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Records at the Olympic Games – Facts and Statistics

Some stand forever, some were made to be broken. We are referring to the greatest accomplishments and the most significant records in Olympic Games history.

Do you like learning about incredible achievements? Interested in finding out which Olympians have set the bar for future athletes and how high that bar is set? If the answers are yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief and go ahead and bookmark this page.

Our group of Olympic Games gurus took the time to research the most sought-after records that have been achieved during the Summer and Winter Games. We are going to look at some of the more astonishing lifetime and career records as well as the most impressive marks in individual races and events.

There have been a lot of noteworthy efforts put forth across the history of the Olympic Games by many men and women. We picked out the most notable ones and decided to organize a page so you can either learn about or relive these legendary performances.

As you can see in the table of contents above, we prepared multiple sections that are separated systematically in order to make things easy to follow. Get nice and comfy and enjoy reading facts and statistics covering the most remarkable Olympic records!

Career Olympic Records

The first thing we wanted to do is start looking at the most notable career records in Olympic Games history. It’s not easy to stay in the prime of your career year after year when you are participating in the most demanding of sports.

Don’t forget that these men and women must wait four years to add to their collection of medals and set new Olympic records. They train week after week, month after month, just to have an opportunity to compete at the highest level on the world’s brightest stage.

The longevity and determination it takes to achieve the statistics you will find below are mind-boggling to those of us who can only just dream of these accolades.

Here are the all-time records regarding the most medals won by men and women at the Olympics.

Men – Most Medals Won (All Time)
NameNumber of MedalsSport
Michael Phelps28Swimming
Nikolai Andrianov15Gymnastics
Ole Einar Bjørndalen13Biathlon
Boris Shakhlin13Gymnastics
Paavo Nurmi12Athletics (Running)
Edoardo Mangiarotti13Fencing
Takashi Ono13Gymnastics
Alexei Nemov12Gymnastics
Bjørn Daehlie12Cross-Country Skiing
Sawao Kato12Gymnastics
Ryan Lochte12Swimming
Women – Most Medals Won (All Time)
NameNumber of MedalsSport
Larisa Latynina18Gymnastics
Birgit Fischer12Canoeing
Jenny Thompson12Swimming
Dana Torres12Swimming
Natalie Coughlin12Swimming
Vera Caslavska11Gymnastics
Isabell Werth10Equestrian
Marit Bjørgen10Cross-Country Skiing
Agnes Keleti10Gymnastics
Polina Astakhova10Gymnastics
Raisa Smetanina10Cross-Country Skiing
Stefania Belmondo10Cross-Country Skiing
Franziska van Almsick10Swimming

Now here are the all-time records for the most GOLD medals won.

MEN – MOST GOLD MEDALS WON (ALL TIME)
NameNumber of Gold MedalsSport
Michael Phelps23Swimming
Paavo Nurmi9Athletics (Running)
Mark Spitz9Swimming
Carl Lewis9Athletics (Running/ Jumping)
Ray Ewry8Athletics (Jumping)
Ole Einar Bjørndalen8Biathlon
Bjørn Daehlie8Cross-Country Skiing
Sawao Kato8Gymnastics
Matt Biondi8Swimming
Usain Bolt8Athletics (Running)
Women – Most Gold Medals Won (All Time)
NameNumber of Gold MedalsSport
Larisa Latynina9Gymnastics
Birgit Fischer8Canoeing
Jenny Thompson8Swimming
Vera Caslavska7Gymnastics
Isabell Werth6Equestrian
Marit Bjørgen6Cross-Country Skiing
Allyson Felix6Athletics (Running)
Lyubov Yegorova6Cross-Country Skiing
Valentina Vezzali6Fencing
Kristin Otto6Swimming
Lidia Skoblikova6Speed Skating
Amy Van Dyken6Swimming

The following lists show the highest number of medals and gold medals won at a SINGLE Olympics.

Men – Most Medals Won in a Single Olympics
NameNumber of MedalsSportYear
Michael Phelps8Swimming2004
Michael Phelps8Swimming2008
Alexander Dityatin8Gymnastics1980
Willis A. Lee7Shooting1920
Lloyd Spooner7Shooting1920
Boris Shakhlin7Gymnastics1960
Mikhail Voronin7Gymnastics1968
Mark Spitz7Swimming1972
Nikolai Andrianov7Gymnastics1976
Matt Biondi7Swimming1988
Women – Most Medals Won in a Single Olympics
NameNumber of MedalsSportYear
Maria Gorokhovskaya7Gymnastics1952
Margrit Korondi6Gymnastics1952
Agnes Keleti6Gymnastics1956
Larisa Latynina6Gymnastics1956
Vera Caslavska6Gymnastics1968
Larisa Latynina6Gymnastics1960
Larisa Latynina6Gymnastics1964
Daniella Silivas6Gymnastics1988
Kristin Otto6Swimming1988
Natalie Coughlin6Swimming2008
Men – Most Gold Medals Won in a Single Olympics
NameNumber of MedalsSportYear
Michael Phelps8Swimming2008
Mark Spitz7Swimming1972
Vitaly Scherbo6Gymnastics1992
Michael Phelps6Swimming2004
Anton Heida5Gymnastics1904
Willis A. Lee5Shooting1920
Nedo Nadi5Fencing1920
Paavo Nurmi5Athletics1924
Eric Heiden5Speed Skating1980
Matt Biondi5Swimming1988
Women – Most Gold Medals Won in a Single Olympics
NameNumber of MedalsSportYear
Kristin Otto6Swimming1988
Fanny Blankers-Koen4Athletics1948
Agnes Keleti4Gymnastics1956
Larisa Latynina4Gymnastics1956
Lidia Skoblikova4Speed Skating1964
Vera Caslavska4Gymnastics1968
Kornelia Ender4Swimming1976
Ecaterina Szabo4Gymnastics1984
Amy Van Dyken4Swimming1996
Missy Franklin4Swimming2012
Katie Ledecky4Swimming2016
Simone Biles4Gymnastics2016

Individual Event Records at the Olympics

Now that we have listed the men’s and women’s records for all things associated with medals, we thought it would be appropriate to look at the most incredible records from individual races and events.

We included marks from the Summer Games, as well as the flashiest records from the most popular Winter Games’ events.

Some of our favorites include Bob Beamon’s unbelievable jump in Mexico City in 1968 and Florence Griffith-Joyner’s blazing world record time of 21.34 seconds in the 200-meter race at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

Men’s Track and Field (Summer)

  • 100 meters: Usain Bolt – 9.63 seconds (2012 London)
  • 200 meters: Usain Bolt – 19.30 seconds (2008 Beijing)
  • 400 meters: Wayde van Niekerk – 43.03 seconds (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 800 meters: David Rudisha – 1:40.91 (2012 London)
  • 10,000 meters: Kenenisa Bekele – 27:01.17 (2008 Beijing)
  • High Jump: Charles Austin – 2.39 meters (1996 Atlanta)
  • Long Jump: Bob Beamon – 8.90 meters (1968 Mexico City)
  • Triple Jump: Kenny Harrison – 18.09 meters (1996 Atlanta)
  • Pole Vault: Thiago Braz da Silva – 6.03 meters (2016 Rio de Janeiro)

Women’s Track and Field (Summer)

  • 100 meters: Florence Griffith-Joyner – 10.62 seconds (1988 Seoul)
  • 200 meters: Florence Griffith-Joyner – 21.34 seconds (1988 Seoul)
  • 400 meters: Marie-José Pérec – 48.25 seconds (1996 Atlanta)
  • 800 meters: Nadezhda Olizarenko – 1:53.43 (1980 Moscow)
  • 10,000 meters: Almaz Ayana – 29:17.45 (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • High Jump: Yelena Isinbayeva – 2.06 meters (2008 Beijing)
  • Long Jump: Jackie Joyner-Kersee – 7.40 meters ( 1988 Seoul)
  • Triple Jump: Francoise Mbango Etone – 15.39 meters (2008 Beijing)
  • Pole Vault: Yelena Isinbayeva – 5.05 meters (2008 Beijing)

Men’s Swimming (Summer)

  • 100 meter Freestyle: Eamon Sullivan – 47.05 seconds (2008 Beijing)
  • 200 meter Freestyle: Michael Phelps – 1:42.96 (2008 Beijing)
  • 400 meter Freestyle: Sun Yang – 3:40.14 (2012 London)
  • 1,500 meter Freestyle: Sun Yang – 14:31.02 (2012 London)
  • 100 meter Backstroke: Ryan Murphy – 51.86 seconds (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 200 meter Backstroke: Tyler Clary – 1:53.41 (2012 London)
  • 100 meter Breaststroke: Adam Peaty – 57.13 seconds (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 200 meter Breaststroke: Ippei Watanabe – 2:07.22 (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 100 meter Butterfly: Joseph Schooling – 50.39 seconds (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 200 meter Butterfly: Michael Phelps – 1:52. 03 seconds (2008 Beijing)
  • 200 meter Individual Medley: Michael Phelps – 1:54. 23 seconds (2008 Beijing)
  • 400 meter Individual Medley: Michael Phelps – 4:03. 84 seconds (2008 Beijing)

Women’s Swimming (Summer)

  • 100 meter Freestyle: Simone Manuel/Penny Oleksiak – 52.70 seconds (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 200 meter Freestyle: Allison Schmitt – 1:53.61 (2012 London)
  • 400 meter Freestyle: Katie Ledecky – 3:56.46 (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 800 meter Freestyle: Katie Ledecky – 8:04.79 (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 100 meter Backstroke: Emily Seebohm – 58.23 seconds (2012 London)
  • 200 meter Backstroke: Missy Franklin – 2:04.06 (2012 London)
  • 100 meter Breaststroke: Lily King – 1:04.93 (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 200 meter Breaststroke: Rebecca Soni – 2:19.59 (2012 London)
  • 100 meter Butterfly: Sarah Sjöström – 5.48 seconds (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 200 meter Butterfly: Jiao Liuyang – 2:04.06 (2012 London)
  • 200 meter Individual Medley: Katinka Hosszú – 2.06.58 (2016 Rio de Janeiro)
  • 400 meter Individual Medley: Katinka Hosszú – 4.26.36 (2016 Rio de Janeiro)

You can see the female swimmers are clearly getting better and better every time the Summer Olympics comes around. With every record being set either at the 2012 or 2016 Games, except to see a flurry of records broken in 2021 in Tokyo.

Men’s Speed Skating (Winter)

When you look closely, you will notice that there must have been “something in the water” in Utah in 2002 because four of the six records were achieved during the Park City Games.

  • 500 meter: Case FitzRandolph – 34.42 seconds (2002 Salt Lake City)
  • 500 meter x 2: Case FitzRandolph – 1:09.23 seconds (2002 Salt Lake City)
  • 1,000 meter: Gerard van Velde – 1:07.18 (2002 Salt Lake City)
  • 1,500 meter: Derek Parra – 1:43.95 (2002 Salt Lake City)
  • 5,00 meter: Sven Kramer – 6:10.76 (2014 Sochi)
  • 10,000 meter: Jorrit Bergsma – 12:44.45 (2014 Sochi)

Women’s Speed Skating (Winter)

  • 500 meter: Lee Sang-hwa – 37.28 seconds (2014 Sochi)
  • 500 meter x 2: Lee Sang-hwa – 1:14.70 (2014 Sochi)
  • 1,000 meter: Chris Witty – 1:13.83 (2002 Park City)
  • 1,500 meter: Jorien ter Mors – 1:53.51 (2014 Sochi)
  • 3,00 meter: Claudia Pechstein – 3:57.70 (2002 Park City)
  • 5,000 meter: Claudia Pechstein – 6:46.91 (2002 Park City)

The Rest of the Best

We have showered you with a plethora of individual and career records at the Olympic Games. Those of you that love statistics and data will love this segment as well. We are going to talk about some of the “miscellaneous records” at the Olympics that were too incredible to pass up.

There are a handful of achievements that are so noteworthy, we felt like there needed to be a section specifically dedicated to these triumphs.

We mostly picked the ones that we felt are unlikely to be matched or broken in any upcoming Olympics. As you scan through all of the records above, you will notice that a large chunk of them have occurred in some of the more recent Olympic Games. The longer a record stands the test of time, the more unattainable it seems to be.

You will surely be impressed by the astounding things some of the finest Olympians have conquered.

Most Consecutive Appearances (Ian Miller – 10)

10 straight appearances at the Olympics. Each one 4 years apart.

Once you do the math, you realize that is a 40-year career dedicated to competing in your sport at the highest level. For equestrian Ian Millar, riding horses was all he knew. The Canadian native from Halifax was a competitor in every Summer Olympics from the 1972 Games in Munich, all the way through the 2012 London Games.

Believe it or not, it was actually an injury to Ian’s horse that prevented the streak from continuing to 11 at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The fact that athletes have to qualify to make the teams each Olympic Games makes 10 in a row quite astonishing. The competition is so fierce in every sport in each country, we wouldn’t be holding our breath for anyone to top Millar’s streak anytime soon.

Oldest Gold Medal Winner (Oscar Swahn – 64-years old)

It happened way back in 1912 at the Summer Games in Stockholm. Luckily for Swedish native Oscar Swahn, the festivities were taking place in his home country so he didn’t have to travel far. At 64-years old, Oscar captured the gold medal in the single shot running deer competition.

Not only does this record stand today, we have a difficult time imagining a 65-year old competitor winning a gold medal the way the Olympics are designed today.

The competition might just be a little too stiff for someone to come along and top this mark. Look for this record to stand forever, unless a new event or a senior division is implemented.

Youngest Gold Medal Winner (Majorie Gestring – 13-years old)

The 13-year old teenager from Los Angeles, California was part of the United States gold medal winning Women’s Diving team at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

We should also mentioned Kim Yun-Mi, another 13-year-old to win an Olympic gold medal. The South Korean native was victorious in the 3,000-meter relay during the 1994 Summer Olympic Games in Lillehammer.

It will be very tough for any 12-year old kid to come in and win a gold medal at any upcoming Olympic Games. While there is no official age limit required to compete in the Olympics, many of the sports have their own governing bodies that control this aspect.

For example, ever since 1997, a gymnast must be at least 16 in order to be part of an Olympic squad.

Paralympic Games Records

The Summer and Winter Olympic Games may get most of the glory and attention, but don’t be fooled. The greatest Paralympic competitors have accomplished some pretty incredible things themselves.

The men and women who have won the most gold medals (overall and in a single Paralympics) are without a doubt worthy of being discussed on a page dedicated to Olympic records.

Men’s – Most Gold Medals Won in a Career
NameGold MedalsSport
Michael Edgson18Swimming
Jonas Jacobsson17Shooting
Roberto Marson16Athletics, Fencing
Gerd Schoenfelder16Alpine Skiing
Mike Kenny16Swimming
Women’s – Most Gold Medals Won in a Career
NameGold MedalsSport
Trischa Zorn41Swimming
Ragnhild Myklebust22Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Sledge
Béatrice Hess20Swimming
Reinhild Moeller19Alpine Skiing, Athletics
Zipora Rubin-Rosenblaum15Athletics, Wheelchair Basketball, Table Tennis
Mayumi Narita15Swimming
Men’s – Most Gold Medals Won in a Single Paralympics
NameGold MedalsSportYear
Roberto Marson10Athletics, Fencing1968
John Morgan8Swimming1992
Bart Dodson8Athletics1992
Michael Edgson7Swimming1988
Knut Lundstroem7Multiple1988
Women’s – Most Gold Medals Won in a Single Paralympics
NameGold MedalsSportYear
Trischa Zorn12Swimming1988
Maria Scutti10Multiple1960
Jacqueline Freney8Swimming2012
Mayumi Narita7Swimming2004
Marijke Ruiter7Swimming1976
Elizabeth Scott7Swimming1992
Béatrice Hess7Swimming2000
Erin Popovich7Swimming2004

The Summary

If you are a current or an aspiring athlete, there’s no better place to show up with your best foot forward and have the race of a lifetime. Olympians strive to have their absolute “A Game” going when they arrive at an Olympic Games.

The amount of pressure on the athletes is astounding, but you would never know that if you checked out all the records and achievements listed in the sections above. This guide was meant to serve as your catalog for tracking down which Olympians have reached the highest heights.

These men and women have treated fans to the most breathtaking performances: not only in single events, but over the course of their Olympic careers. You know about Michael Phelps winning gold medal after gold medal in Beijing.

You can see that German speed skater Claudia Pechstein set world records in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter races in 2002 in Park City.

The fact of the matter is wherever you are during the Summer or Winter events, records are being set and broken over and over again. Don’t blink during the next Olympic Games or you might miss a whole crop of new data to update the archive books!