Olympic Athletes to Remember

Making the Olympics is no small feat. It takes years of training and sacrifice for Olympic athletes to participate at the highest level. However, among Olympians, there are those who take it to the next level. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the top Olympic athletes of all-time.

Michael Phelps

Arguably the greatest Olympic athlete ever is Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history. His impressive medal count includes a record of 23 gold medals with eight of them coming at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His medal collection started at the 2004 Athens summer Olympics with eight total medals and continued through the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with another five golds and one silver medal. Phelps is a world record holder in multiple swimming events and is considered the greatest swimmer of all-time.

Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens was a prolific track and field star, having won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He launched into stardom when he won gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters, long jump, and 4 x 100-meter relay events. Owens accomplished all this in the face of rampant racism towards African-Americans both in Germany and within his home country, the United States. In fact, despite the public’s excitement for his Olympic performance, his own president would not even shake his hand upon his homecoming. Despite his achievements, Owens would return home to work routine jobs just to make ends meet as opportunities were limited due to the color of his skin. Today, the Jesse Owens Award commemorates Owens and is awarded to the year’s best track and field athlete in the U.S. He is such a highly-esteemed athlete that ESPN and BBC named Owens as one of the top Olympians of the century.

Usain Bolt

Known as the fastest and one of the best Olympic athletes of all-time, Usain Bolt won eight Olympic track & field gold medals. Hailing from Jamaica, Bolt holds world records in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4 x 100 meters races and is the only person to have won both the 100 and 200 meter events in three straight Olympics. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Bolt set world records in both races, the first person to achieve the feat.

Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz became the first person to ever win seven gold medals in one Olympics when he achieved the feat in 1972 and set seven world records in the process by winning the 100/200 meter freestyle races, 100/200 butterfly races and three relays. Spitz’s record for gold medals stood for 36 years until Michael Phelps broke the mark with eight gold medals in 2008.

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Larisa Latynina

Larisa Latynina is a former Soviet artistic gymnast who competed in the Olympic games between 1956-1964. During that time period she won a total of 18 medals, including nine gold. Her gold medal count is the highest among all gymnasts to this day. Latynina came from humble beginnings and before becoming one of the top Olympic athletes, she battled poverty and endured World War II as a child. She also lost her parents at an early age. Her love for gymnastics started with her pursuit of ballet at eleven years old and continued until she became a gymnastics superstar.

Nikolay Andrianov

Another dominant Soviet gymnast, Nikolay Andrianov, holds an impressive 15 Olympic medals. He is third only to Michael Phelps and Larisa Latynina in the overall medal count, putting him in good company amongst the greatest modern Olympic athletes. Best known for his aggressive tumbles and high difficulty routines, Andrianov was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2001.

Dream Team

The 1992 Olympics marked the first time NBA players could compete. The USA compiled the greatest basketball team ever consisting of legends such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, John Stockton and other NBA superstars. Sports Illustrated referred to the lineup as the “Dream Team.” The famous Olympian Dream Team did not disappoint during their first Olympic appearance as they went undefeated in the tournament and blew out their opponents by an average point differential of 43.8 points per game.

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Carl Lewis

Winner of nine Olympic gold medals, Lewis was an American track and field sensation. As a dominant athlete, he held records in the 100 meters, 200 meters and long jump events from 1981 to the 1990s. In his first Olympic games in 1984, Lewis succeeded in emulating the legendary Jesse Owens in winning all four events he entered: 100 meter, 200 meter, 4 x 100 meter and long jump. He’d continued to participate in three more Olympic games after the 1984 Summer Games, winning gold medals in each long jump competition.

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Sports Speakers 360

Sports Speakers offers top Olympic athlete speakers for speaking engagements, product endorsements and athlete appearance events. Whether it’s for a sales meeting, fundraiser or corporate hospitality event, we can help you find Olympic speakers who will share their inspirational stories and engage with your audience.

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