So in the past 24 hours, both Annika Sorenstam (arguably the greatest female golfer of all-time) and Justine Henin (the current No. 1 ranked tennis player) have announced their retirements. Sorenstam will finish out the season and Henin is done right now (though, honestly, at just 25 years old, she’ll probably pull a Jordan and unretire multiple times).
But, if female athlete retirements are anything like celebrity deaths, then I’d assume they come in threes, and that means we’re due for one more. So who’s next? Let’s set some odds.
- Danica Patrick, IndyCar driver
I wish. She finally won a race this year, and is driving better than ever. Not a chance.
- Lisa Leslie, WNBA center
Leslie sat out all of last season with her pregnancy, and is getting up there in age. However, she now has a fancy new teammate in the form of Candace Parker, making it unlikely that she’d call it quits when she’s potentially leading a title contender.
- Jennie Finch, softball pitcher
Finch is still young, and the face of her sport, but after 2008, softball will no longer be an Olympic sport. Finch also has a lot going on outside the world of softball. I wouldn’t put it past her to make a Sorenstam-like announcement that she’s done after the Olympics.
- Venus Williams, tennis player
Why Venus and not Serena? Well, Venus is older, and hasn’t shown quite the same ability to bounce back from long off periods the way Serena has. This wouldn’t surprise me at all.
- Leila Ali, boxer
First off, she hasn’t fought since February of 2007. She’s pregnant with a baby that’s due this fall. And she’s got her American Gladiators gig. All that’s left for her is to make it official.