The primary aim of most Olympic Games athletes is to win a gold medal, though winning any medal is a great achievement for most of them. Here are two lists, ranking athletes by the most number of medals, and also by gold medals won (including 2012). You can see below that the clear winner is Michael Phelps with the most Olympic golds and most medals in total. Are you not happy with ranking these athletes using this criteria? Have a look at a similar list with alternative ranking systems: Ranking Athlete Performances at the Olympics.
It is clear that athletes from certain sports have an advantage, for example there are many more gymnastics and swimming medals up for grabs than for a team sport like hockey or volleyball. Also, the number of events in which medals are available overall have changed over time. As some sports do not have the same opportunity to win multiple medals, see the top ranked athletes from each sport so great athletes from other sports can get their due credit.
Phelps has the Most Total Medals
Here is the list of the top 10 athletes (males and females) with the most medals in total (includes all gold, silver and bronze medals won), from all summer Olympic Games (including 2012). American swimmer Michael Phelps is the clear winner, with the highest ranked female gymnast Larisa Latynina. Although not making this list, a significant achievement was by Hungarian Aladar Gerevich who won medals in 6 consecutive Olympic Games in fencing.
Here are lists of the top 10 greatest gold medal winners, from all summer Olympic Games (including 2012). As with the total medal list, the clear leader here is Michael Phelps, with the top ranked female Larisa Latynina sharing 9 gold medals with Paavo Nurmi and Mark Spitz.
good all the above deserve those medals and hats off to Phelps ... (from sania, Aug 2012)
hello, guys this Olympics my favorite player is usain bolt he is wonderful movement of the year ... (from manjunath, Aug 2012)
Dats so cool.kudos to phelps (from Treasure, 13 Aug 2012)
Thats great ... everyone on the list deserves a high five from Barack Obama ... great'.. God bless everyone ... looking forward for your future ... Your Country. proud of you all. (from Nathaniel Quimada, 11 Aug 2012)
I think all medal holders are angels because they have special power to introduce them to the whole world in a few moments. Go ahead all athletics. I pray for all from bangladesh. (from Towhid sagar, 10 Aug 2012)
Are their any statistics on personal success, i.e. medals won per attempt? Phelps has more chance at multiple medals than a hockey player for example. Would be interesting to know personal success rates. Usain Bolt's might prove a more successful Olympian than Phelps (from john aylward, Aug 2012)
Somebody like michael phelps with the highest medal what benefit is it to his country at large (from michael, Aug 2012)
I congratulate the all gold medal holders but u all are not the important person (from mahesh kumar patra, Aug 2012)
sportsmanship can connect people in different country!God blessed Olympiad! (from micoy, Aug 2012)
La pagina es horrible no encontre, ni un poquito de informacion (from Jesus, Aug 2012)
Sir Stephen Redgrave UK has won 5 gold medals in 5 consecutive Olympic Games for rowing - that has to be a record (from Anne Cooper, July 2012) - reply: see rowing medals
wow! Larisa Latynina has 18 medals! micheal phelps has 14! (from achampion, June 2012)
That is incorrect. Larisa Latynina has won 18 Olympic medals, in TOTAL, 9 of them are GOLD. Michael Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals, in TOTAL, 14 of these are GOLD. Now, that's a WOW! (from Kat, 10 Aug 2012)
Well done you all do your contery proud :) (from Madison, June 2012)