So far, throughout the history of the Summer Olympics, 5,116 gold medals, 5,080 silver, and 5,487 bronze medals have been awarded to the athletes. In total, there were 15,683 medals won! At the last edition in Rio de Janeiro alone, there were 971 medals to be on.
Every athlete strives to bring home at least a single bronze medal but there are also athletes that keep on winning after the first gold. It is a common thing for them as piles of shiny medals are their measures of success.
Here is the list of athletes with the most medals won at the Summer Olympics:
1) Michael Phelps (USA, swimming)
28 medals: 23 golds, 3 silvers, 2 bronzes
The iconic winning machine, Phelps has set records that is almost impossible to be broken. With 28 Olympic medals where 23 of them are gold, he also holds the most world record set for swimming.
Michael Phelps is also an exemplary sportsman for all others athletes with minimal controversy, a big and warm smile, and easygoing nature. He privately battled attention deficit hyperactivity disorder early in his life and depression after he retired. Even so, he still has the time to advise and inspire other swimmers.
2) Larisa Latynina (USSR, gymnastics)
18 medals: 9 golds, 5 silvers, 4 bronzes
She was at the top of this list until 2012 where her record was broken only by Phelps. From 1956 to 1964, Latynina was the one that established Soviet Union’s place in gymnastics. Awarded with four golds on her first games in Melbourne, her experience in dancing gave her an extra graceful presence during her games.
When Latynina won the last six of her 18 medals at the 1964 Tokyo Games, she was two months from turning 30. Many top gymnasts would have been long retired at that age but not her. She is one indomitable Russian.
3) Nikolai Adrianov (USSR, gymnastics)
15 medals: 7 golds, 5 silvers, 3 bronzes
The leading male gymnast in the 1970s starred in the 1976 Montreal Games where he bagged four golds, two silvers, and one bronze in a competitive gymnastics performance. He also won gold at the 1972 and 1980 Olympics. Shortly after the 1980 Moscow games, Adrianov retired and became a renowned coach for the Russian teams as well as the Japan Olympic gymnastics team. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2011 at the age of 58 after suffering from a rare neurological disorder.
4) Boris Shakhlin (USSR, gymnastics)
13 medals: 7 golds, 4 silvers, 2 bronzes
Known as the Man of Iron for his “steely determination and calm consistency”, Shakhlin’s powerful frame propelled him to frequent gold-winning performances on the horizontal bar and the rings events. However, at age 35, he was forced to retire from gymnastics after suffering a heart attack.
When Latynina was at the top in the early 1960s, Shakhlin was right next to her. He was the best men gymnast at that time after the peak in the 1960 Rome Olympics where he was awarded four golds, two silvers, and one bronze. Known as the Man of Iron for his calmness, determination, and consistency, Shakhlin was powerfully propelled to frequent gold-winning performances. Sadly, he was forced to retire from gymnastics at the age of 35 after suffering a heart attack.
5) Edoardo Mangiarotti (Italy, fencing)
13 medals: 6 golds, 5 silvers, 2 bronzes
Mangiarotti was born into a famous Italian fencing family. His father trained him from a right-handed fencer to a left-handed one to make him undefeatable. He made it through the awkwardness in the early of his career and became dominant in not only one but two fencing disciplines which are epee and foil.
His career in fencing debuted at the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he secured a team epee gold. After World War II, he was featured in four more Olympics. The 1952 Helsinki Games was his peak, as he won golds in both the team and individual epee competitions, and competed together with his older brother Dario.
6) Takashi Ono (Japan, gymnastics)
13 medals: 5 golds, 4 silvers, 4 bronzes
Ono shared the spotlight with Shahklin when he successfully bagged three golds, a silver, and two bronzes. It took him more than intensity to break the Soviet Union’s stranglehold on gymnastics gold medals but he made it through. But by then, he was already at the end of his career. However, he played for his last Olympics in his home country in 1964 where he helped the men’s team placed second straight gold in Tokyo. After that, he retired as a Japanese gymnast.
7) Paavo Nurmi (Finland, athletics)
12 medals: 9 golds, 3 silvers
Known as ‘The Flying Finn’, Nurmi dominated distance running in the early 20th century where he set 22 world records at distances between 1500 metres and 20 kilometres in his 14-year career. In 1923, Nurmi held simultaneous world records in the mile, the 5,000m and the 10,000m races, a feat which has never since been repeated.
At the 1924 Paris games, he made performed his greatest Olympic by winning a staggering five golds in the events of 1,500m, 5,000m, team 3,000m, and individual and team cross country races. He broke world records in the 1,500m and 5,000m with just 60 minutes between the races. Truly astonishing.
Sources: Yahoo! news