Trivia question: which athlete has won the most medals in Olympic history? If you answered Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz or Ian Thorpe, you’d be wrong each time.
The honor goes to Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who competed in three Olympic Games (1956 to 1964) and won a staggering total of 18 medals, half of which were of the gold variety. Latynina’s medal haul began in Melbourne, where she pocketed four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Four years later in Rome, she defended her all-around title en route to a 3-2-1 medal count. She capped off her Olympic career in Tokyo in 1964, winning the gold in the all-around event for the third straight time and harvesting a 2-2-2 medal count.
All in all, Latynina won nine golds, five silvers and four bronzes to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. She is also one of only five Olympic athletes with at least nine gold medals, and the only female in that elite list. However, swimmer Phelps has a chance to surpass Latynina in London, as the American now has 16 medals, including an all-time record of 14 golds. (Source: Olympic.org)
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