Special Report

37 Most Successful Athletes of the 21st Century

Source: Dennis Grombkowski / Getty Images

Abby Wambach
> Sport: Soccer
> Championships: 2x gold medal, 1x World Cup
> Team or country: United States Women’s National Team
> Career length: 2001-2015
> Other accomplishments: 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year

No soccer player — male or female — has ever scored more goals in international competitions than Abby Wambach. The U.S. forward helped her team win two Olympic gold medals and one FIFA World Cup.

Source: Nick Laham / Getty Images

Annika Sorenstam
> Sport: Golf
> Championships: 10x Major champion
> Team or country: Sweden
> Career length: 1994-2008
> Other accomplishments: 72 tour wins

Annika Sorenstam dominated women’s golf for almost her entire career. She won 10 major championships and was named the LPGA Tour Player of the Year eight times.

Source: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

Bob Burnquist
> Sport: Skateboarding
> Championships: 14x X Games gold medal
> Team or country: Brazil
> Career length: 1995-2017
> Other accomplishments: 30 total X Games medals

Bob Burnquist is a Brazilian-born pioneer who helped make skateboarding an international sensation. Burnquist, who competed at the first ever X Games, won 30 medals, including 14 golds.

Source: Harry How / Getty Images

Buster Posey
> Sport: Baseball
> Championships: 3x World Series
> Team or country: San Francisco Giants
> Career length: 2009-present
> Other accomplishments: 6x All-Star, 1x Gold Glove, 1x MVP

Buster Posey’s MLB career got off to a dream start. The San Francisco Giants catcher was named Rookie of the Year the same year he won his first World Series in 2010. Two years later, he won National League MVP and another championship. He added a third ring in 2014.

Source: Michael Regan / Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo
> Sport: Soccer
> Championships: 5x UEFA Champions league, 6x national league
> Team or country: Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus
> Career length: 2002-present
> Other accomplishments: 5x Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo will certainly go down as one of the most prolific goal scorers in soccer history. The Portuguese striker has led Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus to numerous national and continental championships.