Williams, Biles, Osaka, Rapinoe: World’s most 'iconic' sportswomen ranked

Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and Megan Rapinoe have been ranked among the most 'iconic' sportswomen by YouGov

Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and Megan Rapinoe have been ranked among the most 'iconic' sportswomen by YouGov.

YouGov has released an in-depth paper on the perception of women’s sport around the world. It draws on research from 13 countries, including Australia, India, the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and France.

Those taking part were asked a series of questions on the popularity of women's sport, its attractions, how women's sport is perceived, and whether it is on the rise. 

Respondents were also questioned on their awareness of female athletes, producing a ranking of the most "iconic" sportswomen in the world.

Tennis legend Serena Williams topped the list, with 34 percent of respondents aware of the American.

She was joined in the top three by fellow tennis players Maria Sharapova and Naomi Osaka, with 31 percent and 19 percent awareness respectively.

OL Reign captain Megan Rapinoe is the highest-placed football player in the ranking, with an awareness of one in ten of the public. US teammate Alex Morgan sits just below her, with an almost identical awareness level.

Both are behind fellow American and gymnastics legend Simone Biles, who is recognised by 12 percent of the surveyed public globally.

Michelle Wie is the highest-placed golfer, with an awareness of around 8 percent of the global public.

According to YouGov, the awareness of athletes varied widely from country to country. Megan Rapinoe had an awareness of 25 percent in the United States, for example. But Serena Williams was the most iconic sportswomen in the majority of countries.

Almost all the athletes in the list had higher awareness among men than women, apart from Biles. Most athletes were widely recognised among those aged 18 to 24. 

Here is the top 10 of YouGov’s ranking, including the percentage of respondents aware of each sportswoman:

1) Serena Williams: 23-time Grand Slam winner, 34%

2) Maria Sharapova: five-time Grand Slam winner, 31%

3) Naomi Osaka: four-time Grand Slam winner, 19%

4) Simone Biles: four-time Olympic gymnastics gold medallist, 12%

5) Lindsey Vonn: four-time Alpine Ski World Cup winner, 11%

Megan Rapinoe was ranked as one of YouGov's most iconic sportswomen in the world

6) Megan Rapinoe: two-time World Cup winner, 9%

7) Alex Morgan:
two-time World Cup winner, 9%

8) Michelle Wie: US Women’s Open winner, 8%

9) Simona Halep: two-time Grand Slam winner, 8%

10) Samantha Kerr: Golden Boot winner in WSL, NWSL and W-League, 7%

The full YouGov report can be found here

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