Five of the greatest female sports stars of all time

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Any excuse to trail through the annals of history, and relive some of the very best to choose a sport and win everything on offer is fine by us, and today is one of those days.

Now we know you won’t all agree with the names on this list, and there are many worthy of being here, but we could only choose five of the best female sports stars, so stick with it.

But from soccer aces to sprinters and cyclists, we think our eclectic mix isn’t too shabby at all.

So to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re hailing the very best female sports players of all-time…

Mia Hamm

A true pioneer and a cut above at a time when women’s football struggled to gain the attention and recognition it now holds, Mia Hamm is as legendary as they come.

The American netted a stunning 158 international goals in 275 appearances, and her goal tally was a record for nine years.

A two-time Olympic Gold medallist, Hamm scored in three Olympic finals, and helped the USA to two Women’ World Cup Finals.

Martina Navratilova

For reaching Grand Slam finals 19 years apart, as well as six straight Wimbledon titles in a run of nine-successive Final appearances at SW19, we’re giving Martina Navratilova the nod over Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

The Czech star still holds the record for most singles titles in the Open era at a staggering 167, and doubles titles at 177 and is the only player in the history of the game – male or female – to have won eight different tournaments at least seven times.

Among everything she’s won, a notable mention of her talent is that Navratilova also won the Mixed Doubles US Open title with Bob Bryan in 2006. She was 50.

When you put all that together, Graf and Williams just don’t quite cut it.

Annika Sorenstam

The dominant force with the golf club across the 1990s and early noughties, Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam claimed a mammoth 90 professional titles.

72 Official LPGA tournaments included a record 10 Majors in the modern era, are accompanied by receiving eight Player of the Year titles and six Vare trophies.

Sorenstam is the only female player to score a 59, and recorded a stunning 68.6969 scoring average in 2004 and represented Europe in the Solheim Cup on eight occasions.

Marianne Vos

Cited by some as the finest cyclist of her generation, Dutchwoman Marianne Vos has pretty much won it all.

The 28-year-old is a three-time World Road Race World Champion and seven-time World Cyclocross Champion.

Two Olympic Golds, two world championships and two European championship titles cement her place as the queen of road racing.

There’s also a Tour of Flanders title and as well as near enough every classic and major world cup event. She’s won it all.

Fanny Blankers-Koen

They said Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen should stay home and look after her children instead of compete at the 1948 Olympics in London.

How wrong they were. The 30-year-old (also a source for concern by many) raced to the 100m and 200m Golds (with a world record winning margin of seven tenths that still lasts today), as well as the 80m hurdles.

On the final day her legend was confirmed, taking the final leg of the Women’s 4x100m to overhaul Australia and Canada to win by a tenth of a second to become the Games’ most successful athlete.

Three more Golds at the 1950 European Championships in Brussels confirmed to everyone that women were much more than just mothers. A true heroine.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.