The Olympic Games originated in Greece in the year 776 BC and consisted of many athletic events held every four years. The modern games kept and added to the athletics of the ancients and are still held every four years. Over the years there have been many excellent athletes in all different areas of sports. Some, however, rise above the rest and set records that last for many years.
These are our top 5 Olympians of all time:
5. Takasi Ono – Gymnastics -Japan- (13 medals)
Takashi Ono was the first Japanese to win an individual Olympic gold medal for gymnastics. He won gold medals for the horizontal bar in 1956 and 1960. He also won another gold in the horse vault in 1960 and a team gold in 1956 and 1960. He added an additional four silver and four bronze medals in 1956 and 1960.
4. Edoardo Mangiarotti – Fencing -Italy- (13 medals)
Mangiarotti was one of Italy’s most famous Olympians who won a total of 13 medals in fencing between 1936 and 1960. This set a record for an Italian and the most by any fencer. He won six gold, five silver and two bronze.
3. Nikolay Andranov – Gymnastics -Soviet Union – (15 medals)
Andrianov won seven gold medals for the Soviet Union. He won one gold at the 1972 Olympics and four more at the 1976 Montreal Games where he won the all-round. He also took a silver and bronze in 1972 , two silvers and a bronze in 1976 and two more golds and two silvers and a bronze on his home turf of Moscow in 1980. No male Olympian at that time had ever amassed so many metals. It was not until 2008 that he was surpassed by American swimmer Michael Phelps with 16 in 2008.
2. Michael Phelps – Swimming – United States – (17 medals)
Phelps won six gold and two bronze at the Olympics at Athens in 2004 and eight more gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. He set a record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics. By winning eight at the 2008 Games he passed Mark Spitz who won seven in the 1972 Munich Games. He also set a record for the most gold Olympic medals with 14 and the record for the most gold medals in individual events with nine. As of this writing, he has a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
1. Larissa Latynina – Gymnastics – Soviet Union – (18 medals)
Latynina holds the world record with 18 medals in the Olympic Games. She was responsible for establishing the Soviet Union as a dominant force in gymnastics. Latynina won a total of 9 gold medals spanning 3 Olympics from 1956 – 1964. She won six medals in the 1956 Melbourne Games, six medals in the 1960 Rome Games and six medals in the 1964 Tokyo Games.