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The most decorated athletes in Summer Olympics history

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Michael Phelps

The Olympics serve as the biggest stage for athletes to prove their mettle. In a competition among the world’s greatest athletes, it is truly an incredible honor just to be there.

But no competitor wants to come away from the Games empty-handed — they all want to go for the gold. PointAfter — a sports data visualization site powered by Graphiq — looked back at every Olympic Games since 1896 to find the most decorated athletes of all time, both male and female.

For this ranking, we gave different values for gold, silver and bronze medals: Gold is worth five points, silver three and bronze one. The cumulative point total serves as each athlete’s “Medal Score,” and the list is sorted by this value. In the event of ties, the athlete with the most gold medals is ranked higher. If ties are still present, we used total silver medals as the determining factor. The final tiebreakers used were number of Games each athlete appeared in, followed by the most recent Olympics.

 

#10. Matthew Biondi

 

 

Medal Score: 47

Country: USA
Sport: Aquatics
Games medaled in: 1984 Los Angeles, 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona

Total medals: 11
Gold: 8
Silver: 2
Bronze: 1

 

#9. Carl Lewis

 

 

Medal Score: 48

Country: USA
Sport: Athletics
Games medaled in: 1984 Los Angeles, 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta

Total medals: 10
Gold: 9
Silver: 1
Bronze: 0

 

#8. Boris Shakhlin

 

 

Medal Score: 49

Country: Soviet Union
Sport: Gymnastics
Games medaled in: 1956 Melbourne, 1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo

Total medals: 13
Gold: 7
Silver: 4
Bronze: 2

 

#7. Mark Spitz

 

 

Medal Score: 49

Country: USA
Sport: Aquatics
Games medaled in: 1968 Mexico City, 1972 Munich

Total medals: 11
Gold: 9
Silver: 1
Bronze: 1

 

#6. Sawao Kato

 

 

Medal Score: 50

Country: Japan
Sport: Gymnastics
Games medaled in: 1968 Mexico City, 1972 Munich, 1976 Montreal

Total medals: 12
Gold: 8
Silver: 3
Bronze: 1

 

#5. Jenny Thompson

 

 

Medal Score: 50

Country: USA
Sport: Aquatics
Games medaled in: 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens

Total medals: 12
Gold: 8
Silver: 3
Bronze: 1

 

#4. Nikolai Andrianov

 

 

Medal Score: 53

Country: Soviet Union
Sport: Gymnastics
Games medaled in: 1972 Munich, 1976 Montreal, 1980 Moscow

Total medals: 15
Gold: 7
Silver: 5
Bronze: 3

 

#3. Paavo Nurmi

 

 

Medal Score: 54

Country: Finland
Sport: Athletics
Games medaled in: 1920 Antwerp, 1924 Paris, 1928 Amsterdam

Total medals: 12
Gold: 9
Silver: 3
Bronze: 0

 

#2. Larisa Latynina

 

 

Medal Score: 64

Country: Soviet Union
Sport: Gymnastics
Games medaled in: 1956 Melbourne, 1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo

Total medals: 18
Gold: 9
Silver: 5
Bronze: 4

 

#1. Michael Phelps

 

 

Medal Score: 98

Country: USA
Sport: Aquatics
Games medaled in: 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London

Total medals: 22
Gold: 18
Silver: 2
Bronze: 2

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