Top 10 countries to have won the most Olympic medals in history
These nations have triumphed the quadrennial event over the years.
The Olympic Games have evolved with time but the dominance of winning Olympics medals started in 1896 in Athens. The event has gone through several changes since then. A number of different sports have been added to the Games but the countries who started at the top have mostly remained at their place.
Winning a medal at such a big stage is a matter of honour for every sportsperson and if it’s gold then that person becomes a sporting hero for their country. Here, we a look at the top 10 countries to have won the most number of Olympic medals in history.
10. Sweden (495)
Sweden were one of the 14 nations who participated at the inaugural edition of the modern Olympics, in Athens, Greece back in 1896. The Nordic nation also hosted the Olympic Games back in 1912 when it was held in the capital city of Stockholm. They are currently occupying the 10th spot in the Olympic medals tally with 495 medals, with 147 gold.
9. Australia (497)
A proper multisport nation, Australia has been a major entity at the Olympics. The country has hosted the Olympic Games twice, once in 1956 in Melbourne while the second time was in 2000 in Sydney. The country have mustered a total of 497 Olympic medals ahead of the 2020 edition, out of which 147 are gold medals. Their most successful sport at the Olympics has mostly been swimming.
8. Hungary (498)
Just like Sweden – Hungary was also one of the nations which participated in the inaugural edition of the modern Olympics held in 1896. The central European nation are currently sitting at the eighth spot in the list of most medals won in history with 498 – 175 of which are gold. Their first-ever Olympics gold medal winner was Alfréd Hajós, who won it for both men’s 100m and 1200m freestyle.
7. China (546)
The Asian nation made their debut at the Summer Olympics in 1924. Since then, they have become one of the powerhouses at the Olympics. China have also hosted the event once in 2008 when the Olympics were held in the capital city of Beijing.
They are seventh in the ranking with 546 Olympic medals, 224 of them being Gold Medals. They have dominated the Olympics in multiple sports in recent years and are only looking to get better. Diving legend Wu Minxia is their highest medal winner with a tally of seven Olympics medals (5G, 1S, 1B).
6. Italy (578)
Another European nation who were part of the 1896 Athens Olympics, Italy have since developed much and are one of the most successful nations at the Summer Games. Occupying the sixth position at the rankings, the Italians have won 578 Olympic medals in total, out of which 207 are gold. Fencing has been their strongest event at the Olympics.
5. Great Britain (581)
One of the most dominant and versatile nations to feature at the Olympics, Great Britain have hosted the Summer Games thrice in 1908, 1948 and 2012 – all in London. They stand at the fifth position in the Olympic medal rankings with 581 medals. They have won 263 gold medals till now.
Bradley Wiggins have won eight Olympics medals, which is the highest (5 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) among the Britishers. However, Chris Hoy had won seven Olympic medals (6 gold, 1 silver) and is often called the most successful British athlete at the Olympics.
Great Britain are well spread out in almost every sport. However, cycling, athletics and sailing have been their strongest suits.
4. France (716)
Just like Australia, France have also hosted the prestigious event twice in the past. The first one was in 1900, which was held in Paris with 24 participating nations. The second time was also in the French capital city, back in 1924.
They are all set to host the Summer Games again in 2024. France are currently fourth in the Olympics medals tally with 716, winning 212 gold in the process. They have been the strongest at cycling and fencing.
3. Germany (1346)
Coming to the last three, Germany have time and again proven their credential in sports, especially with their determination and discipline. Germany have hosted the Olympic Games twice, once in 1936 in Berlin and in Munich in 1972. After combining the tally of all the participatory nations which now represent Germany, their medal tally stands at 1346.
Out of those 1346, a staggering 428 are the prestigious gold medals. The Germans are among the sporting powerhouses in the world but if one wants to choose, then canoeing, athletics and equestrian will be their strongest events among others.
2. Soviet Union (1566)
The Soviet Union, first participated in the Summer Games in 1952. Despite their success at the Olympics, they have only hosted the event once in 1980 in Moscow. Now broken away into several independent nations, the Soviet Union as a whole has mustered the second highest number of Olympic medals with 1556 medals.
They have won a whopping 590 gold medals. Legendary gymnast Larisa Latynina is the most successful Olympian in their history, winning 18 medals in total (9 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronze).
1. United States (2523)
The USA have been a sports giant since long. They have set very lofty standards for others to follow. The USA have hosted the Summer Games four times, which is the highest for any country. The first time it was held was in 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, followed by the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
In 1984 Los Angeles was again selected as the host city. The last time it was held in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996. The Americans have won the highest number of medals in the event’s history (2523), out of which 1022 are gold medals.
Legendary swimmer Michael Phelps with 28 Olympic medals (23 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) is the most successful sportsperson ever to grace the Olympics.