Top 10 Most Winning Countries in the Olympics ever
I don’t know about you, but for me, the Olympics get better every year. Started in 1896, this international gathering is commonly referred to as the world’s premiere sports competition. Now split and alternating between both Summer and Winter Olympic events, it includes more than 200 nations around the world.
So who are the top competing countries of all time? I did a little research to bring you the top ten winners in Olympic History.
#1 United States of America (2,652 medals)
At the top of the list is the USA, with a staggering 2,652 Olympic medals. 2,399 of those medals were achieved in the Summer Games, dominating mostly in Track and Field and Swimming. The United States has won more gold medals than any other country in the history of the Games, with Michael Phelps holding the all-time record for the most Olympic medals by a single athlete (22 medals, of which 18 are gold). It’s also interesting to note that the USA is the second highest ranking medal-holder in the Winter Olympics, after Norway.
#2 Soviet Union (1,204 medals)
What makes the Soviet Union a phenomenal competitor, is A) this country comes in second in overall medals won, and; B) they have only competed in eighteen Olympic Games total! The Soviet Union has consistently shown their prowess in the Olympics by capturing more medals than any other country in seven of the nine Summer Games they have attended. They placed second in the other two! Russians made their mark in many arenas—but two of the most famous have been Gymnastics and Greco-Roman Wrestling. Totals for the Soviet Union include 1,010 Summer Games medals and 194 medals from the Winter Games.
#3 Great Britain (802 medals)
One of the original 14 teams to compete in the first Olympic Games in 1896, Great Britain is one of only three countries that have competed in every Summer and Winter Games since its inception. They also happen to be the only team in history that has won a gold metal at every single Summer Games. Their medal count consists of 780 Summer Games and 22 from the Winter Games.
#4 France (765 medals)
France has been the host for the Olympics on five different occasions, two Summer Games and three Winter Games. Their top medal-yielding sports have consistently been Fencing and Cycling. Fun fact: During the 1904 Olympics in Paris, champions were awarded with paintings instead of medals! The country has won 672 medals at the Summer Games and another 94 during the Winter Games.
#5 Germany (763 medals)
Germany has been host of three Olympic Games, including both the Summer and Winter Games of 1936. Because of the World Wars, Germany was banned from participating in 1920, 1924 and 1948—while the 1940 Olympics was also cancelled due to war. From 1968 to 1988, Germany was divided into two states, East and West. German Athletes have, in fact, won a total of 1,618 medals, but these results were split by the International Olympic Committee. Germany has won 573 medals from Summer Games and 190 from Winter Game events.
#6 Italy (656 medals)
With 550 medals won in the Summer Games and another 106 during the Winter Games, Italy is the sixth most successful country in Olympic history. It is the fifth most successful country, however, in gold medal victories—with 199 wins in the Summer Games and 37 wins during the Winter Olympics.
#7 Sweden (612 medals)
The first twins to ever win Olympic medals were from Sweden. Gustaf Vilhelm Carlberg and Gustaf Eric Carlberg were from Stockholm and won the 30 meter Dueling Pistol event in 1912. Sweden has won 483 Summer Games medals and 129 medals from the Winter Games.
#8 East Germany/GDR (519 medals)
The German Democratic Republic (GDR) broke off to form their own Olympic Committee in 1951. This was one of three Olympic Committees in Germany, but wasn’t recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for more than a decade. Though GDR ceased to exist in 1989, they had secured 409 medals from the Summer Games and 110 medals during the Winter Olympics.
#9 China (517 medals)
The People’s Republic of China has competed since 1952, quickly rising in the ranks of Gymnastics, Swimming and Diving. They also continue to dominate the world in Table Tennis—capturing all four golds for the fourth time. China holds 473 medals from the Summer Games and 44 medals from the Winter Games.
#10 Russia (490 medals)
Coming in at number 10, Russia has gone through some serious contortions: the Russian revolution, the Soviet Union, and then the dissolving of the Union in 1991. Athletes did join with the Unified Team in 1992, but chose to appear once again as Russia in 1994. We couldn’t be happier. Russia will also host the 2014 Winter Olympics, which can boast 399 medals from Summer Games and an impressive 91 medals during the Winter Games.
…and those are your top competing countries in Olympic history.
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