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Olympic Games are the biggest international sporting event in the world. It is the platform, where thousands of athletes around the world use to perform. The athletes get the chance to transform their efforts and dexterity into medals. It brings a great honor for their respective countries. The Olympic athletes are the true representatives of their nations. The Olympic games are held every four years interval and 2016 summer Olympic games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Olympic games originated date back to the time frame of 8th century-4th century, in Olympia, Greece. Firstly, the game was held to show respect to the Greek God, Zeus. Over the centuries, the Olympic games have sustained much evolution and now in this modern versions athletes from more than 200 countries participate to exhibit their athletic talents. We have made some steps to enlist the all time greatest athletes in Olympics till now. All of the mentioned 10 are superior athletes as well as best in their part. They are the golden assets of Olympic history.
We found it very tough to find just 10 greatest athletes from from thousands of greats. The list is actually made considering the fact of winning most number of medals. You viewers are free to give us your valuable comment regarding the all time greatest athletes in Olympics.
Top 10 All time Greatest Athletes in Olympics
10. Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens is a former American track and field athlete. He is considered as the “greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history”. His remarkable achievement came at the 1935 Big Ten track, scoring three world record within 45 minutes. It is regarded as the “greatest 45 minutes ever in sports” by Sports Illustrated magazine. While at Ohio State University, Jesse Owens showed his amazing skills in track and fields. In 1936, he participated in the Olympic games which was officially opened by German chancellor, Adolf Hitler at Berlin. Owens achieved 4 gold medals in that Olympics and enlisted top of the medal-table. In 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony, a footage of Owens running around the field was shown in the giant video screen as one of the most attractive scenes.
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9. Usain Bolt
The Jamaican speed star, Usain Bolt is widely regarded as the fastest man in Olympic history. The “lightning Bolt” has built an amazing world record in 100 meters sprint within 9.58 seconds in Berlin 2009. The sprinter started participating in Olympics from 2008. Usain Bolt won 3 gold medals in Beijing Olympic games 2009 and also won another 3 gold in 2012 London Olympics. He is equally successful in world championships winning 8 gold medals and 2 silver medals. He is also one of the highest paid athletes in the world . Ranking at no. 9 of all-time greatest athletes in Olympics, Usain Bolt was named IAAF World Athlete of the Year for a record five times.
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8. Nadia Comaneci
Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci is one of the most perfect gymnasts of all-time. she first appeared in 1976 Montreal Olympic at the age of just 14, creating a gymnastic world record by scoring a perfect 10. It is surprising to note that the record of perfect 10 was thought to achieve impossible by the Olympic authority. Nadia won 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 1 Bronze in her maiden Olympic games.
The Romanian wonder girl made her bold appearance in 1980 Moscow Olympics, winning 2 gold medals and 2 silver medals. In addition, she also achieved 9 gold medals in European Gymnastic Championship. She ranks at no. 8 in our list of top 10 all time greatest athletes in Olympics. She has become an idol in world gymnastics.
7. Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe is one of the most greatest and most versatile players in the world. he not only succeeded in American baseball and football but also achieved the peak in various events in Olympic games. According to ABC news, Thorpe was voted for the “Greatest Athlete of 20th century” along with Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth and Mohammad Ali for his amazing sporting skills. The legendary athlete participated in 1912 summer Olympic games in Sweden and won 2 gold medals for decathlon and pentathlon. He was literally the most skillful contender in every sports. The multi-talented also achieved the championship in 1912 intercollegiate ballroom dancing. His name was inducted in the Hall of Fame for many sports. Jim Thorpe is spotted at no. 7 in our list of top 10 all time greatest athletes in Olympics. Considering his outstanding sporting performance, Disney mentioned him twice in their films “ World’s greatest Athletes” in 1973. He is an unmatched hero in the history of American sports.
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6. Paavo Nurmi
Paavo Nurmi is a former Finnish middle and long-distance runner. He is widely considered as the best long-distance runner of all-time. He was nicknamed as “Flying Finn” for his sole dominance in distance running in early 20th century. Paavo Nurmi was holding a record of being undefeated in consecutive 121 races at 800 meters and above running events. In 1920 Antwerp summer Olympics, he won 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal. The following Olympic in 1924,Paris, in his 2nd appearance, Paavo won 5 gold medals in distant running events. In 1928, at Amsterdam Olympic, he again achieved a gold medal and 2 silver medals, marking his name as one of the all-time greatest athletes in Olympics. Paavo Nurmi lighted the Olympic torch in 1952 Helsinki summer Olympics. He is considered as a prominent athlete in track and field history.
5. Mark Spitz
The former American swimmer Mark Spitz is a best known for his remarkable achievement in Olympic games. He built world record in all seven events he competed in Olympics. Mark Spitz established himself as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history for long 36 years until his records were surpassed by Michael Phelps in 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Mark Spitz won 2 gold medals, a silver medals and a bronze medal. He again achieved 7 gold medals at 1972 Munich Olympics, which was regarded as the best ever performance by any athlete in the history of Olympic games.
Spitz was inducted in the international swimming Hall of Fame in 1977. He was equally competitive in international swimming competitions as he achieved 31 United States Amateur Athletic Union titles, 5 Pan American Gold medals and many more. This world class athlete was the reigning king in world swimming during his time.
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4. Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis is a former American track and field super star and many world record holder. His indoor long jump record has still remained unbeaten since 1984. Carl Lewis was a remarkable athlete who achieved below 10 seconds mark 15 times in 100 meters, and 20 seconds mark 10 times in 200 meters sporting events. He achieved 10 gold medals in his four consecutive Olympic appearances. He also won 8 gold medals and a silver medals in world championship. Carl Lewis was voted “The Sportsman of the Century” by IOC (International Olympic Committee). He was also named as “The Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated magazine. Carl Lewis has been selected for the no. 4 place in our list of top 10 all time greatest athletes in Olympics. He is indeed a phenomenal athlete, who has reached the peak of his success.
3. Nikolai Andrianov
Former Soviet gymnast Nikolai Andrianov is probably the best male gymnast of all-time. He achieved a total 15 Olympic medals which established himself as the 3rd highest Olympic medal achiever in the history. He is still the most individual Olympic medal achiever in Artistic Gymnastics. He started his Olympic campaign in 1972 Munich Olympic, where he won a gold medal, a silver and a bronze. In 1976 Montreal Olympic, he attained the peak of his success, winning 4 gold medals, 2 silver medals and a bronze medal. Nikolai again won 2 gold medals, 2 silver medals and a bronze medal in the next 1980 Moscow Olympic games. He is a stunning athlete with limitless determination. He was equally successful in world championships as he won 4 gold medals and 6 silver medals there. He stands at no. 3 in our list of top 10 all time greatest athletes in Olympics.
2. Larisa Latynina
Another Soviet legendary gymnast Larisa Latynina is famous and widely regarded as the best gymnast of all-time. she contributed at her best to establish the Soviet dominance in Olympic gymnastics. Larisa ended her successful career winning 18 medals in Olympic games, which include the undefeated 14 medals in the individual event of gymnastics. She won 4 gold medals in 1956 Melbourne Olympics, 3 gold medals in 1960 Rome Olympics and 2 gold medals in 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The golden girl also won 9 gold medals, 4 silver medals and a bronze medal in world gymnastic championship. She is the pioneer of artistic gymnastics and ranks at 2nd spot in the list of top 10 all time greatest athletes in Olympics.
1. Michael Phelps
Here he comes, Michael Phelps, the American swimmer, the no 1 in our list. Considering the achievements in Olympics, Michael Phelps is the all time greatest athlete in the history of Olympic. He was nicknamed as “The Flying Fish” for his incredible ability to cut through the water.
The legendary American swimmer Mark Spitz once said about Michael Phelps,
” It is apparent that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and greatest Olympian of all time, he may be the greatest athlete of all time.”
Michael Phelps has won the highest number of medals in the history of Olympics with 22 medals. He began his triumph at 2004 Athens summer Olympics, where he won 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals and set 2 world records. Then he achieved 8 gold medals and made a world record in all events he participated other than 100 meters butterfly in 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2012 London Olympics, he again showed his proficiency by winning 4 gold medals and 2 silver medals. He is an American sensation, who achieved the greatness within a very short time and put himself at the apex of success. He was awarded the “The World Swimmer of the Year” for a record seven times by swimming World Magazine. Everyone’s eye will be upon him in this coming Rio Olympic 2016. The American glory will shine once again by Michael Phelps, the all time greatest athlete in Olympics.