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Olympics: who are the Games' most decorated athletes?

Ahead of this summer's Tokyo Games, we take a look at the most successful Olympians of all time.

Olympics: who are the Games' most decorated athletes?

Swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, having racked up 28 medals across five appearances at the Summer Games.

Phelps' record medal tally includes unprecedented 23 Olympic golds

Phelps, who made his Olympic debut as a 15-year-old at Sydney 2000, won 23 golds, three silvers and two bronzes before retiring from swimming after Rio 2016.

The American's haul of 23 golds is also unmatched in Olympic history.

Phelps additionally holds the record for the most medals won at a single Olympics, having picked up eight on two occasions, at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

Phelps broke gymnast Latynina's record in 2012

Phelps became the Olympics’ most successful athlete at London 2012, breaking a record that had been held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina for the previous 48 years.

Latynina claimed a total of 18 medals - nine gold, five silver and four bronze - between 1956 and 1964.

Latynina was present for the race that saw Phelps surpass her tally and wanted to present the swimmer with his record-breaking medal, but was told by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Olympic rules did not allow it.

See also:

Most decorated Winter Olympian and Paralympian

The most successful Winter Olympian in history is Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen, who picked up 15 medals - eight gold, four silver and three bronze - between 2002 and 2018.

Meanwhile, the most decorated Paralympian ever has almost as many medals as Phelps, Latynina and Bjorgen put together: between 1980 and 2004, American swimmer Trischa Zorn won no fewer than 51, of which 41 were golds.

She also collected nine silvers and five bronzes.


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