Sex appeal and marketing savvy have transformed some of today’s athletes into crossover superstars.
Whether it is tennis, hockey, soccer or auto racing, several athletes have been able to propel their sporting success and good looks into lucrative brands recognized around the globe.
Sportsnet magazine’s first-ever Beauty in Sport edition took a closer look at some of those stars, featuring 30 of the most beautiful athletes in sport today. So, we asked sportsnet.ca readers to rank their favourites.
Here are the Top 5 most beautiful female and male athletes, as voted on by sportsnet.ca users.
Top 5 females
1. Danica Patrick — In a sport historically dominated by men, the 29-year-old NASCAR star certainly sticks out. Patrick is one of the most popular and marketable athletes in North America, regularly appearing in Go Daddy commercials and even acting in episodes of The Simpsons and CSI: New York.
2. Ana Ivanovic — In addition to defeating her opponents with ease on the court, the former No. 1 ranked women’s tennis player is easy on the eyes. The 24-year old has won 11 WTA singles titles in her career and is no stranger to winning sportsnet.ca polls.
3. Tessa Bonhomme — Canadians love hockey players, especially when they look like Bonhomme. The 26-year old won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics and is one of the faces of the new generation of women’s hockey.
4. Alana Blanchard — Who doesn’t love seeing a good looking girl at the beach? And if that girl happens to be regarded as one of the best surfers in the world, then even better. Blanchard, the cover girl for Sportsnet magazine’s Beauty in Sport edition, was portrayed by actress Lorraine Nicholson in the 2011 movie Soul Surfer.
5. Maria Sharapova — The 6’2 Russian superstar is one of the most popular tennis players on and off the court. The 24-year old has appeared in Maxim, FHM and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and in 2007 Forbes listed her as the highest-paid female athlete in the world.
Top 5 males
1. Rafael Nadal — The former No. 1 ranked tennis player has finished second to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic many times in his career. But the Spaniard is no second fiddle on this list as his looks are appreciated by sports fans around the world.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo — The Portuguese soccer star is extremely talented on the pitch and extremely popular with the ladies off it. He is currently dating former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl and underwear model Irina Shayk. Not to be outdone by his model girlfriend, Ronaldo has taken over David Beckham as the … face? … of Armani underwear.
3. Tom Brady — Between his success on the field and his All-American good looks, Brady is one of the most marketable players in NFL history. Sorry ladies, he’s taken. The three-time Super Bowl champion is married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Unfortunately for her, she can’t blame Tom’s receivers for him not winning this time.
4. Sheldon Souray — One of the better power-play quarterbacks in recent years, Souray has managed to garner attention despite not playing in a huge hockey market. The Alberta native spent 2010-11 in the American Hockey League but is enjoying a nice comeback season with the Dallas Stars.
5. C.J. Wilson — Who says nice guys finish last? The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher lives his life clean, abstaining from alcohol, drugs and a promiscuous lifestyle in order to maintain his health. The devoted Taoist also has a collection of Porsches.