Williams Sisters Leading Female Sports Stars

July 21, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Hispanic | Media & Entertainment | Men | Sports | Women

Tennis stars (and sisters) Serena and Venus Williams are the top two female sports stars in the US, according to a new survey from Harris Interactive.

Top 3 Unchanged from ’09
Just like last year, Serena and Venus Williams are number one and number two on the favorite female sports star list, followed by race car driver Danica Patrick. Perhaps thanks to the recent World Cup excitement, soccer player Mia Hamm moves up from number five to number four this year, followed by tennis star Maria Sharapova, who moves to number five from a tie in sixth place last year.


Next in the top 10 is another tennis star, Anna Kournikova, at number six, up from ninth place last year. Four newcomers or returning female stars round out the top ten: gold medal volleyball player Misty May and gold medal-winning gymnast and “Dancing with the Stars” champion Shawn Johnson are tied for number seven; at number nine is women’s basketball star Lisa Leslie; and tied for the 10th spot on the list are two former tennis greats, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratalova.

The four female sports stars who dropped off the list are basketball star Candace Parker, who was number four last year; golfer Annika Sorenstam, who was tied for number six; former tennis star Chris Everett, who was number eight, and skater Michelle Kwan, who was number 10.

Tennis Players Dominate List
Clearly Americans prefer tennis players more than other female athletes. Six of this year’s top 10 female athletes currently play or formerly played tennis. Auto racing, soccer, volleyball and gymnastics each had one representative on the list this year.

Serena Williams Wins Most Demographic Groups
When respondents are classified by gender, generation and race, Serena Williams still comes out number one with almost all groups. She was the preferred female sports star among men, women, Echo Boomers (ages 18-32), Baby Boomers (ages 45-63), Matures (ages 64-plus) and blacks. Danica Patrick captured the hearts of Gen Xers (ages 33-44) and whites, while Hispanics favored the older Williams sister, Venus.


Bryant, Woods Tie as #1 Sports Star
Basketball player Kobe Bryant tied with golfer Tiger Woods as America’s favorite sports star, according to other results from this survey.
Rounding out the top five are New York Yankee Derek Jeter at number three, up from fifth place; Minnesota Viking Brett Favre at number four, a leap from his ninth place position last year; and this season’s losing Super Bowl quarterback, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts at number five, up from seventh place last year.

Looking at the rest of the top 10, basketball player LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami and dropped three spots to number six on this year’s list while another NBA superstar, but one who no longer plays, Michael Jordan, dropped from the second spot on the list to number seven this year. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returns to the list after a one-year absence at number eight and the winning quarterback from this year’s Super Bowl, Drew Brees, debuts at number nine. Finally, a NASCAR superstar, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is at number 10, down from number eight last year.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States June 14-21, 2010 among 2,227 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


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