We admire athletes for their incredible abilities, but, let’s face it, those abilities come with some serious packaging. Though we all like to think we could look this good if were professional athletes who were paid to hit the gym for hours each day, but we know that’s not true. So stop kidding yourself and just enjoy taking a quick peek at the 10 most beautiful female athletes in Africa.
10. Regina George- Nigerian Sprinter
Regina George, Nigeria Sprinter Regina George (no, not Rachel McAdams’s character from “Mean Girls”) is an American-born Nigerian who has been running for Nigeria for years. Though she has been plagued by injuries throughout her career, she was able to represent Nigeria at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and was one of the favorites to win the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships due to her incredible qualifying time, but she eventually had to withdraw before the race due to leg cramps.
9. Talisa Lanoe – Kenya Kenyan swimmer
Talisa Lanoe, Kenya Kenyan swimmer Talisa Lanoe has earned six medals in the 50-meter backstroke in Kenya, and has continued to impress during her time swimming for Florida Atlantic University in the U.S. She has been able to come back from several injuries, including tendonitis and a shoulder injury, and is hoping to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
8. Meselech Melkamu – Ethiopia Long distance runner
Meselech Melkamu, Ethiopia Meselech Melkamu, an Ethiopian long-distance runner, is ranked second in the world for the 10,000 meter run, only behind world record holder Wang Junxia. She is one of three Ethiopians to break the 30-minute barrier for the race, with a time of 29:53:80, and was the fourth woman in history to do so. Melkamu also represented Ethiopia at the 2008 Summer Olympics, finishing in eighth place in the event final for the 5,000-meter race.
7. Sylvia Tanya Atieno Brunlehner – Kenyan Swimmer
Sylvia Tanya Atieno Brunlehner, Kenya Sylvia Tanya Atieno Brunlehner is currently the fastest female swimmer in Kenya, and, she’s just 20 years old. Attending college in Manchester, U.K., she aims to compete for her country in the 2016 Summer Olympics in her specialties, freestyle and backstroke.
6. Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopian Long distance runner
Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia Nicknamed the “Baby-Faced Destroyer,” Tirunesh Dibaba is never one to underestimate when it comes to long-distance running. The winner of three Olympic gold medals, the Ethiopian track star is the current world and Olympic 10,000-meters champion, and benefited from being raised in the high-altitude Arsi Zone in the Oromia Region. Dibaba has competed at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
5. Nichole Denby, Nigerian Field athlete
Nichole Denby, Nigeria Nichole Denby was previously known for competing for the American team in international competitions, but recently made the move to compete for Nigeria in May 2014 instead — her mother is Nigerian. She has competed and succeeded on the collegiate and Olympic levels, and has even managed to make a return to her sport after giving birth.
4. Blessing Okagbare- Nigerian track and field athlete
Blessing Okagbare, Nigeria Blessing Okagbare, a master of the long and triple jump, is an Olympic and World champion in the long jump, as well as a world medalist in the 200 meter. She dominated at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with a record time of 10.85 seconds in the 100-meter race, making her the African record holder for the event.
3. Marsha Cox – South African Hockey Player
Marsha Cox (Marsha Mareschia), South Africa Marsha Cox — Marsha Mareschia before her marriage to Dutch hockey coach Alexander Cox — is the captain of the South African field hockey team, making more than 300 appearances for her country. She has been a member of the national squad in three separate Olympic Games and two World Cups, and is the daughter of hockey legend Marian Marescia. Marian was unable to play for South Africa due to apartheid.
2. Nicole Banecki, Cameroon footballer
Football star Nicole Banecki is of German-Cameroonian descent, and has represented both countries on the international stage. More recently, she was called up to represent the Cameroonian national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The knockout forward has become a household name in both of her homelands, and currently plays for FCR 2001 Duisburg.
1. Kirsty Coventry – Zimbabwean Swimmer
Kirsty Leigh Coventry (born 16 September 1983 in Harare, Zimbabwe) is a Zimbabwean swimmer and former world record holder. She attended and swam competitively for Auburn University in Alabama, in the United States. At the 2004 summer olympics, in Athens , Greece, Coventry won three Olympic medals: a gold, a silver, and a bronze,while in the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing she won four medals: a gold and three silver. She was subsequently described by Paul Chingoka, head of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, as “our national treasure”. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has called her “a golden girl,” and awarded her US$200,000 in cash for her 2008 Olympic performance.