Olympic Athletes - Best & Top Ranked Ever
The Olympic Games place the best athletes from countries around the world to compete is various activities. There are many great events like swimming, basketball, track and field, skiiing along with many newer events that have been added over the past 20 years. This is a list of the Best & Top Ranked Olympic athletes of all time. Rank your favorites. Add an athlete that is missing.
Contribute to this list
Michael Fred Phelps (born June 30, 1985) is an American swimmer. He has won 14 career Olympic gold medals, the most by any Olympian, and is often cited as the greatest swimmer and one of the greatest Olympians of all time. As of August 2, 2009, Phelps has broken thirty-seven world records in swimming.
Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics, his eight at the 2008 Beijing Games surpassed American swimmer Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance at Munich in 1972.
Overall, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals: six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008. In doing so he has twice equaled the record eight medals of any type at a single Olympics achieved by Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. His five golds in individual events tied the single Games record set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. Phelps career Olympic medal total is second only to the 18 Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina won over three Olympics, including nine gold.
William 'Paul Vogt' Bruce Jenner (born October 28, 1949) is a former U.S. track and field athlete, motivational speaker, socialite, and television personality, known principally for winning the gold medal for decathlon in the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics. Jenner placed third in the decathlon at the 1972 U.S. Olympic trials and finished in tenth place at the 1972 Munich games. His success prompted him to devote himself full-time to a grueling training regimen, which he openly acknowledged was supported and graciously subsidized by his then wife.
Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis (born July 1, 1961) is a retired American track and field athlete who won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, of which 8 were gold, in a career that spanned from 1979 when he first achieved a world ranking to 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired. Lewis is now an actor and has appeared in a number of films.
Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper who topped the world rankings in the 100 m, 200 m and long jump events frequently from 1981 to the early 1990s, was named Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News in 1982, 1983 and 1984, and set world records in the 100 m, 4 x 100 m and 4 x 200 m relays. His world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984 and his 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport’s longest undefeated streaks.
His lifetime accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted "Sportsman of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee and being named "Olympian of the Century" by the American sports magazine Sports Illustrated. He also helped transform track and field from its nominal amateur status to its current professional status, thus enabling athletes to have more lucrative and longer-lasting careers.
Edwin Corley Moses (born August 31, 1955) is an American track and field athlete who won gold medals in the 400 metre hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics. Between 1977 and 1987, Moses won 107 consecutive finals (122 consecutive races) and set the world record in his event four times. In addition to his running, Moses was also an innovative reformer in the areas of Olympic eligibility and drug testing. In 2000, he was elected the first Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an international service organization of world class athletes.
Gregory "Greg" Efthimios Louganis (born January 29, 1960) is an American Olympic diver and author. He is best known for winning back-to-back Olympic titles in both the 3m and 10m diving events.
He received the James E. Sullivan Award from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1984 as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States.
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 metres, the 200 metres, the long jump, and as part of the 4x100 meter relay team.
Kristin Otto (born 7 February 1966 in Leipzig, East Germany) is a German Olympic swimming champion. She is most famous for being the first woman to win six gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympic games.
Kristin Otto began swimming at 10 years old, she was trained in an East German sports academy. At 16 years of age she participated in her first world championships in Ecuador 1982, she won the gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke, along with two additional gold medals in the 4×100 m relays with the East German team.
Larissa Semyonovna Latynina
Larissa Semyonovna Latynina (born December 27, 1934 in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR) is a Russian-Ukrainian and former Soviet gymnast who was the only female athlete to win nine Olympic gold medals. She holds the record for winning the most Olympic medals at 18 (nine gold medals, five silver and four bronze). She also holds the record for most individual medals (14 outside of team events) in Olympic history.
Mark Andrew Spitz (born February 10, 1950) is a retired American swimmer. He won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, an achievement surpassed only by Michael Phelps who won eight golds at the 2008 Olympics. Between 1968 and 1972, Spitz won nine Olympic golds plus a silver and a bronze, five Pan American golds, 31 US Amateur Athletic Union titles and eight US National Collegiate Athletic Association titles. During those years, he set 33 world records. He was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971 and 1972.
Matthew Nicholas Biondi (born October 8, 1965 in Palo Alto, California) is a three-time U.S. Olympic swimmer in the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Summer Olympics, winning a total of 11 medals. He is a member of the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
In the 1988 Summer Olympics, Biondi equalled Mark Spitz as the second swimmer to win seven medals in one Games. Biondi left Seoul with five gold medals, setting world records in four of those events.
Nadia Elena Comaneci (born November 12, 1961) is a Romanian gymnast, winner of three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and the first ever gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event. She is also the winner of two gold medals at the 1980 summer Olympics. She is one of the best-known gymnasts in the world and, along with Olga Korbut, is credited with popularizing the sport around the world.
Nikolai Ost Yefimovich Andrianov (b.October 14, 1952 in Vladimir, Russian SFSR) was a Soviet/Russian gymnast. He held the record for men for most Olympic medals at 15 (7 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 3 bronze medals) until Michael Phelps surpassed him in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Andrianov is the third athlete by this count after Phelps and Larissa Latynina, who earned 18 Olympic medals, Latynina holds the record for women. He took the Olympic Oath for athletes at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.