The history of the Olympic Games takes us all the way back to 776 BC in ancient Greece where the first athletic competitions were performed in honor of the gods, based in the city of Olympia. Sometime later in 393 AC, Emperor Theodosius forbade this celebration and it almost got forgotten.
Much closer in 1896 in the city of Athens the competitions returned thanks to Pierre de Coubertin who led the movement to re-perform this sporting festival.
The best athletes of the world have been preparing every four years to achieve the glory of receiving an Olympic medal. To continue, the top 10 athletes with the most medals in the modern history of the Olympic Games (Including the Winter Olympics).
10. Birgit Fischer – 12 Medals
Throughout the course of her incredible careers, German kayaker Birgit Fischer have amassed 12 Olympic medals each (8 gold and 4 silver). The most impressive of this is that she actually came back from early retirement and became both the youngest and oldest Olympic canoeing champion.
9. Paavo Nurmi – 12 Medals
Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish runner of the 1920s known as the flying Finn. He won 12 medals, 9 were gold and 3 silver. His specialty was running medium and long distances. He had a 121-run streak without losing in categories with more than 800 meters.
8. Takashi Ono – 13 Medals
Ever since the dawn of this beautiful sport, Japanese and Asians have been at the top of gymnastics. That’s why it’s not a surprise to see standout gymnast Takashi Ono crack this list thanks to his 13 Olympic medals: 5 gold, 4 silver, and 4 bronze.
7. Edoardo Mangiarotti – 13 Medals
Edoardo Mangiarotti was an Italian fencer winner of 13 Olympic medals: 6 gold, 5 silver, and 2 bronze. Notably, he didn’t win all those medals and accolades on his own, as some of his prices were actually a team effort. That’s pretty impressive nonetheless.
6. Boris Shakhlin – 13 Medals
Boris Shakhlin was a gymnast born in the Soviet Union. Winner of 13 medals: 7 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze; Shakhlin went down as one of the greatest sports glory in U.R.S.S history, which is a lot to say considering how many legends they had in the Olympics.
5. Ole Einar Bjørndalen – 13 Medals
Ole Einar Bjørndalen is a Norwegian athlete winner of 13 medals: 8 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze. She competed in the Winter Olympics in the biathlon discipline, where he combines speed over long distances in cross-country skiing and shooting accuracy.
4. Nikolai Andrianov – 15 Medals
Nikolai Andrianov was a soviet gymnast winner of 15 Olympic medals: 7 gold, 5 silver, and 3 bronze. She participated in different events such as the vault, pommel horse, parallel bars, and horizontal bar, demonstrating her skills at every single one of its disciplines.
3. Marit Bjørgen – 15 Medals
Marit Bjørgen, arguably the best Winter Olympics athlete of all time, has a total of 15 medals: 8 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze. Some claim that she could have won many more accolades if it wasn’t for her ‘early’ retirement in 2018, and I won’t be the one to disagree.
2. Larisa Latynina – 18 Medals
Larisa Latynina, known as “The Goddess of Olympic Gymnastics”, held the record for most medals for 48 years with her 18 medals: 9 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze. After her career, she pursued a career as a gymnastics coach for the Soviet Union.
1. Michael Phelps – 28 Medals
Known as the Baltimore Shark, Michael Phelps is the most decorated sportsman in the history of the Olympic GameS. Phelps has 28 medals: 23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze. Undoubtedly his anatomy, technique, dedication, and diet made him almost an unbeatable athlete in the water.