Top Ten Olympians of All Time

Throughout history the Olympics have captivated the masses. Each year a new Olympian emerges and a new story is told. Here is a list featuring the top ten Olympians of all time and their stories.


Michael Johnson

United States – Sprinter

1992, 1996, 2000

During the 1990’s Michael Johnson was a household name in the United States. He was widely considered the fastest man on earth until Usain Bolt emerged in 2008. What also set him apart was his ethical behavior. Throughout his career he won five medals, but voluntarily returned one when news broke that his relay partner, Antonio Pettigrew, admitted to using performance enhancing drugs several years later. Johnson was also famous for wearing his staple gold shoes, which surely match is gold medals quite well.


Larisa Latynina

Soviet Union – Gymnast

1956, 1960, 1964

Throughout her career Larisa Latynina earned 18 Olympic medals. This puts her in second place for all time right behind Michael Phelps. She earned nine gold medals, five silver, and four bronze.


Jesse Owens

United States – Track and Field


All the way back in 1936 Jesse Owens won four gold medals for team USA. His accomplishments made headway for racial barriers currently imposed in the United States and especially in Germany where the games took place.


Usain Bolt

Jamaica – Sprinter

2008, 2012

Usain Bolt may indeed be the fastest man alive. He shocked the world in Beijing where he broke the world record for the 100 meter sprint with a time of 9.69 seconds. He was also a part of the 4×100 meter relay team that brought home gold to Jamaica. In Jamaica he is a national legend and is quickly becoming a household name around the world.


Alexei Nemov

Russia – Gymnast

1996, 2000

Alexei Nemov racked up a grand total of twelve medals over two Olympic games. With this achievement he ranks in the top five highest medal count ever.



Steve Redgrave

Great Britain – Rower

1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000

Steve Redgrave made history when he won a gold medal in five different Olympic games. His Olympic career began at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games and ended at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games. This feat was so impressive that he was knighted in 2001 by Queen Elizabeth II.


Mark Spitz

United States – Swimmer

1968, 1972

Mark Spitz, always rocking his signature mustache, became the first man in history to win seven gold medals at a single Olympic games. This record held up for 36 years before Michael Phelps walked away with eight at the Beijing games in 2008.  In all he earned 11 medals throughout his outstanding career.


Carl Lewis

United States – Track and Field

1984, 1988, 1992, 1996

What sets Carl Lewis apart from the rest of the Olympians is the fact that he received a gold medal in four different Olympic games. This is an exceptional feat for anyone, but even more exceptional for a track and field athlete. His is only one of five Olympians of all time to have won at least nine gold medals.


Nadia Comaneci 

Romania – Gymnast

1976, 1980

Nadia Comaneci is the only gymnast at the Olympics to have ever scored a perfect 10. She did so when she competed on the uneven bars at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. What is even more impressive is the fact she was only 14 when she accomplished this feat. Ironically at the stadium the scoreboard did not have the capability of displaying a 10.0 so instead it showed a 1.0. When the crowd finally realized what was intended, she received a roaring standing ovation.


Michael Phelps

United States – Swimmer

2004, 2008, 2012

Michael Phelps has won 22 medals at the Olympics. This makes him the most decorated Olympian of all time and that is exactly why he tops this list.


Source: International Business Times


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.