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Jun 13th, 2006, 02:00 AM
Williams Sisters Top Popularity Poll Among Americans
Williams Sisters By Tennis Week

They have fallen from the top 10 of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings, but when it comes to ranking the nation's most popular sports stars Venus and Serena Williams top the list. Reigning Wimbledon champion Venus has reclaimed her spot as America's favorite female sports star followed by sister Serena, who ranked second in a Harris Poll.

Tennis made a strong showing as four of the nation's top 10 favorite female athletes are current or former tennis players: Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, who ranked eighth and Anna Kournikova who placed ninth in the top 10.

Tiger Woods ended Michael Jordan's 12-year run as the nation's favorite male athlete by taking the top spot for the first time. None of the 10 men in the poll are tennis players.

Harris Interactive surveyed 2,085 American adults (Americans 18 and older) between May 9 and 16 in its annual online poll.

Last year's favorite female athlete, soccer player Mia Hamm, has fallen to number three in this year's list of top-10 female sports stars behind the Williams sisters. The top 10 favorite female athletes among Americans are:

Venus Williams
Serena Williams
Mia Hamm
Michelle Wie (golfer)
Danica Patrick (race car driver)
Michelle Kwan (figure skater)
Annika Sorenstam (golfer)
Maria Sharapova
Anna Kournikova
Sasha Cohen (figure skater)
Interestingly, men ranked Serena as their favorite female athlete, while women selected Venus as their favorite female athlete. In response to the question: "Who is your favorite sports star?", the No. 1 response among the following demographics was:

Men: Serena Williams
Women: Venus Williams
Echo Boomers (those ages 18 to 29): Mia Hamm
Generation X (those ages 30 to 41): Serena Williams
Baby Boomers (those ages 42 to 60): Venus Williams
Matures (those ages 61 and older): Anika Sorenstam
East: Mia Hamm
Midwest: Michelle Wie
South: Venus Williams
West: Venus Williams
Three of the five women who ranked among the top 10 in 2005, but dropped out of this year's list include three tennis players: Billie Jean King (was No. 8), Martina Navratilova (was tied with King at No. 8) and Chris Evert (was tied with gymnast Mary Lou Retton at No. 9).

The top 10 favorite male athletes among Americans are:

Tiger Woods
Michael Jordan
Brett Favre
Derek Jeter
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Shaquille O'Neal
Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Jeff Gordon
Barry Bonds
I'm not sure if this has already been posted. If so, I'm sorry. :kiss: