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Winning the Olympic Games has always been an honor. And all this applies to one-time champions, and what can we say about multiple champions.
In the modern history of the Olympics, there were 418 athletes who won at least three times. 167 people became four-time champions, 63 athletes won the Olympics 5 times. 6 times gold was awarded to 30 people, 7 times - 16. 11 athletes can be called eight-time champions, and 5 - nine-time. We will tell below about the most titled Olympians who went down in the history of these sporting events.
Michael Phelps (born 1985). This athlete is the only one who has overcome the bar of 10 gold medals. Today, the American has already won 14 gold awards. Michael was born in Baltimore, and he went swimming, just to improve his poor health. However, it turned out that he had excellent physical characteristics. Michael is an excellent freestyle and butterfly swimmer, a little worse for breaststroke and backstroke. And complex swimming is within the power of an athlete. Already at the age of 15, Phelps made his debut at the Olympics. It happened in Sydney. Then the athlete became the youngest American swimmer in the last 68 years. However, then he was able to achieve only fifth place. After 4 years in Athens, Phelps won 8 medals - 6 gold and 2 bronze. Such a number of awards at one Olympics was a repetition of the record of the Soviet athlete Dityatin in 1980. In 2008, Phelps performed even more phenomenal - he won 8 gold medals, winning all distances where he started. This made the American swimmer the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics. Today, Phelps has not only 16 Olympic medals, but also 37 set world records. The swimmer won the championship of his country 50 times, he became the world champion more than 30 times. Phelps is a legend in modern sports. He takes part in advertising campaigns, sponsors shower him with money. Phelps earns over one hundred million dollars a year.
Larisa Latynina (born 1934). The legendary sportswoman was born in Kherson. She initially studied choreography, moving on to gymnastics in the fifth grade. In 1950, Larisa got to the first major competitions. As part of the Ukrainian school team, she attended the national championship in Kazan. But those performances did not work out for her. But the failure only spurred the athlete. She started to train 2 times a day. In 1954, Latynina entered the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, continuing to perform at major competitions. At the same time, the gymnast as part of the USSR national team attended the World Championships in Rome. There she performed unevenly, but was able to win the team gold. But experts noted a talented athlete. Latynina's finest hour came at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. There she won 4 gold, silver and bronze, becoming the absolute champion. In July 1958, Latynina performed brilliantly at the World Championships, and in fact she was in her fifth month of pregnancy! It was believed that after the birth of a child, Larisa would no longer be able to return to big sports. However, Latynina went to the Olympics in Rome as one of the favorites. Her main rival was her friend on the national team - Polina Astakhova. In Rome, Latynina was able to win three gold, two silver and bronze. At the next Olympics, in Tokyo in 1964, the Soviet gymnast proved her high class. The captain of the gymnastics team won two more golds, two silvers and two bronzes. In total, Larisa Latynina has 18 Olympic medals. After that, for 10 years she was the head coach of the national team, was a member of the Organizing Committee of the 1980 Olympics, and was engaged in the development of gymnastics in Moscow.
Paavo Nurmi (1897-1973). This Finn has won the most Olympic medals in athletics history. He was born into the family of a poor farmer. As a child, Paavo watched the training of the athletes of the local athletics club. Already at the age of 9, Nurmi won his first race among his peers. Then the observers noted that the young athlete is distinguished by endurance and will to win. But with the death of his father, Paavo gave up playing sports, taking a job as a weaver. In 1912, at the Stockholm Olympics, the Finn Kolehmainen won three gold medals. This spurred interest in athletics in the country. At 16, Nurmi won the first official competition, running 3000 meters in 10 minutes 6 seconds. Finn served in the army, where he continued to train hard. At the Olympics in Antwerp in 1920, the 5 km race was lost due to inexperience only at the finish line. Then 3 golds were mined in the 10 km race, individual and team 8 km cross country. Nurmi set 24 new world records between the Olympics. In Paris in 1924, the athlete won 5 gold medals. After that, he toured the United States for five months. Nurmi lost only two of 55 starts. At the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, Paavo won another gold and two silver. The athlete realized that he was getting old, but found the strength to prepare for the 1932 Olympics. However, the IOC dismissed the Finnish runner after it was proven that he earns money by running as a professional. During the life of Nurmi, a monument was erected in his country; he carried the Olympic torch in Helsinki in 1952. In total, the athlete's piggy bank contains 9 gold and 3 silver Olympic medals.
Mark Spitz (born 1950). For a long time, this American swimmer was considered the best in the history of water sports. After all, he was able to win 9 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals. The legendary athlete, according to his coach, possessed not only natural talent, but also phenomenal suspiciousness, suspiciousness and cowardice. Spitz was born into an ordinary Jewish family. When he was 2 years old, the family moved to Hawaii. There, the child fell in love with water, literally without leaving it. At the age of 15, Spitz won 4 gold at the Maccabian Games in Israel. In 1968, Spitz was considered one of the top favorites. But excessive suspiciousness, a change of coach allowed him to win "only" two gold, silver and bronze. But in 1972 in Munich, Spitz burst into sports history. He immediately won 7 gold medals. Moreover, each of his victories was accompanied by a world record. But unexpectedly for everyone, the athlete ended his career. The reason lay in the terrorist attack at that Olympics. The legendary athlete then tried himself in films and on television, but the playboy's appearance did not help him achieve success there. Spitz does not evoke sympathy, he is insecure in front of cameras, does not like to look into the eyes of the interlocutor. In 1991, the producers offered the sports legend a million dollars if he could return to the US Olympic team. The strenuous training of the 41-year-old athlete was watched by movie cameras. But during this time the sport has stepped forward, Spitz was never able to catch up with the youth.
Carl Lewis (born 1961). Lewis's results are unique. He took part in 10 types of the program, losing only once. As a result, Lewis amassed 9 gold medals and 1 silver. But Lewis could have started his Olympic career back in 1980. Then he was selected for the national team in the long jump and relay race 4 x 100 meters. But for political reasons, that Olympics was ignored by America. The athlete's finest hour came in 3 4 years. In Los Angeles, Karl won 4 gold. This made him a national celebrity. Karl was even drafted by basketball and football clubs, although he did not practice these sports. At the 1998 Seoul Olympics, Lewis won his favorite 100m and long jump. And in fact, the race was lost to Canadian Ben Johnson. However, he was subsequently disqualified for doping, and gold went to Lewis. In Barcelona - victory in the relay 4 x 100 meters and long jump. In 1996, in Atlanta, Lewis participated only in jumping, where he won. But he was no longer taken on the baton, because the participants were selected there on a sports basis. In 1997, the sports career of the great Olympian was over. It is curious that Lewis Carl Hamilton, the world champion in Formula 1, was named after him.
Bjorn Daly (born 1967). Among the legendary Olympians, there are those who have won their own awards in winter sports. The debut of the Norwegian skier at the Olympics came in 1992. In Albertville, he won three gold medals, and won silver in the classic 30 km distance. The next Winter Olympics took place 2 years later. And then Daly confirmed his status as a favorite. He won two gold and two silver. In 1998 in Nagano on Daly's account 3 gold and silver. In total, the outstanding Olympian has 8 gold and 4 silver medals. In 1999, Daly ended his career with a back injury. The skier also won the world championships 9 times. Now he is engaged in the production of sportswear under his own brand. The athlete's autobiography has sold over one hundred thousand copies.
Birgit Fischer (born 1962). This German woman is one of the most titled athletes in sports. In addition, her Olympic career spanned over 20 years. Fischer won her first gold medal in Moscow in 1980, winning the single 500m kayak swim. Unfortunately, the 1984 Olympics were ignored by the GDR, and Birgit was in great shape. In those years, she had no equal at the world championships. In Seoul-1988, the German woman won silver in singles at 50 meters and two golds in two and four at the same distance. After that triumph, the German announced her retirement, but returned to the spot again. As a result, in Barcelona, gold and silver were won, in Atlanta - the same set. The 2000 Sydney Olympics earned Fischer two gold medals in two and four at 500 meters. Birgit announced her departure again ... and returned again! In Athens in 2004, she again won gold and silver. As a result, the athlete took part in 6 Olympics, constantly staying with awards. This is the only woman who has won medals in such competitions for 24 years. She became the youngest and oldest rowing champion. 35 times Fischer became the medalist of the world championships. Fischer's half-sister and her daughter are also Olympic champions.
Savao Kato (born 1946). This athlete became the most titled Asian in the history of the Olympics. The Japanese gymnast was able to win 8 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medals. Kato's debut came in 1968. Then in Mexico City, he immediately won three gold in the team and absolute championship, floor exercise. But on the rings he became the third. After 4 years, gold was won again in the team and absolute championship, as well as on the uneven bars. On horseback and crossbar, the Japanese remained second. In Montreal-1976, Kato again became the Olympic champion in the team championship, adding gold on the uneven bars to his piggy bank. But he lost the personal championship to the Soviet gymnast Andrianov, winning silver. In 2001, Savao Kato entered the International Artistic Gymnastics Hall of Fame. The former athlete is now a professor at the University of Tsukuba. Curiously, Savao's younger brother also became an Olympic medalist. This is a rare case in the history of gymnastics when two brothers won awards in the same form.
Jenny Thompson (born 1973). This American athlete has become a swimming legend. From 1992 to 2004, she was able to win 8 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medals of the Olympics. Jenny's main specialization became freestyle and butterfly. However, it should be noted that all the main awards of the swimmer were won in the relay. But individual successes were not so bright. The debut of the athlete took place at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. There she won two gold medals in the relay 4 x 100 meters freestyle and combined. And at the hundred-meter race, she herself achieved silver. In Atlanta, the American won three gold medals, and again with the team. In Sydney, bronze was added to the same set at the 100m freestyle. In Athens, Thompson won two silver medals with the American team. It is surprising that the "team" player was able to become one of the best Olympians, with little to no individual marks. At the end of her career, Jenny decided to become a doctor. She was educated and currently works as an anesthesiologist in Boston.
Matt Biondi (born 1965). Biondi began his training in the pool as a water polo player. As a teenager, his talents as a sprinter were noted. In high school, Matt won the national championship at his age and received a scholarship from the University of Berkeley. The American swimmer made his Olympics debut at the age of 19. And he immediately won gold in the relay team. Biondi's finest hour came at the Seoul Olympics. There he was able to win 5 gold medals at once, 1 silver and one bronze. The swimmer performed both freestyle and butterfly. At the same time, at the hundred-meter race, Matt was separated from gold by only a hundredth of a second. This defeat became one of the most famous and hurtful in the history of the Olympics. In Barcelona, Biondi won the relay twice and achieved silver in the 50 meters. In total, the great swimmer has 8 gold, 2 silver and one bronze Olympic medals. After finishing his sports career, Biondi received an economics degree, now he teaches mathematics at a school in Hawaii.