40 greatest female athletes: Annika Sorenstam

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
6:28
PM ET
Annika SorenstamTravis Lindquist/Getty ImagesAnnika Sorenstam was the LPGA Tour's player of the year a record eight times.
ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.

Are you painfully shy? So was Annika Sorenstam. The woman who won 72 titles on the LPGA Tour once dreaded winning junior tournaments because of the speeches that were required afterward.

But the No. 4 woman in ESPN's countdown gamely withstood the media glare as a global television audience watched every hole she played in 2003 at the PGA's Colonial, a tournament she entered because she wanted to test herself against the best in the game.

"She was the dominant player in her sport," says fellow golfer Laura Davies. "She had to change. It was that or really be miserable. I think by the end of her career, she actually enjoyed the spotlight."

Read the full story from espnW here.

Earlier in this series:
No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia
No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone
No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton
No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato
No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly
No. 35: Basketball player Diana Taurasi
No 34: Volleyball player Flo Hyman
No. 33: Soccer player Abby Wambach
No. 32: Swimmer Mary T. Meagher
No. 31: Marathoner Joan Benoit
No. 30: Sprinter Gail Devers
No. 29: Basketball player Nancy Lieberman
No. 28: Marathoner Grete Waitz
No. 27: Soccer player Michelle Akers
No. 26: Basketball player Chamique Holdsclaw
No. 25: Swimmer Dara Torres
No. 24: Golfer Nancy Lopez
No. 23: Swimmer Tracy Caulkins
No. 22: Soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva
No. 21: Tennis player Venus Williams
No. 20: Figure skater Michelle Kwan
No. 19: Skier Lindsey Vonn
No. 18: Softball player Lisa Fernandez
No. 17: Basketball player Ann Meyers Drysdale
No. 16: Basketball player Sheryl Swoopes
No. 15: Swimmer Janet Evans
No. 14: Figure skater Katarina Witt
No. 13: Basketball player Cheryl Miller
No. 12: Sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner
No. 11: Tennis player Billie Jean King
No. 10: Tennis player Serena Williams
No. 9: Tennis player Steffi Graf
No. 8: Gymnast Nadia Comaneci
No. 7: Tennis player Chris Evert
No. 6: Speedskater Bonnie Blair
No. 5: Basketball player Lisa Leslie

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