Our favorites have one thing in common: They all rule.
Fair or not, the men have hogged the spotlight in the world of sports for the longest time. But the women are pretty good themselves, and quite a few have made their mark in this too often male-dominated world. And, actually, female athletes are finally getting the respect (and love) they deserve for doing well in the metaphor of life that is sports.
It should be no surprise then that today’s sports fans—male or female—generally have a favorite female athlete, or at least a woman athlete they look up to. That is especially true for us, the One Sports staff, who are big fans of sports ourselves.
With that being said, allow us to honor the world's women athletes by sharing our favorite female athletes of all time:
Martin Dale Bolima – Laila Ali
Yours truly is a huge Laila Ali fan. There’s just something about badass women who can kick butt, and Laila certainly qualifies. The daughter of the great Muhammad Ali, Laila also blazed a trail in women’s boxing, legitimizing it and giving the sport its first true marquee attraction.
Of course, one could argue that she piggybacked off her great father’s legacy, but the truth is, she could’ve made it big regardless because she was just that talented. Plus, her transition to being a health and fitness advocate and a successful entrepreneur proves she really is beauty, brawns, and brains.
Jan Ballesteros – Hidilyn Diaz
When asked who my favorite female athlete of all time is, Hidilyn Diaz came to mind right away.
This could be recency bias taking over. But it’s hard to ignore the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold she gifted the country. It’s even harder to ignore the efforts she does for the next generation of not only women weightlifters, but women athletes from all sports. She’s truly an inspiration to everyone.
Raul Maningat – Hidilyn Diaz
My favorite female athlete would have to be Hidilyn Diaz. When she bagged the country’s first Olympic gold, I never felt more overwhelmed with joy and excitement while watching a sporting event. Remember how we felt when Gilas Pilipinas defeated South Korea in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship? Well, it was twice as intense for me when Diaz finally overtook China’s Liao Qiuyun to win the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting category. For giving me that one of a kind sporting experience, Hidilyn tops my list.
Gab Mallari – Becky Hammon
The first and only sports team I love is the San Antonio Spurs. Thanks to that Tim Duncan cover of NBA Live 2000, the nine-year-old me discovered the Spurs’ winning lore and never let go of it. Naturally, in 2007, when Becky Hammon was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars, I rooted for her. It’s not homer bias, but bias towards smart point guards. Hammon could light it up, but her basketball IQ was astounding. No wonder she blazed the trail for women coaches in the NBA, and she became the first rookie head coach to win a title in the WNBA.
Katrina Alba – Margielyn Didal
My favorite female athlete would be Margielyn Didal.
I'm not a skater, I can barely name all the tricks she does with the skateboard. But when I covered her for the inaugural event in the Asian Games, her joy and cheerfulness were just so infectious. She would dance in the rain on her own and would dance with cleaning staff who were mopping the park when the venue got wet.
Other athletes in the event, as young as eight years old, flocked to her tent just to get a photo and Margie would take them in, unprompted.
When she won the first-ever skateboarding medal in the event, that's when her smile turned to tears. Margie realized how significant that was and immediately appealed, "More skate parks!"
Margie's sheer infectious joy was seen by everyone in the Olympics. It's unpretentious. And she has got the skills to back it up. Pwede pa rin pala 'yung ganun.
Margielyn Didal shows sports is fun.
Kiko Demigillo – Alex Morgan
Being a huge football fan, I grew up watching both men's and women's football matches.
I got to watch Alex Morgan during the 2015 and 2019 World Cup, where she was definitely key to USA winning the tournament both times. It also helps that I had a huge crush on her back then, but that’s not the only reason as to why she's my favorite female athlete of all time. She's one heck of a footballer, you know.