Broad shoulders and muscular thighs have been proudly earned by these professional athletes. These ladies put in the hard work in their respective sports and it’s paid off beautifully. When the ESPY Awards roll around, it’s time for the top female athletes to polish their look wearing gowns and heels. Would you recognize your favorite female athletes covered in glitz and glam? Keep reading to find out!
WTA Tour Tennis Player Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is no stranger to the ESPYs– she’s won the Best Female Tennis Player ESPY Award five times! Born in Russia and living in the US since 1994, Sharapova has had some incredible accomplishments throughout her career. She’s won an Olympic silver medal in women’s singles and is one of only ten women to hold the career Grand Slam.
When she’s not making money on the tennis court she’s modeling for magazines and top brands like Nike, leading her to become the highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years. Sharapova earned $285 million since she turned pro and announced her retirement in 2020. (But we still hope to see her rocking the red carpet!)
US Women’s National Team Soccer Player Alex Morgan
On the soccer field, Alex Morgan is a force to be reckoned with, but she’s fierce on the red carpet, too. Morgan has taken home the much-coveted ESPY Award for 2019 Best Female Athlete and has also been nominated for 2012 Best Breakthrough Athlete and 2013 Best Moment.
The same week Morgan took home her ESPY, the US Women’s National Team clinched their fourth World Cup title. When she went on stage to accept the award, she jokingly told the audience, “Sorry, but this is probably the second-best trophy we won this week.”
NHRA Drag Racer Brittany Force
If you don’t know who Brittany Force is, allow us to introduce you. Daughter of drag racer John Force, Brittany and her two sisters all compete in NHRA drag racing. In 2019, Brittany became the first woman driver to be named Number 1 qualifier in Top Fuel at the U.S. Nationals.
That’s not the first time she’s made history. She also became the first woman to win the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2016 and the second woman to win a Top Fuel Championship in 2017. You’d hardly recognize her on the red carpet without a helmet and her Monster sponsorship logos.
WTA Tour Tennis Player Serena Williams
It doesn’t matter whether she’s on a clay court or a red carpet– Serena Williams loves rocking bright colors. Here she’s pictured wearing a daring pink long-sleeved dress at the 2011 ESPY Awards.
Serena Williams has taken home the ESPY for Best Female Tennis Player ten times, which isn’t at all surprising considering she’s won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and is widely considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Alpine Ski Racer Skiier Lindsey Vonn
Alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn has won more medals and awards than we can count. Her accomplishments include an Olympic gold medal, eight World Cup season titles, and four World Cup overall championships. Vonn competed in all five disciplines of alpine skiing and won a World Cup title in each of them!
In a much warmer climate on the red carpet at the ESPYs Vonn flaunts her feminine side. Vonn has eight ESPY Awards to display on her mantle, including 5X Best Female Athlete and the Best Comeback Athlete in 2015 for making her return after a crash during training.
Professional Wrestler And MMA Fighter Ronda Rousey
Would you recognize Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey on the red carpet? Typically seen in the ring wearing a punishing looking on her face, Rousey also likes getting dressed up for special occasions. Before starting her mixed martial arts career, Rousey earned an Olympic bronze medal in judo and was ranked one of the top three women in the world in her weight class.
She made a name for herself in the UFC when she fought in the first women’s fight in UFC history, taking down Liz Carmouche to successfully defend her title. Rousey was the first MMA fighter to win an ESPY, and now she has three: Best Female Athlete in 2014 and 2015, and Best Fighter in 2015.
Gymnast Aly Raisman
Gymnast Aly Raisman is both a fierce competitor and an incredible leader. Raisman was named team captain in 2012 and 2016, leading the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastic team to Olympic gold. Crushing it in both balance beam and floor competitions, Raisman is the most decorated American gymnast to compete in the Olympics.
Outside of the gym, you might not recognize Raisman without her leotard and chalky hands. She attended the ESPYs dressed to the nines in 2018 where she and 141 “sister survivor” athletes were honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Racecar Driver Danica Patrick
Although she hasn’t taken home an ESPY award herself, racecar driver Danica Patrick became the first woman to host the awards show in 2018. Formerly competing in NASCAR and IndyCar racing, Patrick has claimed many “firsts”. She became the first female to win an IndyCar Series race when she drove across the finish line at the 2008 Indy Japan 300.
When she’s not wearing her racing suit, Patrick can rock a red carpet with the best of them. This racecar driver isn’t afraid to flaunt her feminine side.
Gymnast Simone Biles
One of the greatest gymnasts of all time, Simone Biles became a phenomenon at a young age. Before heading to the Tokyo Olympics, Biles has a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, making her the most decorated American gymnast in the history of the sport.
But even the most focused and dominant professional athletes enjoy their downtime. Biles attended the 2017 ESPYs wearing a stunning blue dress with a dramatic train, paired with sparkling silver accessories and heels.
WWE Wrestler Kelly Kelly
Fans of WWE will recognize wrestler Kelly Kelly. If you think she looks like a professional model on the red carpet, you’d be right. Outside of the ring, Kelly Kelly has modeling experience under her belt, posing for Venus Swimwear and Hawaiian Tropic. She was also the first female WWE wrestler to appear on the cover of Maxim.
While she officially left the WWE in 2012, she still makes special appearances and has appeared on the TV reality series WAGS.
Olympic Gymnast Jordyn Wieber
Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber had an incredible career competing with the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastic team. She was a part of the “Fierce Five” in 2012 who took home gold. In addition to her Olympic medal, Wieber has nine gold and one bronze world championship medals.
Wieber loves dressing up for a night on the town or rocking the red carpet. She told Instyle, “Once the Olympics were over, I got the chance to play with my style a little bit. I get to wear high heels more often. It’s a lot of fun!”
WWE Wrestler Nikki Bella
One half of the Bella Twins, former WWE wrestler Nikki Bella made it all the way to the Hall of Fame in her sport. She’s a two-time WWE Divas Champion and has held her title longer than any other Diva in WWE history. Rolling Stone named her Diva of the Year in 2015 while Pro Wrestling’s Illustrated Female 50 ranked Nikki Bella No. 1 the same year.
The wrestler feels right at home on the red carpet, as she’s no stranger to dressing up. She and her sister Brie Bella have their own fashion line together, named Birdiebee.
Olympic Gymnast Nastia Liukin
Born in Russia, Nastia Liukin competed on the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team in 2008, taking home five Olympic medals. She also has world championship medals competing on the uneven cars and balance beam.
Now retired, Liukin has more time to glam up, which she loves doing whether or not there’s a red carpet involved. Based out of Texas, the gymnast often shares photos of her styled in a dress and heels on her Instagram.
Bobsledder And Track And Field Athlete Seun Adigun
Olympic Bobsledder and Track and Field athlete Seun Adigun founded the bobsled team for her home country of Nigeria, making her two-women team the first athletes to represent Nigeria in the Winter Olympics. In Track and Field, Adigun has two world championship gold medals in the 100-meter hurdles.
Her dress and heels on the red carpet at the ESPYs showed her softer side. In 2019 she opted for an emerald green gown that matches Nigeria’s flag.
Halfpipe Snowboarder Chloe Kim
Snowboarder Chloe Kim won her first Olympic gold medal when she was just 17-years-old, competing in the halfpipe competition. She also has six X-Games gold medals and is the first snowboarder to win all four titles in the World, Olympic, Youth Olympic, and X Games.
Kim has won three ESPY awards: Best Female Athlete, Best Female Olympian, and Best Female Action Sports Athlete. Not only is she athletically gifted but she has beauty and brains too. Kim was accepted to Princeton and has plans to attend in 2023 to study science.
Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin
Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time Overall World Cup champion. She is also the youngest slalom skier to win 50 World Cup races and become an Olympic alpine skiing champion. Now 26-years-old, Shiffrin is still competing and focused on training.
She received an ESPY nomination for Best Female Athlete in 2019. Her stylist Jasmine Caccamo said of dressing professional athletes, “When you’re looking at the runway, clothes just fall differently on a model than they would on an athlete who has broader shoulders or a tinier waist or more muscular thighs.”
Bobsledder And Track And Field Athlete Lolo Jones
Not only has Lolo Jones competed in the Summer Olympic Games in Track and Field, but she’s also appeared in the Winter Olympic Games for bobsledding– making her one of the few athletes to have competed in both the Summer and the Winter Games. She was predicted to win the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but ended up finishing seventh after tripping on the penultimate hurdle.
Jones is still extremely dedicated to health and fitness, and has authored a book titled, “Over It: How To Face Life’s Hurdles with Grit, Hustle, and Grace.”
Wheelchair Basketball And Track And Field Athlete Tatyana McFadden
Although she has an incredible 17 Olympic medals, Tatyana McFadden may be one of the lesser-known athletes on this list. McFadden has competed in the Summer Paralympic Olympic games four times, in Athens, Beijing, London, and Rio.
Claiming medals in both basketball and track and field, McFadden has beaten the odds her entire life, and she’s not finished yet. In 2016 she won the ESPY award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability and has been nominated a total of seven times in the same category.
Boxer Laila Ali
The daughter of the great Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali followed in her father’s footsteps to become a professional boxer. Heralded as one of the greatest female boxers of all time, Laila Ali remained undefeated at the time she retired from the ring in 2007.
Today, she’s an entrepreneur in the health and fitness realm and looks downright glamorous when she steps on the red carpet for events like the ESPYs.
Golfer Paige Spiranac
Former professional golfer and college athlete Paige Spiranac gained fame with the trick-shot instructional videos she posted to her social media. Because she doesn’t have any championship titles or medals to her name, some athletes have questioned what she contributes to her sport. However, her 3.1 million followers have something else to say about it.
Spiranac is one athlete who looks right at home wearing a sparkling dress at the ESPYs, and don’t expect her to apologize for it anytime soon.