Our 5 Favorite Female Olympians of All Time
The summer Olympics are here, and it’s been a long 5 years without them. This global tradition has long given us captivating stories of glory that inspire us all.
So it’s about time we celebrate the most determined athletes of our time.
Whether you’re setting yourself up to not miss a minute or plan on catching some of the action on a conference room TV, you’re bound to see something epic at the Olympics this summer.
While reminiscing on past Olympics, the Sherpani staff shared their all-time favorite female Olympians that continue to inspire Americans everywhere. Here are 5 women from Team USA we couldn’t help but highlight!
1. Carli Lloyd (Soccer)
Olympic Games: Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2021
Olympic Medals: 2 Gold
At 38-years-old, Carli Lloyd is heading into her 4th Olympics games in Tokyo. With 2 Olympic Golds, 2 FIFA Women’s World Cup Championships, and the 2016 title of FIFA World Player of the Year, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
A fierce leader in the feminism movement, she proves that female athletes are capable of world shattering athletic performance. In 2015, during the 2015 FIFA World Cup, Lloyd became the first player ever to score 3 goals in a single game — and did so in just 16 minutes!
Soccer fans everywhere rejoice when she steps on the field, and we can’t wait to see Lloyd and the rest of the US Women’s National Team take on the world this summer!
2. Abby Wambach (Soccer)
Olympic Games: Athens 2004, London 2012
Olympic Medals: 2 Gold
Another soccer player joins the list of Sherpani favorites! Abby Wambach is a favorite choice for her successes on and off the field.
After helping the US Women’s National Team win 2 Olympic gold medals and the 2015 FIFA World Cup, Wambach retired from the sport but remains a relevant figure in the soccer world.
After her retirement, she released the moving memoir Forward, in which she deeply recounts her triumphs and struggles with an admirable transparency.
On July 7th of this year, her new show Abby’s Places debuted on ESPN+. The feel good soccer show is a celebration of the world’s favorite game.
3. Mary Lou Retton (Gymnastics)
Olympic Games: Los Angeles 1984
Olympic Medals: 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Mary Lou Retton made history as the first American gymnast to win gold in the women’s all-around at the 1984 Olympic Games.
A title that had previously been held only by Eastern Europeans, this victory was especially patriotic as the games took place on American soil in Los Angeles.
Her spirited performance at the games included a perfect 10 floor routine and a unique uneven bars trick nicknamed “The Retton Flip.” Retton has earned a spot as a Sherpani favorite because of her unforgettable performance that year.
4. Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Track and Field)
Olympic Games: Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996
Olympic Medals: 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
This record-shattering powerhouse, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, dominated the track in no less than 4 Olympic Games. Her events were the Long Jump and the Heptathlon, in which she’s considered one of the greatest female athletes of all time.
Her talents don’t end there either. Joyner-Kersee was an impressive basketball player and earned a college scholarship to UCLA. After retiring from track, she played professionally for a short stint in the American Basketball League.
She has always used her fame as a platform to advocate for social justice, and is still a public speaker today. We love a woman who can do it all!
5. Dara Torres (Swimming)
Olympic Games: Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008
Olympic Medals: 4 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze
Dara Torres is a decorated Olympic swimmer, whose career has spanned decades. She represented Team USA in five different Olympics between 1984 and 2008, making her the first American swimmer to ever compete in this many games.
In her final Olympics, the Beijing games in 2008, she was the oldest American swimmer to ever compete at the games, and is still known for this today.
She swam in 3 events that year, the 50-meter freestyle, the 4x100-meter medley relay, and the 4x100-meter freestyle relay. She took home a silver medal in each one.
Like Julia Child who didn’t take a cooking class until the age of 35, Torres reminds us that age is just a number and that your dreams are always within reach.
Who’s Ready for the Olympics?
Looking back on the careers of these amazing women, we can’t help but get excited to watch the athletes of the 2021 Tokyo games.
The time’s almost here to cheer on the iconic favorites we know and love, like Simone Biles, Carli Lloyd, and the upcoming athletes of the next generation.
Hailey Hernandez, an impressive diver, and Evy Leibrath, a fearless 17-year-old canoe Slalom champion are both representing Team USA for their first Olympic games this summer.
To the women of Team USA, and to all of the other accomplished athletes heading to Tokyo, you inspire us to push harder and reach farther. Thank you and good luck this summer — you can represent Team Sherpani any time!