Top 10 Olympians

Usain Bolt. Image: Kaliva / Shutterstock

AS the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games begin this week, with hundreds of sportspeople due to compete in 42 different sports during the 19 days the games last, we take a look at the 10 best names in the history of the games.


1. Usain Bolt

The Jamaican runner has won six Olympic gold medals, eight golds and two silvers from World Championships and holds the world records for 100 and 200 metres. Although recently injured, Bolt will be competing in the 100, 200 and 4×100 metre races this year and is expected to take more medals home with him.


2. Michael Phelps

Considered by many as the best swimmer of all time, the American has won Olympic golds for various distances and styles and beat seven world records in the Peking games. He is also hoping to add to his medal collection in Rio.


3. Sergei Bubka

This Ukrainian pole-vaulter is considered to be one of the best sportsmen of the 20th century and the best ever in his sport of choice. He has won six gold World Championship medals and broke the world record more than 30 times. He retired from competition in 1997.


4. Nadia Comaneci

One of the best gymnasts of the 20th century, this Romanian was the first to ever obtain 10 points at the Olympics. She won five Olympic golds, three silvers, two World Championship golds and nine European Championship golds.


5. Edwin Moses

One of the best athletes ever to compete in 400 metre hurdle races, this American sportsman won everything he took part in for a very impressive nine year, nine month and nine day period. He reached fame at the 1976 games in Montreal winning the Olympic gold, and he also won another gold in Los Angeles in 1984 and a bronze in Seoul in 1988 before retiring.


6. Felix Savon

This Cuban boxer won three consecutive Olympic gold medals and four World Cup crowns in the under 91 kilo category during his 20- year sporting career. He retired in 2001.


7. Jesse Owens

Known as the Hero of Berlin, this athlete was the first American to win four gold medals at the same Olympics. However he was better known for beating German athletes in front of Hitler during Nazi times.


8. Johnny Weissmuller

This Romanian swimmer was the best in his class during the first half of the 20th century and the first person to swim 100 metres freestyle in under 60 seconds.

He was Olympic champion in the 400 and 100 metres freestyle at the 1924 Paris games and renewed his gold for 100 metres in Amsterdam four years later. He won five Olympic golds and set 67 world records during his career.


9. Emil Zatopek

Nicknamed the Czech Locomotive, he was considered one of the     best long distance runners of all time.

He won 261 of the 334 races he ran during his career and set 18 world records and is best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.


10. Abebe Bikila

This Ethiopian runner is best known as the only athlete to have won an Olympic marathon running barefoot in Rome in 1960. He has won two Olympic gold medals.

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