Professional golfer Tiger Woods is America’s favorite male sports star, while tennis champion Serena Williams tops the list as the country’s favorite female, according to (pdf) a recent poll from Harris Interactive.
Top Male Athletes
Though several well-known baseball, basketball and football players – as well as race-car drivers – all are represented on the list, Woods took the top spot for the fourth year in a row, the poll found.
Basketball great Michael Jordan, the only sports star to be on the list since it started in 1993, ranks at #2, while Cleveland Cavalier basketball player LeBron James is #3 after dropping off the list last year
Top Female Athletes
The study also asked Americans to rate their favorite female sports stars and found that tennis-playing sisters Serena and Venus Williams ranked #1 and #2. Race car driver, Danica Patrick – who was last year’s favorite female – pulled in at #3.
One football player and one basketball player dropped off the men’s list this year. Tom Brady spent the last football season on the sidelines with an injury, which is probably why he dropped off the list from a #8 tie last year. Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett was in the number 10 spot last year and has dropped off the list this year.
Female athletes who dropped off the 2009 list are Kristi Yamaguchi, who was #8 last year, and Billie Jean King, who was #10.
Tiger Woods proved to be the favorite among both male and female survey respondents, as well as the favorite among Whites and Hispanics. Among African Americans, Michael Jordan is the top male sports figure. Hispanics and Whites also favored Danica Patrick among female sports figures. African Americans chose Serena Williams.
Harris also noted a generation divide in survey findings: Echo Boomers (ages 18-32) say Michael Jordan is their favorite, as do Gen Xers (ages 33-44). For both Baby Boomers (ages 45-63) and Matures (ages 64+), Tiger Woods rates number one.
About the survey: This Harris Poll was conducted among 2,177 US adults who were surveyed online between June 8-15, 2009 by Harris Interactive.