In addition to having a competitive spirit, being an athlete requires commitment and a lot of hard work. Although there are many athletes who are great at what they do, over the past decade, there were a handful that stood out from the rest.
No. 1 – Tiger Woods
Even a highly-publicized sex scandal can’t tarnish Tiger Woods and his track record. Born December 30, 1975, Woods made his professional debut in 1996, going on to win the PGA Tour 79 times. With winnings and endorsements that reached up to a cool billion in 2009, Woods remains ranked as the world’s number one golf player. He makes dominating the golf course seem easy.
No. 2 – Roger Federer
Born August 8, 1981, Roger Federer is a Swiss tennis player who took the world of tennis by storm, winning 16 Grand Slams, 67 titles and a truckload of prize money. Although replaced by Rafael Nadal, Federer has held the no. 1 spot for 285 weeks, and is currently listed as no. 4 in the world. Even with his sometimes questionable wardrobe choices and a demeanor that’s described as arrogant, there’s no denying that he’s a great athlete.
No. 3 – Serena Williams
When it comes to women’s tennis, Serena Williams is the one to beat. Born September 26, 1981, Williams’ accomplishments include 55 career singles titles, two mixed double titles and 22 doubles titles. Williams went Pro in 1995 and has won Olympic gold four times. Williams is the oldest female in tennis to be ranked the no. 1 player in the world.
No. 4 – Michael Phelps
With 22 medals under his belt, Michael Phelps holds the record for the most Olympic medals. Born June 30, 1985, Phelps makes swimming laps seem effortless. At the age of 15, he became the youngest American male to compete in Sydney’s Summer Olympics, and after retiring in 2012, he recently announced at the age of 28 that he’s returning to the professional competition.
No. 5 – Kobe Bryant
When Kobe Bryant achieved the 30,000-point plateau in December of 2012 it was clear that he was the top athlete in his field. Born August 23, 1978, Bryant was recruited into the NBA straight from high school, never to look back. He’s a four- time NBA All-Star MVP, a nine time member of the NBA All-Defensive First-Team and ten time member of the All-NBA-First Team.
Sports Illustrated: 2000s Top 20 Male Athletes
ESPN: Woods Named Top Athlete of Decade
ESPN: Tiger Woods
ESPN: Celebrating More Than Fed’s Birthday
CNN: Serena Williams Fast Facts
Biography: Michael Phelps
Lakers Nation: Kobe Bryant Stats, Bio, Career