The goal of most Olympic Games athletes is to win a gold medal, though winning any medal, even making the Olympic Games at all, is a great achievement for most of them. Here are two lists, ranking athletes by who has won the most number of medals (any color), and also by gold medals won (up to and including Tokyo 2020 results).
The clear champion is Michael Phelps, with the most Olympic gold medals 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, rugby 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 2021). American swimmer Michael Phelps is the clear winner, with the highest ranked female being gymnast Larisa Latynina. Although not making this list, a significant achievement was by Hungarian Aladar Gerevich who won medals in six consecutive Olympic Games in fencing.
Top male and female (total medals)
|2||Larisa Latynina||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||18|
|3||Nikolai Andrianov||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||15|
|=4||Boris Shakhlin||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||13|
Phelps also has the Most Gold Medals
Here are lists of the top-10 greatest gold medal winners, from all summer Olympic Games (including 2021). As with the total medal list, the clear leader here is Michael Phelps, with the top ranked female Larisa Latynina sharing nine gold medals with Paavo Nurmi, Carl Lewis and Mark Spitz.
Top Male and Female Athletes (total gold medals)
|=2||Larisa Latynina||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||9|
|=6||Birgit Fischer||East Germany, Germany||Canoeing||8|
- Poll: Who is the Greatest Olympian (Summer) of All Time?
- A similar table Ranking Athlete Performances at the Olympics
- See also the top ranked athletes from each sport
- All Olympic medal tallys
- All time medal table (all years combined)
- First Olympic Gold Medal Winners from Each Country
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- Michael Phelps is a .....Living Super Man .... He makes Americans So Proud ..... God Bless him ..... Bert Fernandez (2016)
Where's the credit for Amy Van Dyken? She won 6 Olympic gold medals for swimming. Marjosh (2014)
- she's there, on the list of top 10 females (gold medals)
Sir Stephen Redgrave UK has won 5 gold medals in 5 consecutive Olympic Games for rowing - that has to be a record. Anne Cooper (2016)
- That is very impressive. Redgrave is the most successful male rowerat the Olympic Games.
- 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. Aylward (2016)
- Phelps won 28 medals out of the 29 times he qualified for Olympic races. The only time he didn't win a medal in the Olympics was in Sydney, Australia, his first Olympics when he was 15. Lisa wane aylward (2016)
- 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. Towhid (2016)
- good all the above deserve those medals and hats off to Phelps. Sania (2016)
- Why is Michael Phelps listed as a competitor for "United States" while all other US Olympians are listed as competitors for "USA"? Anthony (2016)
- Phelps metals will NEVER EVER be broken. Wow, what a freak of nature that dude is. Guest (2016)
- I wouldn't say "NEVER EVER". Possibly not during our life time, but you never know. Records are meant to be broken. T-dogg Guest (2016)
How comes Biles isnt on this list? She has a total of 30 olympic metals 22 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze. Fake news. Dramacidal (2019)
- Rob Admin
Simone Biles has only 4 Olympic gold medals, from the 2016 Olympic Games.
- Rob Admin
- 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 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)
- 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 country proud :) (from Madison, June 2012)