Sports

Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners

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List of famous Olympic gold medal winners from every event, with photos of the athletes when available. These historic Olympic gold medal winners are listed by popularity, so the most historic Olympians are at the top of the list. Olympic medalists who have won the gold medal are among an elite group, as many athletes who train their entire lives will never even qualify for the Olympics. The famous Olympic competitors on this list may have either competed in the Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics, but what they all have in common is that they each took home a gold medal.

The list you're viewing contains people like Michael Phelps and Kobe Bryant.

If you're trying to answer the questions, "Which Olympians have won a gold medal?" and "How many people have won an Olympic gold medal?" then this list has you covered.

This list includes notable gold medal winners from almost every Olympics. They didn't all get their own Wheaties boxes, but every person who has ever won a gold medal is impressive enough to be included in this list.
1
Michael Phelps is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Michael Fred Phelps II is an American competition swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 22 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals, ...more
2
Carl Lewis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis is an American former track and field athlete, who won 10 Olympic medals, including nine gold, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. ...more
3
Mark Spitz is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Mark Andrew Spitz is an American former competition swimmer, nine-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in multiple events. He won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics ...more
4
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Track and field athletics
Jacqueline "Jackie" Joyner-Kersee is a retired American athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the women's heptathlon as well as in the women's long jump. She won ...more
5
Clara Hughes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Speed skating, Road cycling
Clara Hughes, OC OM MSC is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater, who has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports. Hughes won two bronze in the Summer Olympics in 1996 and four medals over the ...more
6
Jesse Owens is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Track and field athletics
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was an American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist. Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump and was recognized in his ...more
7
Ole Einar Bjørndalen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Biathlon
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is a biathlete.
8
Shawn Johnson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Artistic gymnastics
Shawn Machel Johnson is a retired American artistic gymnast. She is the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around and floor exercise silver medalist. Johnson became a member ...more
9
Angela Ruggiero is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Ice Hockey
Angela Marie Ruggiero is an American ice hockey defenseman. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee and was a member of the United States women's national ice hockey team, ...more
10
Matt Biondi is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Matthew Nicholas Biondi is an American former competition swimmer, eleven-time Olympic medalist, and former world record-holder in five events. Biondi competed in the Summer Olympic Games in ...more
11
Halvard Hanevold is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Biathlon
Halvard Hanevold, is a Norwegian biathlete and Olympic champion. Hanevold won the bronze medal in the men's 20 km individual and the silver medal in the men's 10 km sprint at the 2006 Winter ...more
12
Paavo Nurmi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Paavo Johannes Nurmi was a Finnish middle- and long-distance runner. He was nicknamed the "Flying Finn" as he dominated distance running in the early 20th century. Nurmi set 22 ...more
13
Armin Zöggeler is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Luge
Armin Zöggeler is a retired Italian luger and double Olympic champion. He is one of the most successful men in the sport, nicknamed Il Cannibale, for his notable series of victories, or The ...more
14
Natalie Coughlin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Natalie Coughlin Hall, née Natalie Anne Coughlin, is an American competition swimmer and twelve-time Olympic medalist. Ten days before her 20th birthday in 2002, she became the first ...more
15
Apolo Ohno is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Short track speed skating
Apolo Anton Ohno is a retired American short track speed skating competitor and an eight-time medalist in the Winter Olympics. Raised by his father, Ohno began training full-time in 1996. He has ...more
16
Jason Lezak is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Jason Edward Lezak is an American competition swimmer who is a four-time Olympic gold medalist. He formerly swam for Irvine Novaquatics. He graduated from Irvine High School in 1994, and then ...more
17
Anja Pärson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Alpine skiing
Anja Sofia Tess Pärson is a Swedish former alpine skier. She is an Olympic gold medalist, seven-time gold medalist at the World Championships, and two-time overall Alpine Skiing World Cup ...more
18
Dmitri Sautin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Dmitri Ivanovich Sautin is a Russian diver who has won more medals than any other Olympic diver. He was born in Voronezh. Sautin started diving at age seven; however, his diving career almost ...more
19
Greg Louganis is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Gregory Efthimios "Greg" Louganis is an American Olympic diver and author who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games on both the springboard and platform. He is the only ...more
20
Dara Torres is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Dara Grace Torres is an American former competition swimmer who is a twelve-time Olympic medalist and former world record-holder in three events. Torres is the first and only swimmer to ...more
21
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Basketball
LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Standing at 6 ft 8 in and weighing 250 lbs., he has started ...more
22
Amanda Beard is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Amanda Ray Beard is an American swimmer and a seven-time Olympic medalist. She is a former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke. Beard's success has earned her the American Swimmer ...more
23
Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Jennifer Beth Thompson is an American former competition swimmer, and one of the most decorated Olympians in history, winning twelve medals, including eight gold medals, in the 1992, 1996, 2000, ...more
24
Cathy Freeman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Track and field athletics
Catherine Astrid Salome "Cathy" Freeman, OAM is a former Australian sprinter, who specialised in the 400 metres event. Her personal best of 48.63 currently ranks her as the sixth ...more
25
Klete Keller is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Klete D. Keller is an American former competition swimmer who won medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle and the 4×200-meter freestyle ...more