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February 7, 2011
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Top power female athletes of 2011

Apparently Bloomberg BusinessWeek creates an annual Sports Power list by choosing the 100 most powerful athletes on and off the field. This year’s Power Sports 100 was pretty disappointing in regards to the number of women that were selected.

In fact, only five women were chosen to be a part of the 2011 Power 100. Why is it that men are the  ones always selected for sports awards? And what, exactly, is power in sports?  According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

It’s not simply the ability to bench-press a truck or crush a golf ball down the fairway. While such talents are impressive, there are other attributes that fans — and advertisers — value just as highly. It’s the combination of athletic achievement plus the ability to connect with an audience on a deeper, more personal level that separates mere jocks from the stars.

This year, Peyton Manning replaced Tiger Woods for the top spot (Woods dropped to No. 3 while Shaun White nabbed the second spot). So without further ado, here are the five women Bloomberg BusinessWeek picked for Power Sports 100 and the rank they were given.

Lindsey Vonn
Power 100 rank: 13
Rank last year: Unranked
Sport: FIS Skiing
Age: 26
Most recent notable achievement: 2010 Olympic gold medal
Earnings: $2.6 million
Key sponsors: Red Bull, Under Armour
Why she’s on the list: The top female athlete on the 2011 Power 100, Lindsey Vonn won the overall World Cup title in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but didn’t capture America’s attention until her emotional victory in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics. A bombshell blonde with a training regimen to compete with Rocky (in Rocky IV), we’ll see more of her on the slopes and in ads.

Serena Williams
Power 100 rank: 18
Rank last year: 16
Sport: WTA Tennis
Age: 29
Most recent notable achievement: Won 2010 Australian Open and Wimbledon
Earnings: $20.2 million
Key sponsors: Nike, HP, Oreo, EA Sports, Gatorade
Why she’s on the list: Serena Williams dominated the decade in women’s tennis, with 10 singles Grand Slam titles. She crushed the competition at Wimbledon this year without conceding a single set. She’s also dominant off-court, where her endorsements are treasured. Williams has her own fashion line and appears regularly in cameo film and television roles.

Venus Williams
Power 100 rank: 32
Rank last year: 42
Sport : WTA Tennis
Age : 30
Most recent notable achievement: 2010 French Open Doubles Champion
Earnings : $15.4 million
Key sponsors: Wilson, EA Sports, Oreo, Ralph Lauren, PowerAde, Tide
Why she’s on the list: Venus Williams hasn’t won a singles Grand Slam tournament since 2008 at Wimbledon, which she won five times. Venus nevertheless moved up in our rankings because she continues to show immense marketability.

Kim Clijsters
Power 100 rank: 64
Rank last year: Unranked
Sport: WTA Tennis
Age: 27
Most recent notable achievement: Won 2010 U.S. Open
Earnings: $15 million
Key sponsors: Fila, Adecco, Citizen
Why she’s on the list: Kim Clijsters retired to have a child in 2007, then steamrolled back into competition with back-to-back wins at the U.S. Open. Each year her daughter joins her on the court, warming hearts in the process. The Belgian is still young and marketable and remains one of the best hard-court players in the world.

Maria Sharapova
Power 100 rank: 83
Rank last year: 80
Sport: WTA Tennis
Age: 23
Most recent notable achievement: Won 2008 Australian Open
Earnings: $24 million
Key sponsors: Nike, Canon, Gatorade
Why she’s on the list: Currently ranked 18th in the world, Sharapova has been working to come back from a rotator cuff tear on her shoulder that made it impossible to defend her 2008 Australian Open title. She didn’t make a Grand Slam final in 2010. However, she’s alluring and recognizable, which translates into big money. Sharapova reportedly signed a $70 million deal with Nike this year. Men around the world mourned her October engagement to Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic.

Make some noise and let’s get more women on the list next year.

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