Ashleigh Barty, tennis, Australia
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty earned the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) top-ranking after winning the French Open, her first career major singles title, in June. Barty, 23, won the 2019 WTA Finals tournament and reached at least the second week of play in all four Grand Slam tournaments and posted a Tour-leading 56 wins this season.
Simone Biles, gymnastics, United States
American gymnast Simone Biles won five gold medals at the 2019 FIG World Championships in Germany, improving her career total to a record 25 world medals. During the competition, she completed two skills never performed by a female gymnast in competition: a double-double dismount on beam and a triple-double on floor. She also became the first woman since 1952 to win six U.S. all-around titles.
Brittany Bowe, speed skating, United States
American speed skater Brittany Bowe extended her yearlong 1000-meter win streak to seven after capturing the World Cup victory in Nagano, Japan, in December. The two-time Olympian, who also holds the world record in the event, set a new track record of 1:14.344 seconds. Bowe has now won seven consecutive world cup races at the distance, plus a world championship, in a run that stretches back to December 2018.
Elena Delle Donne, basketball, United States
Washington Mystics forward-guard Elena Delle Donne earned 2019 WNBA Most Valuable Player honors after scoring 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.29 blocks per game. She is the first WNBA player to shoot at least 50 percent from the field (51.5), 40 percent from the three-point line (43.0) and 90 percent from the free throw line (97.4). She earned Player of the Week honors seven times and swept all three Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors for the season.
Sifan Hassan, athletics, the Netherlands
Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands completed a golden double by winning both the 10,000-meter and 1,500-meter titles at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in October 2019. Hassan finished the 1,500-meters with a time of 3:51.95, the sixth fastest time in history and just two seconds shy of the world record. She also set a world record in the 5km race in Monaco on 17 February 2019. Hassan finished the race with a time of 14:44, breaking the previous women’s-only record of 15:48 and the mixed race standard of 14:48.
Jin Young Ko, golf, South Korea
South Korea’s Jin Young Ko earned the LPGA’s Player of the Year award and ANNIKA Major Award after winning two majors – the ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship – as well as the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and CP Women’s Open titles during the 2019 season. She also won the LPGA’s 2019 Vare Trophy for the season’s lowest scoring average of 69.062.
Brigid Kosgei, athletics, Kenya
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s world record by winning the Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:14:04 on 13 October 2019. It was the second consecutive Chicago Marathon title for Kosgei, who also won the London Marathon in the season.
Dalilah Muhammad, athletics, United States
American athlete Dalilah Muhammad was named the female winner of the World Athlete of the Year award after twice breaking the world record in the 400-meter hurdles in 2019. Muhammad first broke the record with a time of 52.20 at the U.S. Championships in July, then broke it again at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, with a time of 52.16. She also won world gold in the 4×400 meter relay.
Megan Rapinoe, football (soccer), United States
American co-captain Megan Rapinoe won the Women’s Ballon d’Or award, soccer’s most prestigious prize, after leading the United States to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. She was named the best player of the tournament – winning both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards – after scoring six goals for the Americans in the tournament.
Mikaela Shiffrin, alpine skiing, United States
American Mikaela Shiffrin was the first alpine skier in history to capture 15 World Cup wins in a season, finishing with 17 first-place finishes in the 2019 season. She won season titles in slalom, giant slalom, Super G and the overall championship in 2019, and kicked off the 2020 season with slalom wins in November and December 2019. She has won 64 World Cup races, the third most all time by a female alpine skier, and 44 World Cup slalom races – the most ever for any alpine skier, male or female.
Kelly Sildaru, freestyle skiing, Estonia
Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru, 16, became the youngest freestyle skiing halfpipe world champion of all time when she won gold in the event at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships in Utah on 10 February 2019. Sildaru completed the first-ever switch 1080 performed by a female skier and won with a high score of 95.00 points. Sildaru also won gold, silver, and bronze in ski events at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., in January.
Regan Smith, swimming, United States
American teenager Regan Smith, 17, broke Missy Franklin’s 2012 world record in the women’s 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:03.35 at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Korea in July. Smith also swam the backstroke leg in the 4×100 medley relay and set a world record in the 100-meter backstroke in that event. She was named USA Swimming’s Breakout Performer of the Year.