Regarded as one of the best water polo players of all time, Manuel Estiarte is only the second Spaniard to have competed in six Olympic Games. He won three medals during his career, one of each color.
During the 1972 Munich Olympics, this swimmer won seven gold medals, breaking the record for most gold medals in a single Olympics. He held onto this title for 36 years until Michael Phelps burst onto the scene.
Michael Phelps’ incredible swimming skills have earned him monikers such as “Flying Fish” and “The Baltimore Bullet.” He holds the record for most gold medals won in a single Olympics as well as the all-time record for most gold Olympic records. He has won 16 medals in all, 14 of them gold.
At the tender age of 15, this young Romanian gymnast astounded the world by doing something once believed to be impossible – She received a perfect 10 in a gymnastics event at the Olympics. She went on to repeat this amazing achievement six more times at the Olympic Competitions, winning one bronze, three silver, and five gold medals in the process.
This Russian gymnast won a total of 15 medals – seven gold, five silver, and three bronze. His accomplishments made him the most successful male Olympic athlete from 1972 to 2008, when Michael Phelps beat his record.
Known as “King of Runners” and “Flying Finn,” Paavo Nurmi is considered one of the greatest middle- and long-distance runners in the world. In the three Olympics from 1920 to 1928, he won a total of nine gold and three silver medals in the 1,500 meters; 5,000 meters, individual cross-country; 5,000 meter cross-country team; and 3,000 meter team.
Reiner Klimke only missed one Olympic Games from 1960 to 1988. During that time, he won six gold and two bronze medals in dressage, a competitive equestrian sport known as “the highest expression of horse training.”
While competing in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Olympics, Kato managed to win 12 medals for Japan. As one of only 10 athletes to have won eight or more gold medals, he is not only one of the most decorated male gymnasts in history, but also one of the greatest Japanese athletes in Olympic history.
Boxing legend Teofilo Stevenson was one of the few athletes to uphold the ideals of the Olympic Games by refusing to turn professional—even for a reputed $5 million offer from Don King. He was the first boxer to win the gold medal three times in the same weight division.