Athletes Who Appeared at the Most Olympic Games

07 June, 2020
Only a handful of select athletes have had the honor to appear at multiple Olympic Games, let alone win medals at more than one.
 

Maybe they started their professional careers very young… or maybe they were just able to compete until they were much older. Or maybe they’re still training to participate in future games! In this article, we’ll take a look at the athletes who have participated in the most Olympic Games.

Which athletes participated in the most Olympic Games?

These people are undoubtedly sporting legends, but in many cases, they probably don’t have the international recognition that they deserve. Let’s take a look at them!

1. Ian Millar (10)

Ian Millar is part of the Canadian equestrian team and holds the record for the most consecutive Olympic appearances… an amazing 10 times!

Ian Millar on a horse giving a thumbs-up.
Image: fei.org

Known as “Captain Canada”, he first took part in the 1972 Munich Olympics and took part in every Games until London 2012, with the exception of Moscow 1980. This was because Canada joined the boycott against the Soviet Union at the time. His best performance was in Beijing 2008, where the team won a silver medal.

2. Aladar Gerevich (6): appeared in most of the Olympic Games

Born in Hungary in 1910, Gerevich was a fencer specializing in foil and saber. He participated in six editions of the Games, from Los Angeles 1932 to Rome 1960… and he’s won at least one medal in each one!

 
Aladar Gerevich, one of the athletes who has appeared at the most Olympic games.
Image: aarp.org

In total, Gerevich has achieved seven gold, one silver, and two bronze in individual and team events. He is one of the few athletes who managed to achieve a podium place in six consecutive Games.

3. Armin Zoeggeler (6)

This former Italian luger is also a member of the Carabinieri (part of Italian law enforcement) and has several records to his credit. He’s one of the athletes who appeared at the most Winter Olympics (six, between 1994 and 2014) and has won a medal in each one in the same individual event.

Zoeggeler (header photo) is known as ‘The Cannibal’ due to his great Olympic successes, which include two golds (2002 and 2006), one silver (1998), and three bronzes (1994, 2010, and 2014).

4. Birgit Fischer (6)

The only woman (so far) to appear on this list is Birgit Fischer, a German kayaker.

She’s taken part in six Summer Olympics between Moscow 1980 and Athens 2004. In her first two Games, she represented the German Democratic Republic, and then she represented Germany after reunification.

Birgit Fischer showing her gold and silver medals.
Image: Olympic.org
 

Fischer has eight gold and four silver medals and has won 37 medals in world championships.

5. Juan Carlos Navarro (5)

During the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, this shooting guard for the Spanish national basketball team made history by becoming only the fifth basketball player to feature in five Olympic Games.

That year, he joined the select group of players who had appeared at as many games, made up of Oscar Schmidt (Brazil), Teófilo Cruz (Puerto Rico), Andrew Gaze (Australia), and Teresa Edwards (USA).

Juan Carlos Navarro in a basketball match.

Juan Carlos Navarro made his debut for the national team at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He then took part in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016. He took two silver medals (Beijing and London) and a bronze (Rio).

6. Edoardo Mangiarotti (5): appeared in most of the Olympic Games

Edoardo Mangiarotti (1919 – 2012) was an Italian fencer who specialized in foil and saber. He participated in five editions of the Games: Berlin 1936, London 1948, Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960. World War II prevented him from appearing at more games because they were suspended.

 
Edoardo Mangiarotti, one of the athletes who has appeared at the most Olympic games.
Image: Azzurri di Gloria.

Mangiarotti won a total of 13 medals: six gold, five silver, and two bronze in both individual and team events. He also won a total of 23 medals at world championships throughout his fencing career.

7. Pal Kovacs (5)

Another athlete dedicated to saber fencing. He took part in five Olympic games from Berlin 1936 to Rome 1960. Throughout his Olympic career, he won seven medals: six gold and one bronze, winning at least one medal at each Games (two individual and five team medals).

Whilst this list is already impressive, we can’t leave out Michael Phelps, who in addition to having appeared at four Olympic Games (Athens 2004 to Rio 2016) also has won the most gold medals in Olympic history.

Header image courtesy of Olympic.org

 
  • ATHLETES. Sitio oficial de los Juegos Olímpicos. https://www.olympic.org/athletes
  • Joe Posnanski. THE TOP 100 OLYMPIC ATHLETES. NBC Sports. https://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/the-top-100-olympic-athletes/
  • Quercia, N. Viejo es el viento: a los 44 años se clasificó a sus octavos Juegos Olímpicos consecutivos. El Intra Sports. Octubre de 2019 https://elintra.com.ar/mas-deportes/2019/10/14/viejo-es-el-viento-a-los-44-anos-se-clasifico-a-sus-octavos-juegos-olimpicos-consecutivos/
  • Leal, T. Aladár Gerevich, el medallista eterno de los Juegos Olímpicos. Libertad Digital. Agosto de 2016. http://www.libertaddigital.com/deportes/mas-deporte/2016-08-25/aladar-gerevich-el-medallista-eterno-de-los-juegos-olimpicos-1276581073/