After a year-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Olympics are all set to get underway in Tokyo from July 23. Olympics have always been the pinnacle for an athlete to showcase their talent and cement their legacy.
Winning a single medal at this quadrennial showpiece event has the power to immortalize a sportsperson. And, then there are those like Michael Phelps, capable of rewriting history and record books with stunning individual performances bagging multiple medals.
Here we take a brief look at the top-six athletes who have won the most number of individual medals in Olympic history
- Michael Phelps (USA, 2000-2016) – Swimming – 28 Medals
The American legend was undoubtedly in a league of his own. He is the most decorated Olympian in the history of the games — by a significant margin. Phelps participated in five Olympics and accumulated 28 medals – 23 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze. What makes, his achievements even more unbelievable is the fact that he was medal-less in his first appearance at the Sydney Games in 2000.
Phelps’ most outstanding performance came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he won a staggering eight gold medals.
- Larisa Latynina (USSR, 1956-1964) – Gymnastics – 18 Medals
The second spot in this elite list is taken by former Soviet artistic gymnast Latynina. She made her Olympic debut at the age of 21 during the 1956 Melbourne Games and stole the show by winning four gold medals. Latynina has won a total of 18 Olympic medals in her career spanning from 1956-1964, out of which nine were gold. She is also the only gymnast to win nine gold medals at the Summer Games.
- Nikolai Andrianov (USSR, 1972-1980) – Gymnastics – 15 Medals
The record-setting Russian gymnast Nikolai Andrianov won 15 medals – seven gold, five silver and three bronze – in three Olympics Games from 1972 to 1980. He also held the record for most Olympic medals by a male athlete before Phelps surpassed him at the 2008 Beijing Games. Andrianov won most of his medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics – six individual and one team medal.
- Boris Shakhlin (USSR, 1956-1964) – Gymnastics – 13 Medals
Yet another gymnast, Boris Shakhlin won 13 medals – seven gold, four silver, and two bronze – at the Summer Games from 1956 to 1964. Shakhlin’s best performance came in 1960 Rome Olympics, where he won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
- Edoardo Mangiarotti (Italy, 1936-1956) – Fencing – 13 Medals
The fifth spot in this is reserved by Italy’s Edoardo Mangiarotti. He was an immovable force when it came to fencing. Mangiarotti has won 13 medals at the Olympic Games – six gold, five silver and two bronze – from 1936 to 1956.
- Takashi Ono (Japan, 1952-1964) – Gymnastics – 13 Medals
Japan’s Takashi Ono won 13 medals – five gold, four Silver and four bronze – in the Summer Games from 1952-1964. He was also the flag bearer of Japan at the 1960 Olympics.