At regular intervals, the Summer Olympics unites thousands of athletes from around the world to contend in a global arena of sportsmanship and athletic greatness, where they test and surpass their cutoff points, where they break records, and set new ones.
With more than 11,000 athletes and a total of 206 nations and states participating in the 2020 Summer Olympics, the international multi-sport occasion will definitely have the world pausing its breathing, watching who will be declared as champions and who will bring gold, silver, or bronze back home.
Top 20 Greatest Athletes in Summer Olympics History
20. Birgit Fischer: Kayaking, Germany
Birgit Fischer won eight golds and four silvers during her Olympic kayaking career. As an individual from the East German team, she won gold in K-1 500 meters (1980), K-2 500 meters (1988), and K-4 500 meters (1988), and a silver in the K-1 500 meters (1988). After the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany again became one, Fischer won five additional golds and three silvers.
In 1992, she won gold in K-1 500 meters and silver in K-4 500 meters; in 1996, she won gold in K-4 500 meters and silver in K-2 500 meters; in 2000, she won double gold in K-2 500 meters and K-4 500 meters; in 2004, she won gold in K-4 500 meters and silver in K-2 500 meters. Her 12 medals make her the best Olympic kayaking athlete of all time.
19. Edoardo Mangiarotti: Fencing, Italy
With 13 overall Olympic medals, Edoardo Mangiarotti is quite possibly the best fencer of all time. In 1936, 1952, 1956, and 1960, he won a gold in team epee while winning gold in the individual epee in 1952 and gold in the team foil in 1956. His silver medals came in the team foil (1948, 1952, and 1960), team epee in 1948, and individual foil in 1952. Finally, he won two individual epee bronze medals in the 1948 and 1956 Olympics.
18. Fanny Blankers-Koen: Track and Field, The Netherlands
Fanny Blankers-Koen is most popular for winning four gold medals at the 1948 Olympics. Her triumphs came in the 100-meters, 200-meters, 80-meter obstacles, and 400-meter relay. Raising two youngsters while training for the Olympics earned her the nickname “The Flying Housewife.” Later, it was discovered (after bringing forth her third youngster in early 1949), she had won those four gold medals while pregnant. Fast, name me the last woman to win four gold medals while pregnant?
17. Edwin Moses: Track and Field, United States
Edwin Moses is generally known for having not lost a 400-meter obstacle race throughout the span of nine years, or 122 races. His Olympic record may not look as staggering as others, with two golds and one bronze, but he actually has to be viewed as truly outstanding of all time. In 1976, in his first international contest, Moses won the gold medal and set a worldwide best for the occasion at 47.63 seconds. As of today, he actually holds 25 of the fastest 100 400-meter obstacle times ever.
16. Vera Čáslavská: Gymnastics, Czechoslovakia
In every way that really matters, Vera Čáslavská ought to be higher on this rundown. She racked up a total of seven golds and four silvers somewhere in the range of 1960 and 1968. In 1960, she won silver in the team occasion. But the 1964 Olympics was her coming-out party, as she won gold in the individual all-around, vault, and balance beam and a silver in the team occasion. In the 1968 Olympics, she won gold in the individual all-around vault, lopsided bars, and floor workout while taking silver yet to be determined beam and team rivalry.
But the Czechoslovakian gymnast was exceptionally frank in her perspectives about Soviet-style socialism during the 1968 Olympics. While at the Olympics, she kept on voicing her perspectives, which may have cost her a couple of titles. After appearing to win the gold on the floor workout, deciding on panel upgraded the preliminary scores for Soviet Larisa Petrk, declaring a tie for the gold. This happened closely following another controversial choice where Čáslavská lost the gold on the beam to Natalia Kuchinskaya. In a display of anger towards the governmental issues she felt favored the USSR, she fought both medal functions by turning her head down and away during the Soviet national anthem.
15. Boris Shakhlin: Gymnastics, Soviet Union
Until 1980, Boris Shakhlin held the record for most Olympic medals for one athlete. In 1956, he won gold in the team rivalry and knob horse. In the 1960 Olympics, he won a total of seven medals, remembering gold for the all-around, pulverize pony, vault, and parallel bars, while also winning silver in the team contest and rings and bronze in the horizontal bar.
In 1964, he won gold in the horizontal bar, silver in the team contest, and all-around and bronze in the rings.
14. Viktor Chukarin: Gymnastics, Soviet Union
Viktor Chukarin was the first of the great Soviet gymnasts. He won 11 total Olympic medals, including seven golds. In 1952, he won gold in the team rivalry, all-around, beat pony and vault, while also winning silver in the rings and parallel bars.
In 1956, he won gold in the team contest, all-around and parallel bars, while winning silver on the floor exercise and bronze on the knob horse.
13. Matt Biondi: Swimming, United States
After Mark Spitz, the following great American swimmer was Matt Biondi. In 1984, he won gold in the 400-meter free-form relay. In 1988, he won seven medals, including five golds. His golds came in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyles, 400-meter free-form relay, 800-meter free-form relay, and 400-meter mixture relay. His silver medal came in the 100-meter butterfly, with his bronze coming in the 200-meter free-form.
His two gold medals in 1992 came in the 400-meter free-form and 400-meter mixture relays while winning a silver in the 50-meter free-form.
12. Alexei Nemov: Gymnastics, Russia
In 1996, he won gold in the team occasion and the vault, silver in the all-around, and bronze in the floor workout, high bar, and handle a horse. In 2000, he won gold in the all-around and high bar, silver in the floor exercise, and bronze in the team rivalry, pound pony, and parallel bars.
11. Natalie Coughlin: Swimming, United States
Natalie Coughlin is an 11-time Olympic medalist for the United States, and she’s following more medals this year. She became the primary woman to win six medals at one Olympics and the main woman at any point to win the 100-meter backstroke at two separate Olympics. Coughlin brought home five medals in the 2004 Olympics, remembering gold for the 100-meter backstroke and 800-meter free-form relay while taking home silver in the 400-meter free-form and 400-meter mixture relays. She also got back bronze in the 100-meter free-form.
In 2008, Coughlin again took gold in the 100-meter backstroke while also taking home silver in the 400-meter free-form and 400-meter mixture relays. She also earned three bronze medals in the 100-meter free-form, 200-meter individual mixture, and 800-meter free-form relay. Her consistency at or near the top over those two Olympics warrants her this choice.
10. Sawao Kato: Gymnastics, Japan
In three Olympics, Sawao Kato won 12 medals in gymnastics for Japan. Kato started contending in 1968, when he took gold in the team occasion, all-around, floor exercise, and bronze in the rings. In 1972, he won gold in the team occasion, all-around and parallel bars, while taking silver in the horizontal bar and handle a horse.
Kato missed the mark in the 1976 Olympics in the all-around as he tumbled to the Soviet Union’s Nikolai Andrianov, but he took gold in the team rivalry and parallel bars. Kato is one of 10 athletes to have won at least eight gold medals, becoming quite possibly the most decorated male gymnasts ever and the most decorated Japanese athlete in Olympic history.
9. Nadia Comaneci: Gymnastics, Romania
Nadia Comaneci is most popular for scoring the main perfect 10 ever in Olympic gymnastics. During her time in the Olympics, she won five golds, three silvers, and one bronze. In the 1976 Olympics, during the team contest in which Romania was on the lopsided bars, Comaneci scored her perfect 10.
She won gold in the all-around, lopsided bars and balance beam at those Olympics while winning silver in the team rivalry and bronze on the floor workout. In 1980, she won gold on the balance beam and floor workout while winning silver in the team rivalry and all-around.
8. Kristin Otto: Swimming, East Germany
Kristin Otto contended in just a single Olympics (1988) for East Germany. In that one Olympics, she won six gold medals, dominating her opposition. The occasions she won were the 50-meter and 100-meter free-form, 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter backstroke, and the 400-meter free-form and 400-meter mixture relays.
7. Jim Thorpe: Track and Field, United States
Conceivably viewed as the best all-around athlete throughout the entire existence of the cutting edge world, and although he just contended in one Olympics, he was still extremely dominant in those Olympics. He won gold in the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Olympics.
In any case, in 1913, severe guidelines regarding amateurism were placed into impact for Olympic athletes. Because Thorpe had been paid cash to play baseball, although an extremely meager amount, he was presently not considered an amateur. In this way, he was declared ineligible to contend in the Olympics.
6. Nikolay Andrianov: Gymnastics, Soviet Union
Nikolay Andrianov was the best male Olympic athlete, indeed, until Michael Phelps came along. Andrianov started his Olympic reign in 1972, in which he won gold in the floor workout, silver in the team rivalry, and bronze in the vault. In 1976, he won gold in the all-around floor exercise, rings, and vault, also winning silver in the team contest and parallel bars and bronze on the handle horse. For the 1980 Olympics, he won gold in the team rivalry and vault, silver in the all-around and floor exercise, and bronze on the horizontal bar.
5. Jesse Owens: Track and Field, United States
Jesse Owens pulled off four gold medals under mind-boggling pressure at the Berlin Games in 1936. German leader Adolf Hitler saw the Games as a chance to demonstrate Aryans to be the “master race.” The kid did Owens show him.
Owens took gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters, in length hop, and 400-meter relay. The long leap triumph came closely following advice given to him by Luz Long, the German contender he ultimately defeated.
4. Mark Spitz: Swimming, United States
Mark Spitz held the record for most gold medals in a solitary Olympics, winning seven. That record remained until Michael Phelps broke it in the 2008 Olympics.
His triumphs came in the 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter free-form, 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter free-form, 400-meter free-form relay, 400-meter mixture relay, and 800-meter free-form relay. Before that, he won two golds, a silver, and a bronze, in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
His golds came in the 400-and 800-meter free-form relays, while he won silver in the 100-meter butterfly and bronze in the 100-meter free-form. When it came to being the principal high-endurance athlete at a solitary Olympics, Spitz was that person.
3. Carl Lewis: Track and Field, United States
Carl Lewis is the greatest track and field athlete in Olympic history. He was an Olympic mainstay from 1984 to 1996. In 1984, he won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters, in length bounce, and 400-meter relay.
In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he took gold in the 100 meters and a long leap while taking silver in the 200 meters. At the 1992 Olympics, he won gold in the 400-meter relay and long leap, completing his career in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics with a gold in the long leap.
At no other time has an athlete dominated for such a long time on so many Olympic track and field occasions. Had it not been for the following two, he would be the greatest Olympic athlete of all time.
2. Larisa Semyonovna Latynina: Gymnastics, Soviet Union
Larisa Semyonovna Latynina holds the record for most overall Olympic medals, with 18 in gymnastics. She was answerable for establishing the Soviet Union’s dominance in gymnastics. In 1956, she won gold medals in the team rivalry, all-around, floor exercise, and vault, while taking the silver medal on the lopsided bars and the team occasion with portable apparatus.
In the 1960 Rome Olympics, Latynina won gold in the team occasion, all-around, floor work out, she took silver yet to be determined beam and lopsided bars and the bronze in the vault. She contended as well in the 1964 Olympics, although she was not as fruitful. Her final total before resigning was nine golds, five silvers, and four bronzes.
1. Michael Phelps: Swimming, United States
Michael Phelps is indeed the best Olympic athlete ever. In addition to the fact that he won eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he also won six gold medals and two bronze medals in the 2004 Olympics.
Those eight gold medals eclipsed Mark Spitz’s record of seven in the 1972 Munich Olympics. He already holds the record for the most gold medals in the Olympics, and with three additional medals in London, he’ll become the most decorated Olympic athlete ever.