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Getting to the Olympics isn’t easy. An athlete, regardless of the sport, needs to dedicate themselves to the utmost, usually devoting most of their life to it. The training needs to be physical, of course, but also mental, as the pressure to win is constant.

Among the great champions in history, several stand out for also being the greatest Olympic record medalists. These athletes made their presence felt at the Olympics, winning several medals, mainly gold, showing what they were here for.

Among the greatest Olympic record medalists in history are swimmers such as Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz, athletes such as Usain Bolt and Paavo Nurmi, artistic gymnasts such as Sawao Kato and Larissa Latynia, among many others.

maiores recordistas olímpicos
Check out the 20 greatest Olympic record champions in history

If you’re curious about these athletes, take a look at the list we’ve put together of 20 of the world’s greatest Olympic record medalists.

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List of the 20 greatest Olympic medalists

  • Michael Phelps: 28 medals
  • Larissa Latynia: 18 medals
  • Nikolai Andrianov: 15 medals
  • Ole Einar Bjørndalen: 13 medalhas
  • Boris Shakhlin: 13 medalhas
  • Edoardo Mangiarotti: 13 medalhas
  • Paavo Nurmi: 12 medalhas
  • Sawao Kato: 12 medalhas
  • Jenny Thompson: 12 medalhas
  • Birgit Fischer: 12 medalhas
  • Bjørn Dæhlie: 12 medalhas
  • Věra Čáslavská: 11 medalhas
  • Viktor Chukarin: 11 medalhas
  • Matt Biondi: 11 medalhas
  • Mark Spitz: 11 medals
  • Marit Bjørgen: 10 medalhas
  • Aladár Gerevich: 10 medalhas
  • Carl Lewis: 10 medalhas
  • Usain Bolt: 8 medalhas
  • Ray Ewry: 8 medalhas

Olympic record medalists: the top 20 champions

Ray Ewry

  • Country: United States
  • Sport: athletics
  • Record: 8 medals

Ray Ewry, an Olympic athletics champion who competed from 1900 to 1908, won eight Olympic medals, all gold. The athlete was from the United States.

Usain Bolt

  • Country: Jamaica
  • Sport: athletics
  • Record: 8 medals

Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt is a multiple Olympic champion. Throughout his athletics career, he has won eight Olympic medals, all of them gold. He competed between 2008 and 2016.

Carl Lewis

  • Country: United States
  • Sport: athletics
  • Record: 10 medals

One of the greatest athletes in athletics is Carl Lewis, who has won 10 Olympic medals during his career. Between 1984 and 1996, he won nine gold medals and one silver.

Aladár Gerevich

  • Country: Hungary
  • Sport: Fencing
  • Record: 10 medals

Hungarian fencer Aladár Gerevich is still considered the greatest of all time in his sport. Between the years he competed in the Olympic Games, from 1932 to 1960, he won 10 medals: seven gold, one silver and two bronze.



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Marit Bjørgen

  • Country: Norway
  • Sport: Cross-country skiing
  • Record: 10 medals

Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen has won 10 Olympic medals. She has six gold medals, three silver and one bronze, won between 2002 and 2014.

Mark Spitz

  • Country: United States
  • Sport: Swimming
  • Record: 11 medals

Mark Spitz is the second greatest Olympic swimmer in history, and also the second greatest in terms of the number of gold medals won at a single Olympic Games. In all, he has 11 medals: nine gold, one silver and one bronze.

Matt Biondi

  • Country: United States
  • Sport: swimming
  • Record: 11 medals

Born in the United States, swimmer Matt Biondi has won 11 Olympic medals during his appearances at the Olympic Games. The athlete, who competed between 1984 and 1992, has eight gold medals, two silver and one bronze.

Viktor Chukarin

  • Country: Soviet Union
  • Sport: artistic gymnastics
  • Record: 11 medals

Gymnast Viktor Chukarin, from the former Soviet Union, was a highlight of his generation of artistic gymnasts. Competing between 1952 and 1956, he won seven gold medals, three silver and one bronze, accounting for 11 Olympic awards.

Věra Čáslavská

  • Country: Czechoslovakia
  • Sport: artistic gymnastics
  • Record: 11 medals

Věra Čáslavská, an athlete from the Czech Republic, made history at the Olympics. Competing from 1960 to 1968, the artistic gymnast won 11 medals at the Olympic Games, seven gold and four silver.

Bjørn Dæhlie

  • Country: Norway
  • Sport: Cross-country skiing
  • Record: 12 medals

Norwegian cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie has also won 12 medals at the Olympic Games. Of these, he has won eight gold and four silver medals. The athlete is also known

Birgit Fischer

  • Country: Germany
  • Sport: Canoeing
  • Record: 12 medals

German canoeist Birgit Fischer has won 12 Olympic medals, making her one of the top athletes in her sport. She competed from 1980 to 2004, bringing home eight gold medals and four silver.

Jenny Thompson

  • Country: United States
  • Sport: swimming
  • Record: 12 medals

American swimmer Jenny Thompson enters the list of top Olympic record medalists with 12 medals won. Of these, eight are gold, three silver and one bronze. The athlete took part in the Olympics between 1992 and 2004.

Sawao Kato

  • Country: Japan
  • Sport: artistic gymnastics
  • Record: 12 medals

Japanese gymnast Sawao Kato is also one of the greatest Olympic record medalists. The athlete, who competed from 1968 to 1976, won no less than eight gold medals, three silver and one bronze at the Olympic Games.

Paavo Nurmi

  • Country: Finland
  • Sport: athletics
  • Record: 12 medals

The third greatest Olympic record medalists in history is Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi. The athlete competed between 1920 and 1928 and won nine gold medals and three silver medals.

In 1924 alone, the runner won five gold medals, making him one of the biggest names in his sport to this day

Edoardo Mangiarotti

  • Country: Italy
  • Sport: Fencing
  • Record: 13 medals

Edoardo Mangiarotti, a fencer from Italy, was one of the greats of his generation and also one of the greatest Olympic record medalists. He competed from 1936 to 1960 and amassed 13 Olympic medals: six gold, five silver and two bronze.

Boris Shakhlin

  • Country: Soviet Union
  • Sport: artistic gymnastics
  • Record: 13 medals

From the Soviet Union, now Russia, Boris Shakhlin took part in the Olympics between 1956 and 1964 in artistic gymnastics. He collected seven gold medals, four silver and two bronze.

Ole Einar Bjørndalen

  • Country: Norway
  • Sport: biathlon
  • Record: 13 medals

Ole Einar Bjørndalen, a Norwegian biathlete, is known for being the only person to win every individual event at the Olympics in his sport, biathlon.

The Olympic athlete has 13 medals in total, eight gold, four silver and one bronze. He competed in the Winter Olympics between 1998 and 2014.

Nikolai Andrianov

  • Country: Soviet Union
  • Sport: artistic gymnastics
  • Record: 15 medals

One of the greatest Olympic record medalists in history is Nikolai Andrianov, from the Soviet Union (Russia), an artistic gymnast. The athlete took part in the games between 1972 and 1980, and in all he won seven gold medals, five silver and three bronze.

Larissa Latynia

  • Country: Soviet Union (Russia)
  • Sport: artistic gymnastics
  • Record: 18 medals

The woman with the most Olympic medals is Larissa Latynia, from the Soviet Union. Of all her 18 medals won at the Olympic Games, the artistic gymnastics record champion has nine gold, five silver and four bronze. She competed from 1956 to 1964.

Michael Phelps

  • Country: United States
  • Sport: swimming
  • Record: 28 medals

The all-time record holder at the Olympics is Michael Phelps. The American boasts no less than 23 gold medals, three silver and two bronze, for a total of 28.

The athlete competed between 2004 and 2016, and his greatest year was 2008, when he won every discipline he competed in and won eight gold medals.

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