Picture by 2017 Getty Images

Olympic records: From most successful to the youngest medallists - who’s who

Who is the most decorated Olympian of all time? Who has made the most Olympic appearances? All your questions answered.
By Rahul Venkat

After a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics showcased the world’s best athletes putting on a spectacle - with several records falling and personal bests set.

As another edition of the Summer Games came to an end, let’s have a look at some Olympic records.

Most number of Olympic medals won

Legendary former American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most successful male Olympian of all time with 28 Olympic medals. Incredibly, 23 of them are gold medals, which is also the record for most Olympic golds won by a male athlete.

Among the women, former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, with 18 Olympic medals, is the most successful female Olympian. Nine of those were gold, a record for most golds by a female athlete at the Olympics.

Among countries, the United States of America leads the way, having won 2,522 Olympic medals over the years, 1,022 of which were gold - also the most won by a single nation.

Most gold medals won in a single Olympics

Michael Phelps’s record of eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics - he won gold in every event he took part in - stands as the record for most Olympic golds won in a single edition of the Summer Games.

German swimmer Kristin Otto leads the way among the women, having won six gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The USA lead the way once again among nations, with American athletes having won a record 83 gold medals at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at Beijing 2008 - the most in a single Olympics.
Picture by 2008 Getty Images

Most consecutive Olympic gold medals in same event

Americans Carl Lewis (long jump), Alfred Oerter (discus throw) and Denmark’s Paul Elvstrom (sailing) have all won gold medals in four consecutive Olympic Games and are tied for the top spot among male athletes.

Japanese wrestler Kaori Icho, with four consecutive golds, leads the way among female athletes.

In team events, Hungarian fencer Aladar Gerevich has won six consecutive Olympic golds as part of the male sabre team while American basketball player Lisa Leslie has been part of four consecutive Olympic gold-winning women’s teams.

Youngest Olympic medallist

Denmark’s Inge Sorensen is the youngest female athlete to win an individual Olympic medal. Sorensen won bronze in the 200m breaststroke at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when she was 12 years and 24 days old.

Her compatriot Nils Skoglund became the youngest male athlete to win an individual Olympic medal when he took silver in the plain high diving event at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. He was 14 years and 11 days old.

In team events, Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras is the youngest male to win an Olympic medal as he was part of the bronze-winning parallel bars team at the 1896 Olympics. He was 10 years and 218 days old.

Italian Luigina Giavotti, at 11 years and 302 days, is the youngest female member of a team to win an Olympic medal. She won silver as part of the women’s gymnastics team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Youngest Olympic gold-medallists

USA’s Marjorie Gestring is the youngest individual Olympic champion. She won the 3m springboard event at the 1936 Berlin Olympics when she was aged 13 years and 268 days.

Japanese swimmer Kusuo Kitamura, at 14 years and 309 days, is the youngest individual male Olympic champion, having won the 1500m freestyle gold at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

Oldest Olympic champions

Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn won the Olympic gold in the 100m running deer double shots team event at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. He was aged 72 years and 279 days.

Eliza Pollock of the USA is the oldest female athlete to win Olympic gold. She was 63 years and 331 days old when she won the archery competition at the 1904 Olympics.

Most appearances at the Olympics

Having participated in 10 Olympic Games from 1972 to 2012, Canadian equestrian rider Ian Millar is the man with the most Olympic appearances to date. He won one Olympic silver medal.

German-Italian canoer Josefa Idem-Guerrini took part in eight Olympics from 1984 to 2008, which is the most Olympic appearances by a female athlete. She won one gold, two silvers and one bronze medal across eight Olympics.