(born January 28, 1974 in Voss, Norway) is a Norwegian freestyle skier. She won the Olympic title in the moguls event at the 2002 Winter Olympics, finished second at the 2006 games, and finished third at the 1998 games.
She is four times World Champion, from 2001 (moguls + parallel moguls) and 2003 (moguls + parallel moguls), and has also three silver medals (both moguls and parallel moguls in 1999, and moguls in 2005). She has a total of 37 World Cup victories.
Traa attracted attention when she posed almost nude in a series of pictures in the sports magazine Ultrasport in 2001. She started a company in 2002, selling sports clothes, and has later won awards for successfully launching her collections. Her autobiography Kari was issued in 2006. After finishing her active career she has been engaged in recruitement of young ski talents and participated as arranger of world cup events. She is also engaged in the festival Ekstremsportveko (Extreme Sports Week) held at her home community Voss, regarded as one of the world's largest extreme sports festivals.
Kari Traa was elected "Most sexy woman in Norway" in 2002 by the magazine MANN. Her og Nå and TV 2 Nettavisen elected her as "Most sexy woman" in both 2003 and 2004. In 2007 she was second on a similar list compiled by the TV-program «God Kveld, Norge!»
Lauren Elizabeth Jackson
(born 11 May 1981 in Albury, New South Wales, Australia) is an Australian professional basketball player. She is often called LJ, Loz, or Lozza. She is a forward/centre with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, the Australian national team The Opals and, until 2006, the Canberra Capitals of the Australian WNBL. She has won national championships in the U.S., Australia, and Russia, and a world championship as well. She is widely considered to be the best Australian female basketball player of all time and one of the best players in the world.
Both Lauren Jackson's parents, Gary and Maree, represented Australia at basketball and she took up the game at age four. A teenage prodigy at Murray High School, Albury, she moved to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra as a teenager. She played for the Australian women's team, the Opals, in 1997 as a 16-year-old. She led the Australian Institute of Sport team, made up of the country's best 16 to 18 year-old players, to a premiership in the WNBL Women's National Basketball League, the Australian women's professional league, in 1998-1999 - an unprecedented achievement for a youth team. Ineligible to continue with the AIS team, she joined the other Canberra-based team, the Canberra Capitals, and led them to four titles in 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2005-2006.
In the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Jackson registered 20 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to the United States in the gold medal game. The silver medal was Australian basketball's first in international competition.
In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, The Opals were again silver medallists, losing to the United States in the Olympic final.
In the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, the Opals defeated New Zealand's Tall Ferns in the final, earning the gold medal.
In the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women in Brazil, the Opals defeated Russia to win the gold medal. Jackson captained the team.
The 196 centimetre (6'5") Jackson is very effective in offence, combining her height with a good shooting percentage - even from three-point range (she led the WNBA in three-point percentage in 2004) - athletic ability and, not least, a little bit of "mongrel" (mental toughness and aggressiveness) to deal with the highly physical defensive tactics usually laid on to stop her. Earlier in her career, her defence was perhaps the weaker aspect of her game, but that area has also improved, as Jackson received the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2007.She is a leading defensive rebounder and shot-blocker in the WNBA.
In 2003, despite the fact that the Seattle Storm did not make the playoffs, she was voted as the WNBA's Most Valuable Player that season.
In 2004, her Seattle Storm team won the WNBA Championship by defeating the Connecticut Sun, two games to one. She was runner-up for the MVP award in that year and again in 2005.
In April 2006, she signed a three-year contract to stay with the Storm.
On 24 July 2007, Lauren scored a WNBA record 47 points in a 97-96 overtime loss to the Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
On 6 September 2007, Lauren won her second MVP award. She led the league in both scoring (23.8 points per game) and rebounding (9.7) and was second in the league in blocked shots (2.0) as well as leading the WNBA in double doubles with 17. She was also named Player of the Week 5 times capping off a stellar season.
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova
(born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player who has been ranked World No. 1. At the end of 2006, she was the world's highest-paid female athlete.
Sharapova has won three Grand Slam singles titles. In 2004, she beat Serena Williams to take the Wimbledon title at the age of 17. Two years later, she defeated Justine Henin in the final of the 2006 U.S. Open. At the 2008 Australian Open, she beat Ana Ivanovic in the final. Sharapova has been ranked in the top 10 since winning Wimbledon, the longest of any current female tennis player. Although she has never been the year-end World No. 1, she achieved that ranking in 2005 (twice) and 2007 before relinquishing it before the end of those years.
Sharapova has been labeled as a power baseliner by tennis critics and fans. She is noted for having an excellent double-handed backhand and serves, particularly for the power and placement of these shots. She is also noted for having a good forehand.
Likewise, critics claim that for her height, Sharapova has decent agility on-court. Being an offensive player, Sharapova is usually able to overpower her opponents or keep them on the run with sharp angles from the baseline. Because of this aggressive play, she excels on the fast-playing grass and hard courts, but is not as dangerous on clay. This is because she is not among the strongest of defensive players. She can lose precision on her groundstrokes when she is put on the run herself, a weakness that the best all-around players will exploit. Sharapova also is not a traditional volleyer, instead using a powerful "swinging" volley for net approaches. Sharapova usually serves for placement, but uses enough power on her first and second serve that attacking that stroke is very difficult for her opponents. She has been trying to develop her "all-power" game, while also adding in slice, drop shots and drop volleys.
Because of shoulder injuries, Sharapova adopted a new service action with a shorter backswing after Wimbledon 2007. Her first and second serve became less effective during the majority of the 2007 season. Previously, she had an elongated backswing to generate power on her serve. However, as a trade-off, the swing also placed incredible strain on her shoulder, leading to Sharapova's shoulder injury at the beginning of the 2007 season. With her shoulder injury apparently healed, Sharapova has since returned to her elongated service motion, and her serve has been more effective in 2008.
Sharapova is ambidextrous and played left-handed until she was ten years old, before deciding to play right-handed. Although she almost always employs a right-handed forehand and double-handed backhand, she has one of the most accurate double-handed backhand shots and is known to occasionally hit left-handed shots as a result of her early left-handed training. She has also been criticised for her loud on-court "grunting."
Sharapova has won every Grand Slam singles title except the French Open. She believes that winning the French Open will be a big challenge and has described her movement on clay as like a "cow on ice."
Michelle Sung Wie
Born October 11, 1989 is a Korean-American professional golfer. In 2006, she was named in a Time magazine article, "one of 100 people who shape our world."
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Korean-born parents, Wie began playing golf at the age of four. Upon turning professional at age 15 she said, "The first time I grabbed a golf club, I knew that I'd do it for the rest of my life."
In the summer of 2000, at the age of ten, she became the youngest player ever to qualify for the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. In 2001, at the age of 11, she won both the Hawaii State Women’s Stroke Play Championship and the Jennie K. Wilson Women’s Invitational, the oldest and most prestigious women’s amateur tournament in Hawaii. Also at age 11, she shot a personal-best 64 from the 5,400-yard tees at the Olomana Golf Links course in Hawaii. That year, Wie became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship and advanced into match play at the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
In 2002, Wie won the Hawaii State Open Women's Division by thirteen shots over LPGA player Cindy Rarick. In 2002 she also became, at age 12, the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA event, the Takefuji Classic where she missed the cut. The record stood until 2007 when it was broken by 11-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn.
In 2003, she became the youngest player to make a cut in an LPGA event at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, shooting a 66 in the 3rd round, tying the amateur record for a women's major championship, and placing her in the final group alongside Annika Sörenstam and eventual winner, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc. A few months later, Wie earned a historic victory at the Women's Amateur Public Links tournament, becoming the youngest person ever, male or female, to win a USGA adult event. She also became the youngest player to make the cut in the history of the US Women's Open, where she placed 39th.
In 2004 Wie became the fourth female, and the youngest ever, to play in a PGA Tour event at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Playing on a sponsor's exemption, she shot 72-68 to finish at even par, missing the cut by one stroke.
That year, Wie became the youngest woman ever to play on the victorious U.S. Curtis Cup team. She went on to finish fourth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. If she had played the 2004 season as a professional, she would have earned over US$250,000 from her tournament results.
Wie has long attracted attention for her height, which reached 6 foot 1 inch by her mid teens. Both her parents are above average height, her mother, Hyun Kyong is 5 ft 7 and her father is 6 ft 2 inches. Garnering equal attention is the rare length of her drives as well as the form of her golf swing. When Wie was fourteen, professional golfer Ernie Els remarked, "Give her another couple years to get stronger, she can play on the PGA Tour." At sixteen, Wie had an average drive of about 280 yards. Her size and use of Els as a model have led sports media to call her The Big Wiesy, a play on Els' nickname of The Big Easy. Fred Couples said, "When you see her hit a golf ball … there's nothing that prepares you for it. It's just the scariest thing you've ever seen." Arnold Palmer stated in 2003 that "she's probably going to influence the golfing scene as much as Tiger, or more. She's going to attract people that even Tiger didn't attract, young people, both boys and girls, and families."
Wie started her 2005 season by again accepting a sponsor's invitation to play in the PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii where she again missed the cut. She then played the LPGA Tour, finishing second at SBS Open at Turtle Bay. That June, she placed second at the LPGA Championship. She became the first female golfer to qualify for a USGA national men's tournament, when she tied for first place in a 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Public Links. At the U.S. Women's Open, she finished the third round in a three-way tie for the lead, but scored an 82 in the final round, and finished tied for 23. The week after, she played in the John Deere Classic in her third attempt to make the cut at a PGA Tour event, missing the cut by two strokes.
In the Men's Public Links, Wie made the top 64 in the stroke play rounds to qualify for match play. She lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Clay Ogden. She then played in the Evian Masters, a major on the Ladies European Tour and a regular LPGA event, and finished in a tie for second. The week after, she finished tied for third at the Women's British Open, the fourth and final major of the year.
On October 5, 2005, a week before her 16th birthday, Wie announced in Hawaii that she was turning professional, reportedly signing sponsorship contracts with Nike and Sony worth more than US$10,000,000 per year. At the same time she announced a pledge of US$500,000 for Hurricane Katrina relief.
Tanith Jessica Louise Belbin
(born July 11, 1984 in Kingston, Ontario) is a Canadian-American ice dancer. Though she holds dual citizenship, she competes for the United States and has competed for the U.S. since she began skating with Benjamin Agosto in 1998. With Agosto, Belbin is the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, three time Four Continents Champion (2004-2006), and five-time US National Champion (2004-2008).
Tanith Belbin competed as a pair skater and ice dancer in Canada before concentrating completely on ice dancing. She was introduced to ice dancing by Paul Wirtz and competed with Liam Dougherty as an ice dancer and Ben Barruco as a pair skater in Canada. She did not compete internationally with them.
Unable to find a good dance partner in Canada, Belbin moved to Detroit in 1998, where she was partnered with Benjamin Agosto by their coach Igor Shpilband. They had early success, winning the bronze at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in their first competitive season. Belbin and Agosto qualified for the 2002 Olympics by placing second at U.S. championships, but were not able to go because Belbin was not an American citizen. Because Belbin started the citizenship process before new rules went into effect, her citizenship would not have been completed before 2007. Belbin and Agosto, therefore, focused more on Nationals and Worlds, winning Nationals four times, and earning the silver at Worlds going into the Olympics.
Fans of Belbin and Agosto wrote letters and signed petitions asking for a special act of Congress to let Belbin become a citizen in time for her to compete at the 2006 Winter Olympics, where many believed they could medal. This was a controversial move. The mother of fellow American ice dancer David Mitchell believed that it was unfair to bend the rules for Belbin. Supporters pointed out that the U.S. had three dance team spots at the Olympics only because Belbin and Agosto had earned the third spot by medalling at the 2005 World Championships. Had they not, the U.S. would have had only two spots. By this logic, Belbin and Agosto had earned their own spots. But the point was moot after Mitchell and his partner Loren Galler-Rabinowitz placed ninth at U.S. championships, nowhere near earning a spot on the World team.
However, by a special act of Congress on December 28, 2005, which President George W. Bush signed on December 31, 2005, Belbin became a naturalized citizen, making her able to compete for the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympics. In January 2006, the pair won their third consecutive national title and qualified for the Olympics. Maxim Zavozin, who is half of the 2005 Junior World Champion team of Matthews and Zavozin, also became a U.S. citizen through this special act.
At the Turin Olympics, Belbin and Agosto won the silver medal in ice dancing, the highest Olympic result of any American team in the discipline, and the first American ice dancers to win an Olympic medal in 30 years. They went on to win the bronze at Worlds. In January 2007, Belbin and Agosto continued their streak, winning their fourth consecutive U.S. championship in Spokane, and again in January 2008, with their fifth title in St.Paul.
Following the 2007/2008 season, Belbin and Agosto switched coaches from Shpilband, who had coached them for their entire career, to Linichuk.
Allison Stokke is an 18 year old pole vaulter who’s reaching celebrity status online for being American, active, and decent looking. Currently a senior at Newport Harbor in Orange County, CA she plans to attend Berkeley when she finishes high school.
Born November 6, 1987, in Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia) is a Serbian professional tennis player. She is currently ranked World No. 2 and is the top ranked Serbian player, marginally ahead of compatriot Jelena Jankovic. Ivanovic has played in two Grand Slam singles finals, at the 2007 French Open, losing to Justine Henin, and at the 2008 Australian Open, losing to Maria Sharapova. Ivanovic also reached the semifinals of Wimbledon and the Women's Tennis Association Tour Championships in 2007.
Ivanovic is an offensive baseliner. She relies heavily on the power, depth, and placement of her forehand strokes, producing many winners through penetrating, flat shots with occasional topspin. Her net play has improved significantly, and her drop shots are generally well executed. Ivanovic's two-handed backhand is solid, but if she has time to get in the correct court position, she prefers to hit an inside-out forehand. She has a forceful but unreliable serve, although she occasionally hits aces on her second serve. She has occasionally won matches with a first serve percentage of below 40%.
Because of her height, Ivanovic spends much of her training time on improving her fitness and footwork.
Ivanovic often describes her own playing as "point by point," making it possible for her to win matches that seemed to have been lost. On the other hand, her quality of play can vary significantly from match to match. Ivanovic also has difficulty in adapting and changing her strategy when not in control of a match.
Ivanovic's style is suitable for all surfaces; however, clay courts give her more time to reach shots from her opponent. Although it is generally more difficult to hit through opponents on a slow clay surface, Ivanovic has sufficiently powerful strokes to overcome much of this disadvantage.
Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova
Born June 7, 1981 is a semi-retired Russian professional tennis player and model. Her celebrity made her one of the best known tennis players worldwide. At the peak of her fame, fans looking for images of Kournikova made her name (or misspellings of it) one of the most common search strings on the internet search engine Google.
She has had some success at the singles game, reaching #8 in the world in 2000, but her specialty has been doubles, where she has at times been the world's No.1 doubles player. With Martina Hingis as her partner, she won Grand Slam titles in Australia in 1999 and 2002. Kournikova's major-league tennis career has been curtailed for the past several years, and possibly ended, by serious back and spinal problems.
Kournikova was born in Moscow in the former Soviet Union to Alla and Sergei Kournikov; she and her mother later emigrated to the United States. Currently, she resides in Miami Beach, Florida, and plays in occasional exhibitions and in doubles for the St. Louis Aces of World Team Tennis.
At ages 13 and 14, Kournikova made headlines in international junior tennis, winning several tournaments including the 1995 Italian Open. She was 14 years old when she ended 1995 as Junior European Champion Under 18 and ITF Junior World Champion Under 18.
Kournikova debuted in professional tennis at age 14 in the Fed Cup for Russia, the youngest player ever to participate and win. At age 15, she reached the fourth round of the 1996 U.S. Open, only to be stopped by then-top ranked player, Steffi Graf. Kournikova was a member of the Russian delegation to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, as a 16-year-old, she reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon, where she lost to the eventual champion, Martina Hingis by a score of 6–3, 6–2.
1998 was her breakthrough year, when she broke into the WTA's top 20 rankings for the first time and scored impressive victories over Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, and Steffi Graf. Kournikova's two Grand Slam doubles titles came in 1999 and 2002, both at the Australian Open in the Women's Doubles event with partner Martina Hingis, with whom she played frequently starting in 1999. Kournikova proved a successful doubles player on the professional circuit, winning 16 tournament doubles titles, including two Australian Opens and being a finalist in mixed doubles at the U.S. Open and at Wimbledon, and reaching the No.1 ranking in doubles in the Women's Tennis Association tour rankings. Her pro career doubles record was 200-71. However, her singles career plateaued after 1999. For the most part, she managed to retain her ranking between 10 and 15 (her career high singles ranking was No.8), but her expected finals breakthrough failed to occur; she only reached four finals out of 130 singles tournaments, never in a Grand Slam event, and never won one.
As a player, Kournikova was noted for her footspeed and aggressive baseline play, and excellent angles and dropshots; however, her flat, high-risk groundstrokes tended to produce frequent errors, and her serve was sometimes unreliable in singles. Her singles record is 209-129. Her final playing years were marred by a string of injuries, especially back injuries, which caused her ranking to erode gradually.
Kournikova has not played on the WTA tour since 2003, but still plays exhibition matches for charitable causes. In late 2004, she participated in three events organized by Elton John and by fellow tennis players Serena Williams and Andy Rod****. In January 2005, she played in a doubles charity event for the Indian Ocean tsunami with John McEnroe, Rod****, and Chris Evert. In November 2005, she teamed up with Martina Hingis, playing against Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the WTT finals for charity. Kournikova is also a member of the St. Louis Aces in the World Team Tennis (WTT), playing doubles only. Her playing style fits the profile for a doubles player, and is complemented by her height. She has been compared to such doubles specialists as Pam Shriver and Peter Fleming. She is the current K-Swiss spokesperson.
In a feature for ELLE magazine's July 2005 issue, Kournikova stated that if she were 100% fit, she would like to come back and compete again.
(born August 5, 1981) is an Australian professional golfer and model. She currently plays on the LPGA.
Rawson was born in Adelaide, Australia. She got her break into a modeling career at age 16, when she was a finalist in the Australian "Dolly" Magazine cover contest. This opened up modeling opportunities on the catwalk, in print ads, magazines, and on television. In 1999 as an amateur golfer in Australia Rawson was the South Australian and Victoria Junior Champion plus the winner of the Jack Newton International Junior Classic. She was the leading qualifier for the 1999 and 2000 Australian Amateur Championship and was a member of the 1999 Australian National Squad.
She played collegiate golf at the University of Southern California. She was named All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Rawson turned professional at the end of 2004, played a full season on the Future Tour and missed the cut at the 2004 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. She finished third at the Ladies European Tour 2005 qualifying tournament and was a season 2006 LET rookie. On December 5, 2007, Anna notified fans via her Myspace page that she had been invited to join the LPGA tour.
(born September 3, 1980), or occasionally using her husband's name, Daigle, is an American softball player. She is widely regarded as the most famous softball player of all time. As of 2004, she is a pitcher for USA Softball, and pitched on the team that won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Jennie Finch married Minnesota Twins pitcher Casey Daigle on January 15, 2005, at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.
Finch and Daigle welcomed a son Ace on May 4, 2006. After an induction because Finch was overdue, Ace Shane Daigle was born in Tucson, Arizona.
Finch defeated Anna Kournikova in an ESPN online poll as the most attractive female athlete. Like Kournikova, Finch has modeled swimwear for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in 2005-06.
Finch has appeared on various talk shows promoting softball and the US Olympic Team, and also hosts a segment on the TV program This Week in Baseball. Her "This Week in Baseball" segment often features her pitching to major-league baseball players, using a softball and pitching from the same distance she would in a softball game. Finch usually strikes out the baseball players by using her 71 mph riseball that is equivalent to a fastball of nearly 100 mph in baseball, where the pitcher's rubber is 17.5 feet farther away than in softball.
She was offered a lucrative contract to appear nude for Playboy magazine, but commented to the press on August 14, 2004, that the offer was not going to tempt her. She said that she would "rather be a role model for young girls." She also said that "muscles on women are beautiful, but my personal decision is to stay away from those things; to stay away from that." She once appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated wearing a tank top and a mini skirt.
Finch currently works for ESPN. She also pitches for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch Softball League. She was named the NPF's Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2005, sharing the award with teammate Lauren Bay.
Jennie was featured as a contestant on the new celebrity edition of The Apprentice. She was fired by Donald Trump on January 24, 2008.
Her family has also invented machines and for the common softball player to learn techniques such as pitching, and how to become better at them. These inventions have been very successful for Jennie and for her family as well.
Finch recently appeared on an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County, which aired December 18, 2007.