was taken at the 2018 Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50, an annual event that recognizes the best-dressed athletes in the world.

Rich Fury/Getty Images

Candace Parker

Standing at 6-feet-4-inches tall, WNBA star Candace Parker doesn’t need heels but, as you can see, she wears them well.

Parker was regarded as one of the best women’s basketball players in the country during her college career at the University of Tennessee, where she won two national championships and became the first woman ever to dunk in an NCAA tournament game. She’s since won two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA championship and two WNBA MVP awards.

Off the court, she supports animal rights and has worked as a TV commentator for CBS Sports during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The photo below was taken at the 2018 ESPYs.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Chloe Kim

Few teens could handle a sudden rush of fame with as much effortless cool as Chloe Kim. The snowboarder became a star during the 2018 Winter Olympics, where she won a gold medal for Team USA in the halfpipe. She’s just 18 but has already also won four gold medals at the X Games. Kim has also had a Barbie made in her likeness and, in 2018, she announced she was accepted to Princeton University.

Below, she’s seen at the Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50 event and, as you can tell, she earned that honor.

Rich Fury/Getty Images

Abby Wambach

One of the most decorated American soccer players of all time, Abby Wambach retired from the sport in 2015. During her outstanding career, she won two Olympic gold medals, a FIFA Women’s World Cup title and was the first soccer player to ever be named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year. In 2015, she was honored as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.

She married her girlfriend, author Glennon Doyle, in 2017. The shot below was taken at ESPN’s 2015 Body at ESPYs event, where Wambach showed off a slick suit and some sweet shoes.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Gabby Douglas

I’ll never forget watching little Gabby Douglas simultaneously capture America’s hearts and two gymnastics gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics. Just 16 years old at the time, Douglas made history as the first black athlete to ever win the individual all-around gold medal at the Olympics. Douglas went on to win a third gold medal — the only type of medal she’s ever won — at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

She’s since gone on to write a book and have her life story recounted in a Lifetime original movie. The photo below shows Douglas, all grown up at 22, attending the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Oscars viewing party in 2017.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for EJAF

Ashley Wagner

Figure skater Ashley Wagner became one of the faces of Team USA during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where she won a bronze medal with her teammates. Wagner is also a three-time U.S. national figure skating champion. Many were shocked when she was left off the roster of Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympics, but she has continued to skate. In 2017, Wagner was one of the athletes who posed for ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue; the photo below was taken at an event for the issue. (Check out that Olympic rings tattoo peeking out on her torso.)

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Caroline Wozniacki

Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has consistently been one of her sport’s biggest names since the early 2010s, despite having only won a single Grand Slam singles title. Wozniacki has racked up tens of millions of dollars in earnings, however, from winning 29 singles titles since turning pro in 2005. She’s good friends with Serena Williams and has a longtime on-court rivalry with the legendary player. The likable Wozniacki is engaged to former NBA player David Lee. In 2015, she was seen at the ESPY Awards, where her leggy look caught many eyes.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Charlotte Flair

One of the biggest stars in professional wrestling, regardless of gender, Charlotte Flair has been the gold standard of WWE’s women’s division since 2015. She’s the daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair and has equaled her dad’s legacy in many ways, having broken a lot of ground for women’s wrestling within the WWE. Her dangerous, high-flying moves and gymnastic-like submission holds make her one of the most exciting in-ring performers in the world.

The photo below was taken at WWE’s 2017 Mae Young Classic, a women’s wrestling tournament put on by the company.

Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for WWE

Mirai Nagasu

Figure skater Mirai Nagasu was already a star in her sport before the 2018 Winter Olympics, but that event made her a mainstream sensation. At the Pyeongchang games, the then-24-year-old skater became the first American female to ever land a triple axel at the Olympics, and she won a bronze medal along with her teammates.

In April 2018, she competed on “Dancing with the Stars.” Shortly after the 2018 Winter Olympics wrapped, Nagasu attended the Oscars and wowed on the red carpet in a blue dress.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Aly Raisman

Gymnast Aly Raisman has won six Olympic medals, including three golds, during her stellar career. She first became a star during the 2012 London Olympics, where she was a Team USA captain and captured an individual gold in the floor exercise. She returned as a captain during the 2016 Rio games.

In 2013, she competed on “Dancing with the Stars,” where she finished fourth. Raisman’s influence strengthened in 2017, when she came forward as one of the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of former Team USA physician Larry Nassar. She’s been viewed as a pillar of the #MeToo movement since coming forward.

She looked super-chic at the 2018 ESPY Awards.



Mikaela Shiffrin

Despite being just 23 years old, alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin has already made her share of American history at the Olympics. At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Shiffrin, then 18, became the youngest person ever to win gold in the slalom. She followed that with gold and silver medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang games. Shiffrin has quickly become one of the faces of skiing worldwide. In July 2018, she was pictured at an event supporting the ESPY Awards, where she was nominated twice.

Rich Fury/Getty Images

Simone Biles

After racking up an astounding five medals, including four golds, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, gymnast Simone Biles was already being called one of the sport’s all-time greats. The pint-sized dynamo stands at 4 feet 8 inches, but has the strength and personality of a giant. Like her teammate Aly Raisman, Biles competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and finished fourth in 2017.

She’s written a book about her life, “Courage to Soar,” which was turned into a Lifetime movie in 2018. Biles was pictured at the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, where she won the trophy for favorite female athlete.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Amanda Nunes

This Brazilian fighter is one of only two women who can say they knocked out Ronda Rousey. Amanda Nunes is one of the UFC’s most dominant fighters, having not lost a fight since September 2014, a seven-match streak that includes her star-making domination of Rousey in 2016. In August 2018, Nunes announced that she was engaged to fellow UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff. In 2016, she was honored by Equality California for helping bring visibility to LGBTQ rights. The photo below was taken at the reception for that award.

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for UFC

Skylar Diggins-Smith

One of the best point guards in NCAA basketball history, Skylar Diggins-Smith finished her career at Notre Dame in 2013 as the highest-scoring women’s basketball player ever to suit up for the iconic school. She then got drafted to the WNBA where she’s been a four-time All-Star. In 2017, she married her longtime boyfriend, Daniel Smith, who also played sports at Notre Dame.

In addition to basketball, Diggins-Smith has done some modeling, including in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which hosted the event she can be seen posing at below, in 2014.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Captain Morgan and Crown Royal

Maia Shibutani

Alongside her older brother Alex, Maia Shibutani has dazzled fans of figure skating worldwide with her skills in ice dancing. The “Shib Sibs” won two bronze medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, becoming the first American siblings to ever share an ice dancing medal.

The 24-year-old skater is a major social media star, with more than 375,000 Instagram followers and 160,000 YouTube subscribers. In August 2018, she was spotted on the red carpet at the premiere of Netflix’s movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” showing off her style.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Becky Lynch

Known in WWE as the “Irish Lass Kicker,” Becky Lynch might have the best nickname — and hair — of any athlete on this list. She’s a favorite among pro wrestling fans for her intense style, thrilling matches and ability to handle a microphone. The 31-year-old has been with the WWE since 2013, where she became the company’s first-ever SmackDown Women’s Champion in 2016. Outside the ring, she holds a college degree in acting and has done some stunt work in TV.

In April 2018, she attended the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas and showed off those red locks for the cameras.

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Claressa Shields

Yet another woman you do not want to mess with on this list is boxer Claressa Shields. The Michigan native exploded onto the boxing scene as a teenager, winning gold medals in the women’s middleweight division at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. That made her the first American boxer of any gender to win consecutive golds. She turned pro in 2016 and is undefeated so far, winning world titles in multiple weight classes.

Now 23, Shields has also done some acting and is set to have a movie made about her life. Outside the ring, she does work for Up2Us Sports, a non-profit that helps train underprivileged kids, and was pictured below at the group’s 2016 gala in New York City.

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Allyson Felix

A legitimate role model and one of the greatest track athletes in history, Allyson Felix could leave just about anyone in the dust if she wanted to. She competed as part of Team USA from 2004 to 2016, becoming the only female track athlete in Olympic history to win six gold medals (not to mention the three silver medals she’s also won).

Off the track, Felix holds a degree in elementary education from the University of Southern California and has worked as an international ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Despite being a world-renowned athlete for about 15 years, she’s managed to keep her personal life mostly under wraps. The shot below was taken at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards, where she was nominated for sportswoman of the year for a third time.

hristian Alminana/Getty Images for Laureus

Katie Ledecky

At just 21 years old, Katie Ledecky already stands as arguably the greatest woman swimmer to ever enter a pool. She’s been a star for Team USA since the 2012 Olympics, where she won her first gold medal at just 15 years old. Since then, she’s won four more golds and a silver, often dominating the other world-class swimmers she faces.

Ledecky currently attends Stanford University, where she studies psychology and was a star swimmer before turning pro in 2018. The shot below was taken at the 2016 Golden Goggle Awards, honoring the best in American swimming.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Sasha Banks

She’s only 26 years old, but Sasha Banks has been a groundbreaker ever since she debuted for the WWE in 2012. Her look is as eye-catching as her wrestling skills and she’s been involved in a few of the best matches in the company’s recent history. In 2016, she was part of the first women’s match to ever headline a WWE pay-per-view event. In real life, Banks is first cousins with Snoop Dogg and R&B singer Brandy. She remains one of WWE’s top stars and was pictured sparkling below at one of the company’s 2016 events in Germany.

Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

Ibtihaj Muhammad

Let’s face it. Fencing never seemed all that cool. But Ibtihaj Muhammad has been making it a must-watch sport at the Olympics since 2016. That year, the New Jersey native became the first female Muslim-American athlete to win an Olympic medal when she took home a bronze for team fencing. Muhammad has become a face for American Muslims, becoming the first for Team USA to compete at the Olympics while wearing a hijab. She’s served as an ambassador for the U.S. State Department and holds two degrees from Duke University.

In 2017, Mattel designed a Barbie based on Muhammad’s likeness, which was unveiled at Glamour’s 2017 Women of the Year Awards, where she was pictured below.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Glamour

Tori Bowie

Mississippi-born Tori Bowie has become one of the brightest rising stars in American track and field. At the 2016 Olympics, she earned a gold, silver and bronze medal in various events. She was also a champion track athlete at the University of Southern Mississippi, from where she graduated in 2013 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

In addition to being one of the fastest women on Earth, she has also done some modeling, including for Valentino. In 2018, she was chosen as part of Sports Illustrated’s Fashionable 50, and you can see why from the photo below.

Rich Fury/Getty Images

April Ross

Nicknamed “The Boss,” April Ross has been one of the world’s top beach volleyball players for more than a decade. A two-time Olympic medalist, she won silver in 2012 with longtime partner Jen Kessy and bronze in 2016 with legendary player Kerri Walsh Jennings.

Ross is married to fellow volleyball player Bradley Keenan and holds a degree in international relations from the University of Southern California, where she was one of the school’s best players ever. Ross was pictured below at the 2016 ESPY Awards.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Jen Kessy

Like her longtime teammate April Ross, Jen Kessy was a star volleyball player at USC before becoming a decorated pro on the beach courts. Kessy and Ross won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, which was two years after she became just the eighth woman to earn more than $1 million in career earnings playing her sport.

Off the beach, she holds a history degree from USC and is married to French beach volleyball player Andy Cés, with whom she shares two daughters. The shot below was taken at a charity event benefiting California’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute in 2012.


Mark Davis/Getty Images for Sports Spectacular

Originally published on The Delite

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About the Author
Clint Davis
Clint has watched way too many TV shows and movies and makes a great partner for trivia night. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, baby son and two massive dogs. Visit Scripps News to see more of Clint's work.

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