The Soviet Union** was the second most successful summer Olympic team in history, winning 440 gold medals and more over 1,100 total medals in ten Olympic Games between 1952 and 1992. The United States is a close third with 396 gold medals and more than 930 total medals.
Canada's gold medal count includes three metals won before Canada became a country: British Columbia awarded its first gold medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics when it hosted that event. Alberta followed suit four years later at the New York World's Fair. And Pierre de Coubertin, the father of modern-day sportsmanship, received his own gold medal for creating tennis. .
Soviet leader Josef Stalin had a fear of flying, which may have been why he rarely attended any games as president of the USSR from 1953 to 1991. He did, however, have some influence on how the nation was represented at the Olympics. For example, he ordered that no flags be flown at the Moscow Games because they were not communist countries. The decision was made after the US and UK refused to travel to Moscow due to the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and the Suez Crisis in Egypt in 1955, respectively.
However, Stalin did go to Athens in 1960 and Mexico City in 1968. Both countries displayed their support for the USSR by wearing red shirts during those events.
The former Soviet Union The Soviet Union earned the most gold medals and the most total medals. It also had the highest percentage of its athletes win at least one medal: 77 percent. Russia came in a close second with 75 percent of its athletes returning home with at least one prize.
Australia was third with 70 percent of its athletes able to return home with at least one medal. Canada, Germany, and France rounded out the top five.
In fact, seven countries earned 50 percent or more of their athletes a trip back home with a medal. These countries are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Hungary.
On the other hand, only three countries earned 0 percent of their athletes a trip home with a medal. These countries are Algeria, Iraq, and Nigeria. In fact, no African nation made the top 10.
Algeria, Iraq, and Nigeria did not have enough athletes to qualify for a medal table. All three countries participated in the 1972 Games under the name United Arab Republic.
This is an incomplete list of numerous Olympic gold medalists, which includes those who have won four or more gold medals at the Olympics. Medals earned in the intercalated games in 1906 are not listed.
Currently, the United States maintains its position as the top performer in the Olympics, having won the most medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics (121 total; 46 gold). China (70) and the United Kingdom (67) earned the second and third most medals in the Rio Olympics.
All record-holders have competed at the Summer Games rather than the Winter Games. This list currently includes all Olympians with three or more gold medals won as individuals (not as part of a team of two or more). A, b, c, d Coubertin, Pierre de; Timoleon J. Philimon; N. G. Politis; Ch. Anninos (1897). The Complete Book of the Olympics: From the Ancient Games through 2012. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc. (2012). P. 489.
Of the 28 Olympic winners who have gone on to win additional gold medals at the Games they have already won, 12 have done so while still competing in their winning position. The remaining 16 post-winners had retired from competition before going on to win further gold medals.
The most successful Olympian to date is Michael Phelps, who has won eight gold medals. He is followed by Carl Lewis and Roger Bannister with seven each.
The eight countries with the most summer Olympics medals are as follows:
The German team finished second overall with 24 medals. Australia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan all earned their first Winter Olympics medals. Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan all earned their first Winter Olympic gold medals.
Number two in the world is Sweden with 55 World Championship titles. Germany has 54 titles. In third place are Italy with 9 titles. Canada has 8 titles. United States has 7 titles. Japan has 6 titles. Switzerland has 5 titles. France has 4 titles. South Korea has 3 titles.
Number four is Finland with 2 titles. Number five is China with 1 title. Number six is India with no medals at this time.
Number seven is Chile with no medals. Ireland had one silver and one bronze medal. Mexico had one silver and one bronze medal. New Zealand had one silver medal. Norway had one gold, one silver, and one bronze medal.
Number eight is Austria with no medals. Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Libya, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Tunisia, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia all had at least one athlete finish outside the top 8 but won at least one medal.
Number nine is Armenia with no medals.