The Most Famous Olympian, Ranked

Choose the Olympian you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 18, 2024 07:13
Ranking the most famous Olympians can be incredibly beneficial for sports enthusiasts and historians alike. It helps to provide a clear view of athletes whose performances have stood out remarkably over the years, making it easier to study trends, achievements, and the evolution of different sports. Such a ranking gathers collective insights and preferences, reflecting a broad spectrum of opinions across varied demographics. By participating in this live ranking, users contribute to a dynamic database that continues to shape our understanding of Olympic history. Each vote can significantly alter the perception of who the most celebrated athletes are, encouraging a diverse discussion among the global community. This process not only upholds the democratic spirit but also enriches the dialogue surrounding the Olympians and their storied careers.

Who Is the Most Famous Olympian?

  1. 1
    Michael Phelps is a retired American swimmer who has won a total of 28 Olympic medals, including 23 gold medals, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time.
    Michael Phelps in other rankings
  2. 2
    Usain Bolt is a retired Jamaican sprinter who has won a total of 8 Olympic gold medals and holds the world record in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash.
    Usain Bolt in other rankings
  3. 3
    Jesse Owens
    Acme News Photos · Public domain
    Jesse Owens - an American track and field athlete who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, breaking racial barriers and defying Hitler's notion of Aryan supremacy.
    Jesse Owens in other rankings
  4. 4
    Simone Biles is an American gymnast who has won a total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, including 19 gold medals, making her one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time.
    Simone Biles in other rankings
  5. 5
    Nadia Comăneci is a retired Romanian gymnast who became the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympics, winning three gold medals at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
    Nadia Comăneci in other rankings
  6. 6
    Carl Lewis
    Manfred Werner - Tsui · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Carl Lewis - an American track and field athlete who won 9 Olympic gold medals and set numerous world records in events such as the long jump and 100-meter dash.
    Carl Lewis in other rankings
  7. 7
    Paavo Nurmi
    Suomen Urheilumuseo · Public domain
    Paavo Nurmi is a Finnish middle-distance and long-distance runner who won a total of 9 Olympic gold medals in the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Olympics, setting numerous world records.
    Paavo Nurmi in other rankings
  8. 8
    Larisa Latynina is a retired Soviet gymnast who won a total of 18 Olympic medals, including 9 gold medals, making her one of the most decorated Olympians of all time.
  9. 9
    Mark Spitz is a retired American swimmer who won a total of 9 Olympic gold medals and set numerous world records in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
    Mark Spitz in other rankings
  10. 10
    Emil Zátopek is a retired Czech long-distance runner who won a total of 4 Olympic gold medals in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, setting numerous world records and revolutionizing the sport with his unorthodox training methods.
    Emil Zátopek in other rankings

Missing your favorite Olympian?


Ranking factors for famous Olympian

  1. Olympic Achievements
    The number of medals won, including gold, silver, and bronze, can play a significant role in determining the fame of an Olympian. Multiple gold medals or a record-breaking performance can elevate an athlete's status.
  2. Dominance in Sport
    Athletes who have consistently dominated their sport and achieved success over multiple Olympic Games are often considered more famous. Setting world records, winning multiple titles, or holding long-standing records can contribute to their fame.
  3. Global Recognition
    The level of global recognition an athlete enjoys is crucial. Factors such as media coverage, popularity in different countries, and fan following across nations contribute to an Olympian's fame.
  4. Longevity and Impact
    The lasting impact an athlete has had on their sport and the Olympic movement can add to their fame. Athletes who have inspired generations, brought attention to their sport, or made significant contributions beyond their athletic careers often receive higher recognition.
  5. Cultural and Social Influence
    The impact an Olympian has outside of their sport can also be a consideration. Athletes who have used their platform to promote social causes, become role models, or break barriers may gain additional fame.
  6. Overall Popularity
    The athlete's overall popularity, including factors like endorsements, social media following, and public perception, can gauge their fame. Fan support, charisma, and likability also contribute to an Olympian's recognition.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous Olympian. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Athlete is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 218 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Athlete once every 24 hours. The rank of each Athlete is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous olympian

The Olympics have been a global phenomenon for over a century, featuring the world's most talented athletes competing in a wide range of sports. Throughout history, there have been many legendary Olympians who have captured the hearts and imaginations of sports fans around the world. From track and field to swimming, gymnastics to basketball, these athletes have demonstrated unparalleled skill and dedication to their craft. But who among them can truly be considered the most famous Olympian of all time? In this article, we will explore some of the most notable figures in Olympic history and delve into the factors that have made them such beloved and iconic figures in the world of sports.

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