The 10 Best Latina Athletes

We can easily name the men who are dominating sports, but women in athletics don't always get the praise that they deserve. There are particularly many Latinas who are at the top of their sports. Here are 10 Latina athletes that should be on your radar:

PLUS: 22 Notable Latino Firsts in the History of Sports

1. Diana Taurasi

1. Diana Taurasi

Taurasi’s parents are of Argentine descent, but the basketball player was born in California. The 32-year-old superstar has won three WNBA championships and three gold medals at the Olympics. Taurasi is taking a season off from the WNBA and will focus on playing in Russia. “She has been playing competitively for ten years, year-round, with very little downtime,” WNBA President Laurel J. Richie told Forbes.

2. Ronda Rousey

2. Ronda Rousey

The 28-year-old mixed martial arts fighter of Venezuelan descent is the current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Rousey posed for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, where she talked about being strong. “I hope that the impression that everyone that sees the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit is that strong and healthy is the new sexy," she said in a behind-the-scenes video.

"[Also] that the standard of women's bodies is going into a realistic and socially healthy direction. UFC President Dana White once called Rousey the “biggest star” his organization has ever had.

3. Amy Rodriguez

3. Amy Rodriguez

Rodriguez plays for FC Kansas City, and she has won two Olympic Gold medals in soccer. The 27-year-old athlete will be one to keep an eye on at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. Rodriguez, whose grandparents moved from Cuba to the United States, had her first son in 2013, and returned to the sport in February 2014.

4. Marta

4. Marta

Since 2005, the Brazilian soccer player has placed at least third as a FIFA World Player of the Year. She won in 2006, 200, 2008, 2009 and 2010. She also has a lot of personal achievements to her name, such as the 2009 Copa Libertadores de Fútbol, the 2010 Sudamericano Femenino top scorer and she was named one of the top 20 female athletes by Sports Illustrated from 2000 to 2009.

5. Idalys Ortiz

5. Idalys Ortiz

The Cubana is a judoka who won bronze at the 2008 Olympics. In 2014, Ortiz was named the top female athlete in Cuba.

6. Marlen Esparza

6. Marlen Esparza

This boxer was born in Texas. Esparza won gold at the 2014 Jeju World Championships, and took home bronze at the 2012 Olympics. She is in the Houston Boxing Hall of Fame, and another great Latina, Soledad O’Brien, focused on Esparza for the 2011 documentary, In Her Corner: Latino in America 2.

7. Mariana Pajón

7. Mariana Pajón

The Colombian cyclist’s career has been marked by mostly gold medal finishes. She placed gold at the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Rotterdam World Championships. Pajón is even an inspiration to 14-year-old Alejandro Chica, a BMX racer. “We have the best woman rider in the world,” Alejandro said about Pajón, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

8. Fabiana Claudino

8. Fabiana Claudino

The Volleyball star has been very successful individually, as well as with Brazil, serving as captain of the Brazilian team for the 2012 Olympics. Claudino recently stood up for herself when a man likened her to a monkey. On February 28, she took to her Instagram account to denounce the man. “Experiencing this is difficult and hard! Experiencing it in my land, makes it even worse!” Claudino began. She explained that the man was removed from the gym and sent to the police station, but she knew it was important for her to speak out on what happened.

“I have reflected a lot on whether or not to speak out, but I think that speaking about racism helps start a conversation in the world we live and want for our children. I do not need to be respected for being a two-time Olympic champion or for the titles I won, that’s nonsense! I demand respect for being Fabiana Claudino Marcelino, a citizen, a human being.”

9. Carla Esparza

9. Carla Esparza

Mixed martial arts athlete Esparza is Ecuadorian, Irish and Mexican, as she confirmed on Twitter. She is currently the UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion. For women who want to get into MMA, Esparza advised them to “work hard and just never give up. Never forget where you came from.”

10. Monica Puig

10. Monica Puig

The tennis player is one of the highest-ranked Latinas in the sport. The 21-year-old Puerto Rican was born in Miami, and she won in the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games.