25 Most Remarkable Summer Olympians Of All Time

Posted by on August 1, 2012

Let the games begin! The 2012 Summer Olympics began in London on July 27. In honor of this historical international event, we’ve made a list featuring some of the best athletes of the Summer Olympics throughout history. The competitors range from young to old, come from all over the world, and have competed in Olympics as far back as 1900. While some of them may not be the best in terms of number of medals won or quantity of records broken, they all deserve a spot on the list for beating the odds in their own ways. So in alphabetical order, here are the 25 most remarkable summer Olympians of all time.


Aladar Gerevich: Fencing, Hungary

Regarded as the greatest swordsman ever by CNN, Gerevich competed in six consecutive Olympics and won a gold medal every time. He competed in his first Olympics in 1932 at the age of 22. Because of World War II, there were no Olympic Games held in 1940 or 1944, but they resumed in 1948. Just before Gerevich’s last Olympic Games in 1960, the Hungarian Olympic Committee told him he was too old to compete, but he proved them wrong by challenging every member of the sabre team and beating every one.


Birgit Fischer: Canoe/Kayak Flatwater, Germany

Birgit Fischer is the most successful Olympic kayaking athlete of all time. She earned the title of youngest-ever Olympic canoeing champion at the age of 18 and later became the oldest-ever Olympic canoeing champion at the age of 42. She won eight gold medals over the course of six different Olympic Games, a record she shares with Aladar Gerevich.


Carl Lewis: Athletics, United States

Carl Lewis dominated at Olympic track and field events longer than any other track and field competitor to date. He competed in every Olympic Games from 1984 to 1996, winning nine gold medals and one silver in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 400-meter relays.


Carl Osburn: Shooting, United States

This United States Navy officer and sports shooter won a total of 11 Olympic medals: five gold, four silver, and two bronze. He was the all-time leading male Olympic medal winner for the United States prior to Michael Phelps.


Daley Thompson: Decathlon, Great Britain

Daley Thompson competed for Great Britain in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, winning the gold medal in the decathlon both times and making him the best all-around track and field athlete at both Olympics.