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Greatest Athletes in Olympics History

Sun 18 July 2021 | 7:30

As one of the most popular tournaments, the Olympics has a lot to it during its long past. In the article, we will talk about the greatest athletes in Olympic history. So, if you are a sports fan, join us till the end to get your favorite sport is amongst the legendary Olympic athletes or not.

Before going through the list of multiple Olympic medalists, let's say up in advance that it seems absurd to compare various sports, different ears, and Olympic athletes and arrange them in an orderly list, numbered from ten to one. Based on one group's viewpoint, the list is pointless though it can be a way to recall the heroes who have appeared brilliantly in Olympics since its beginning time. 

Since the beginning of the Olympics, there has been a wide range of athletes who have made their marks. Through doing their best, they have aroused much admiration, which has led them to become a myth amongst their sports fans across the world.

The Olympic history is full of the athletes' names who could succeed enormous odds to achieve gold medals. Also, by reviewing its past, we will confront some others whose notable and unforgettable performances within the tournament had earned them many honors within their career history. 

In today's article, we have presented a list of the 10 greatest athletes in Summer Olympics history, but before, it is better to take a look at a note. Throughout the Olympics, which has lasted more than 100 years, and over tens of thousands of players, there have undoubtedly many astonishing players.

Prioritizing the names and ranking them in a list is so difficult. Lack of any particular measures has earned many lists with various names in different orders, which in each one there might be some missed or forgotten athletes' names. However, through the following list, our team in Sportmob has tried to provide a complete one which covers the most famous Olympic athletes of all time. 

A List of the Greatest Athletes in Olympics History

As we mentioned earlier, through the following article, we have ranked 

legendary Olympic Athletes of all time

, though most believe that comparing and listing a wide array of sports is a bit strange. Anyway, stay with us and let's try. 

Florence Griffith-Joyner

  • Age: Died

  • Nationality: American

  • Sport: Track and Field

We have started the list of the 

greatest athletes in Olympic history

 with an American track and field athlete, Florence Griffith-Joyner. Born in 1959 and died in 1998, Griffith-Joyner is the fastest woman of all time. In 1988, she set world records for 100 m and 200 m, which after passing 32 years they still stand. Griffith-Joyner's outstanding record-setting athleticism and diverse personal style in the late 1980s made her a popular character.

Despite being qualified for the 100 m in the 1980 Olympics, appearing in the U. S. boycott did not let Griffith-Joyner compete. In 1984, Griffith-Joyner made her debut in the tournament and won a silver medal in the 200 m distance in the 1988 Olympics. Griffith-Joyner got married to Al Joyner, the Olympic triple jump champion, and in 1990 became the mother of a girl, Mary Ruth Joyner. 

However, Griffith-Joyner's fame and ability were not related only to running prowess, but she was famous for her bright fashion choices. One of the cases was her appearance at the World Championships in 1987 in Rome while she had worn a hooded speed skating body suit. 

In 1989, when Griffith-Joyner was 30 years old, she abruptly announced her retirement from athletics and appeared through advertisement deals, acting, and designing. Unfortunately, Griffith-Joyner, a pop-culture figure, died due to an epileptic seizure in 1998 while she had slept. Now, do you agree with her name amongst the greatest athletes in Olympic history?

Nadia Comaneci

  • Age: 59

  • Nationality: American- Romanian

  • Sport: Gymnastics

One of the other greatest athletes in Olympic history is Nadia Comaneci, an English-Romanian retired gymnast. Through performing extraordinarily during her brilliant career history, Comaneci became a five-time Olympic gold medalist, which all of them were in individual events.

Comaneci took part in the Olympic Games in 1976 when she was only 14, which made her the first gymnast awarded a perfect score of 10.0. Additionally, Comaneci gained six more perfect 10s for events en route that led her to win three gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

She continued the way, and within the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, achieved two more other gold medals and succeeded in two other perfect 10s. As one of the world's best-known gymnasts, Comaneci recorded nine Olympic medals and four World Artistic Gymnastics Championship medals in her career history.

By 2000, Laureus World Sports Academy, an annual award ceremony honoring individuals and teams, named Comanecias one of the Athletes of the 20th Century. What had made differences between Nadia and others is perfection, and it is why her name is amongst the 

most famous Olympic athletes of all time

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

  • Age: 59

  • Nationality: American

  • Sport: Track

The name of a retired American track and field athlete, Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee, has allocated one place among the top 10 all-time greatest athletes in Olympics to herself. Joyner-Kersee is also one of the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon, a track and field combined events contest containing seven ones and long jump, an event combination of speed, strength, and agility to leap from a take-off point.

Appearing at these two events at four different Olympic Games, Joyner-Kersee achieved three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals. Being on the Board of Directors for the USA Track and Field, in short (U. S. A. T. F.), Joyner-Kersee is the character that Sports Illustrated dor Women magazine voted her the Greatest Female Athlete of All Time. 

As well as prominent appearance in sports, Joyner-Kersee is so active in philanthropist affairs. She is a humanitarian in children's education, racial equality, and women's rights. Joyner-Kersee has also founded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation to encourage youngsters in East St. Louis to continue athletics and academics. Besides the mentioned items, which depict how motivated she is, Joyner-Kersee has one other outstanding feature, overcoming severe asthma.

Paavo Nurmi

  • Age: Died (aged 76)

  • Nationality: Finnish

  • Sport: Track

The next place on the list of the 

greatest athletes in Olympic history

 relates to a middle-distance and long-distance runner from Finland, Paavo Johannes Nurmi. Following his domination of distance running in the early 20th, Nurmi became famous as "Flying Finn" or "Phantom Finn."

His career history holds 22 official world records at distances between 1500 metres and 20 kilometers. Nurmi is also the winner of twelve medals in his twelve events in the Summer Olympic Games, of which nine out of nine are gold, and the three remaining ones are silver.

One of the reasons that his name has remained amongst the top ones even after 48 years after his death is his 121 races on distance from 800 m upwards, which were undefeated. However, it was not the only case. Within his career that lasted 14 years, no one could beat him in cross country events and the 10000 m. 

Having struggled with his injuries and motivation matters after his exhaustive U.S. tour in 1925, Nurmi confronted Ville Ritola and Edvin Wide as his long-term competitors' more serious challengers.

Throughout the 1928 Summer Olympics, Nurmi could achieve the 10000 m title though he was unsuccessful in winning the gold in the 5000 m and the 3000 m steeplechase. Afterward, longer distances came to his attention, and Nurmi could break the world records for events, including the 25-mile marathon and one-hour run. 

Mark Spitz

  • Age: 71

  • Nationality: American

  • Sport: Swimming

We have allocated the following part to Mark Andrew Spitz, as one of the other greatest athletes in Olympic history. Born in 1950 in Modesto, California, Spitz is a former competitive swimmer who became Olympic champion nine times. 

Having appeared at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Spitz became the most successful athlete and won seven gold medals. Spitz was the record holder for 36 years till American Michael Phelps, the owner of eight golds at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, surpassed him. 

Taking a look at his career history will reveal that from 1968 to 1972, Spitz gained nine Olympic golds, one silver, and a bronze. Additionally, he won five Pan American golds, 31 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) titles, and eight National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Meanwhile, he held 35 world records that two of which were trial and unofficial. Spitz, the third athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, got the World Swimmer of the Year's title in three years, 19769, 1971, and 1972 from Swimming World Magazine. 

Carl Lewis

  • Age: 60

  • Nationality: American

  • Sport: Track

Fredrick Carlton Lewis, an American former track and field athlete, has allocated one place among the 

top 10 all-time greatest athletes in Olympics

 to himself. Throughout the brilliant period of his career, Lewis achieved nine Olympic gold and one Olympic silver medal.

Additionally, he won 10 World Championships medals, of which eight were gold. Lewis, whose career spanned for 17 years, from 1979 to 1996, ended it by winning an Olympic event. There are only three Olympic athletes who have recorded in their career history one gold medal in the individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games, which Lewis is one of them.

From 1981 to the early 1990s, Lewis had made himself a dominant sprinter and long jumper frequently who excelled in the world rankings in the 100 m, 200 m, and long jump events. No one had been able to break his record of 65 consecutive victories in the long jump during ten years. 

The famous athlete appeared as an actor after his retirement as an athlete and played in many films. Also, his effort in participating in political affairs, running for a seat as a Democrat in the New Jersey Senate is commendable. However, his state residency requirement removed him from the ballot. The active former athlete currently owns a marketing and branding company. 

Usain Bolt

  • Age: 34

  • Nationality: Jamaican

  • Sport: Track

The following part is about a retired Jamaican sprinter, Usain St Leo Bolt, whose performance earned him the greatest sprinter of all time's title. Bolt is a record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres, and 4 * 100 metres relay across the sports world.

The owner of eight-time Olympic gold medals won Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles within Olympics in 2008, 2012, and 2016, which made him the only sprinter who could do at three consecutive Olympics. One of his other achievements, which doubled his fame, was his double sprint winnings at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Afterward, he was the first athlete to hold the records since automatic time became compulsory.  

In addition to becoming World Champion eleven times, between 2009 and 2015, Bolt obtained consecutive World Championship 100 m, 200 m, and 4 * 100 metres relay gold medals. However, in 2011, he did not have a 100 m start as successful as the others.

Being regarded as the most successful male athlete of the World Championships, Bolt's career history is full of outstanding achievements, including the first winner of World Championship titles in the 200 m four times. They were the reasons, which have deserved Blt to be one of the 

greatest athletes in Olympic history

Larisa Latynina

  • Age: 86

  • Nationality: Soviet

  • Sport: Gymnastics

The list of the 

10 greatest athletes in Summer Olympics history

 contains a former Soviet artistic gymnast's name, who is now about 86, Larisa Semyonovna Latynina. Latynina appeared for the first time at the tournament at the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956, in which she tried a lot to win gold.

Latynina also had a very successful appearance at the World Championship in 1958 while four-month pregnant and won five out of six titles and medals in every event. She is the gymnast who could record 14 individual Olympic medals and four team ones in her career history between the years 1956 to 1964.

Though 55 have passed from Latynina's retirement, her nine medals led her to remain the record holder of owning the most Olympic gold ones by a gymnast amongst male and female athletes until now.

During the 48 years of her career, Latynina won 18 Olympic medals, which earned her another record. One of her other records refers to her 14 individual event medals during 52 years.

Michael Phelps

  • Age: 36

  • Nationality: American

  • Sport: Swimming

The 36-year-old American former competitive swimmer, Michael Fred Phelps II, is one of the other members amongst the greatest athletes in Olympic history. Being regarded as one of the most decorated Olympians of all time, Phelps gained a total of 28 medals during his brilliant career history.

However, he is a record holder in various other items, including the all-time records for Olympian gold medals 23 times, Olympic gold medals, and Olympic medals in individual events, respectively 13 and 16 times.

Having won the eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps surpassed Mark Spitz's 1972 record, the famous American swimmer, who had owned seven first-place finished at any single Olympic Games.

Later, at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, earning six gold and two bronze medals led him to tie the record of eight ones of any color that he won at a single Games.

Following participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Phelps won four gold and two silver medals at the first tournament and five gold and one silver at the second one. These achievements caused Phelps to become the most successful athlete of the Games for the fourth Olympics in a row. 

Jesse Owens

  • Age: Died (Aged 66)

  • Nationality: American

  • Sport: Track

The first place on the list of the greatest athletes in Olympic history relates to an American track and field athlete who won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games. Sprints and the long jump were the fields that Owens was professional at them, and his extraordinary performance in them earned him the title of "perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history."

One of the most noticeable and unforgettable days during his career history is at the 1935 Big Ten track meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Setting three world records and tiding another in less than an hour was the unique record that changed the 45 minutes to the greatest ones ever in the sport and a feat that no one has been able to equalize. 

A year later, his four gold medals at 100 meters, long jump, 200 meters, and 4* 100-meter relay at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, earned him an international reputation.

Owens, the black man who was the most successful athlete at the Games, got the credit of "single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy." There is no wonder why the owner of USA Track and Field's highest accolade for the best athlete at the field and the one ESPN ranked as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the 20th century is amongst our list.

As you read through the article, we covered the

 list of multiple Olympic medalists

 during its long history. If you have any comments regarding the topic, we welcome them.

 

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