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Top 10 Female Sports Rivalries

VO: Lisa Yang
Script written by Dan Deeprose Top 10 Female Sports Rivalries Subscribe: Venus Williams vs Serena Williams, Monica Seles vs Steffi Graf, Chris Evert vs Martina Navratilova, Veronica Campbell-Brown vs Allyson Felix, Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm. These are just some of the most memorable female sports rivalries in history. Will some of your favorite sports rivalries be on the list? Watch the countdown to find out! MsMojo's Social Media: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Snapchat:

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Top 10 Female Sports Rivalries

They say that friendly competition brings out the best in us, but some of these athletes got themselves into some very unfriendly rivalries. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10female sports rivalries.

For this list, we’re looking at well-known rivalries between female athletes. However, we’re excluding professional wrestling rivalries, as they are worthy of a list to themselves.

#10: Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm

Mixed Martial Arts is one of the roughest, most violent sports going and in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, no match had ever been more attended than that between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm. Holm was a former 18-time boxing world champion and Rousey held the Women’s Bantamweight Championship, which she won in her celebrated fight with Miesha Tate (Xref). Left-handed Holm got in a lot of hits early on, which left her victorious after two rounds. It was Rousey’s first ever UFC defeat, and a vicious fight that led to an equally vicious rivalry between the two women. If they finally manage to arrange a rematch, the results could be even more brutal.

#9: Veronica Campbell-Brown vs. Allyson Felix
Track & Field

These two Olympians are both impressive on their own, but their rivalry surrounding 200 meter sprints just makes them more intense. Campbell-Brown is a Jamaican sprinter and the winner of eight Olympic medals, while American Felix is an nine-time Olympic medalist. Regardless, one never really seems to have the edge over the other. In 2004, Campbell-Brown beat Felix in the Summer Olympics and then again in the 2008 Games, but Felix defeated her in the World Championships in 2007 and 2009 and in the 2012 Olympics. It looks like a rivalry that won’t be fading anytime soon.

#8: USA vs. China vs. Russia

The United States and Russia have a long-standing rivalry dating back to the Cold War, but it got rather heated for female gymnasts at the 2011 World Gymnastics Championship, where they ranked first and second, and again at the 2012 Olympics, where the two countries won medals in almost every category. Russia ruled women’s gymnastics for decades and has been building its team back up in recent years. Meanwhile, China cleaned up at the 2008 Olympics, which led to a fierce rivalry in 2012 that continued in 2016. This has left the three highly skilled gymnastics teams in intense on-going competition with one another.

#7: Tara Lipinski vs. Michelle Kwan
Figure Skating

By the time Lipinski and Kwan competed in the Olympics, they already had quite a history. In 1997, Kwan lost both the U.S. Nationals and the Champion Series final to Lipinski. However, she took home gold at Skate America in 1998, leaving Lipinski with silver. In the U.S. Nationals they skated against each other again in both the long and short programs and Kwan won first place in both, with Lipinski in second and fourth place, respectively. This history led to an intense battle in Nagano, where Lipinski took 1st place for the long program and Kwan took 1st place for the short program – though it was the former who ultimately won gold. The two were evidently very evenly matched, which only served to fuel the rivalry!

#6: Canada vs. USA

As neighbors with a lot of shared culture and history, Canada and the United States have quite a heated rivalry when it comes to all sorts of sports – but especially winter sports, and the fiercest rivalry surrounds hockey. In almost every World Championship and Olympics, the Canadian women’s team and the United States women’s team have faced each other in the championship game, and the two have only very occasionally lost to any team besides the other. The United States team won gold to Canada’s silver in Nagano in 1998, whereas Canada have won gold to the USA’s silver in all of the Olympic Games so far – except for at the 2006 Winter Olympics where the US took home bronze. The rivalry will no doubt continue for many years to come.

#5: University of Connecticut vs. University of Tennessee
College Basketball

College basketball is no stranger to rivalries, and one of the fiercest in history was between the University of Connecticut Huskies and the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The teams began playing against each other in 1995 and the intense rivalry lasted until 2007. For over a decade, they played each other at least once a year, and a third of the matches were in the women’s NCAA tournaments. The teams’ respective coaches, hall of famers Geno Auriemma and Pat Summit, also have had a bit of a rivalry themselves, but they have since made amends.

#4: Venus Williams vs. Serena Williams

Sibling rivalries can be tough in all families – but it’s even worse when both parties are world tennis champions. As of 2016, Venus holds 49 singles titles and her little sister Serena holds 71. They’ve been playing against each other professionally since 1998, and have faced off over 25 times since. Needless to say, their relationship is quite emotionally charged, but their rivalry doesn’t stop them from playing together in doubles games and supporting each other’s victories. And the sibling rivalry isn’t the only rivalry Serena has engaged in – she also has a charged relationship with Maria Sharapova, another tennis champion.

#3: Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding
Figure Skating

This is one of the darkest rivalries in women’s sports. On January 6, 1994, Kerrigan was attacked and clubbed in the knee with a baton – by a man hired by Harding’s ex-husband. With Kerrigan injured, Harding won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships title and went on to compete in the Olympics. The conspiracy soon came to light, and while Harding managed to avoid jail time, she was banned from the USFSA and stripped of the 1994 U.S. Championships title. Kerrigan recovered in the meantime and was able to compete in the Olympics where she took home the silver medal. Harding only placed eighth.

#2: Monica Seles vs. Steffi Graf

Their rivalry lasted ten years and was anything but sugar and spice – especially when a crazed Graf fan stabbed Seles during a match. Between 1989 and 1999 they competed fiercely, playing against each other fifteen times, both of them winning Grand Slam titles and both ranking No. 1 at various points. Seles stole the No. 1 title from Graf in 1991, and Graf got it back again in 1993 – but only because Seles was forced out of the competition because of her stab wound! Luckily, Seles recovered and the two continued to play against each other until their final head-to-head in the 1999 French Open Semi Final, in which Graf was victorious.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

USA vs. Japan

Dominique Maltais vs. Lindsey Jacobellis

Annika Sörenstam vs. Karrie Webb

Katarina Witt vs. Debi Thomas
Figure Skating

#1: Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova

Each a legend in her own right, Evert and Navratilova carried on a vicious rivalry for about fifteen years. In that time, they played against each other 80 times – and 61 of those matches were tournament finals. The Women’s Tennis Association was founded in 1973, with the WTA Rankings introduced two years later. From 1975 all the way until 1987, one of the two consistently held the highest rank – for all but 23 weeks out of those 12 years. They switched back and forth multiple times after some incredibly intense matches, and it’s no surprise that this is widely considered one of the greatest rivalries in sports history.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite female sports rivalry? For more captivating Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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