NEW YORK CITY, Sept. 20, 2017 – Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/World Champion Centre, was named as the fittest female athlete in Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 issue, which honors the 50 most fit men and women across professional and Olympic sports. Two-time Olympian and four-time U.S. all-around champion Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./U.S. Olympic Training Center, ranked 32 on the men’s list. Athletes were considered based on performances in the last 12 months, demands and risks of their respective sports, training regimens, longevity and physical benchmarks, including speed, strength, endurance, agility, flexibility and power.
Following Biles, the women’s top five are Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix (2), Olympic champion swimmer Katie Ledecky (3), Olympic water polo champion Maggie Steffens (4), and CrossFit athlete Tia-Clair Toomey (5).
Biles made history at the 2016 Olympic Games by winning four gold medals and becoming the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history with her 19 World and Olympic medals. She joins Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin as the only U.S. women to collect five Olympic gymnastics medals at a single Games. Biles’ four gold medals tie the Olympic record for a female gymnast in a single Games. A three-time World all-around champion (2013-15), Biles became the fourth female gymnast in Olympic history to capture back-to-back World and Olympic all-around titles and the first since Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996. She joins Gabby Douglas (2012), Liukin (2008), Carly Patterson (2004), and Retton (1984) as the only U.S. women to win an Olympic all-around title. Biles’ victory gave the United States a fourth consecutive gold medal in the women’s all-around, a feat no other country has accomplished at the Olympics in men’s or women’s gymnastics, and its fifth overall. She also won the USA’s first-ever women’s vault Olympic gold medal.
Soccer’s Cristiano Ronaldo tops ranking on the men’s side. Rounding out the men’s top five are Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (2), tennis star Roger Federer (3), CrossFit athlete Mat Fraser (4), and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (5). SI’s full Fittest 50 list is available at http://on.si.com/2xxhCf3