The Olympic Games (typically shortened to "Olympics") is a worldwide tournament in which athletes from all over the world come together to compete in honor of their respective countries. The Olympics are the leading international sports event, with each occurrence of the games held in a different host city. Some cities have hosted multiple Olympic events—for example, Los Angeles, California (U.S.) held the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984 and is scheduled to host the 2028 Summer Olympics.
The Olympics is divided into two seasonally themed halves. The Summer Olympics includes a myriad of fair weather sports, from track and field to swimming, gymnastics, and basketball. Conversely, the Winter Olympics focuses upon cold-weather sports such as bobsledding, ice skating, and skiing. Both events are held every four years, but their schedules are currently offset by two years. Thus, the Summer Olympics will take place in 2024, 2028, and 2032, with the Winter Olympics scheduled for 2022, 2026, and 2030.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a partnership with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which presents the Paralympic Games, an Olympics-style event specifically for athletes with disablities. While the two organizations are technically separate entities, the partnership enables the Paralympics to take place in the same host cities as the Olympics, using the official Olympic venues and facilities.
The IOC also puts on the Summer and Winter Youth Olympics, which cater to athletes 15 to 18 years old. The Youth Olympics uses an offset two-lane/four-year schedule similar to that of the main games, but with different host cities and venues. In addition, the Olympics are intertwined with many regional events, such as the Pan American Games and the Asian Games.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were actually postponed until July/August of 2021.
Because several countries have formed and/or broken apart since the modern Olympics began in 1896, total medal counts can be tricky. The most notable example is the Soviet Union, which fractured into several smaller countries, including Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Moldova. The IOC had to decide which of the newer countries, if any, got credit for the Soviet Union's medals. Also, many athletes have participated in the games as individuals due to their political beliefs or sanctions against their host country. Finally, on a few occasions, the IOC has revoked a medal from an athlete found to have broken the rules and awarded it to another athlete.
That said, here are the top 10 winners in total medals for the Summer, then Winter Olympics as of 2021.
Top 10 Countries with the Most Summer Olympics Medals (including Tokyo 2020):
- United States - 2656
- Soviet Union - 1010
- Great Britain - 916
- France - 750
- Germany - 652
- China - 634
- Italy - 618
- Australia - 547
- Hungary - 511
- Sweden - 503
Top 10 Countries with the Most Winter Olympics Medals:
- Norway - 368
- Unites States - 307
- Germany - 240
- Austria - 232
- Canada - 199
- Soviet Union - 194
- Finland - 167
- Sweden - 158
- Switzerland - 153
- Netherlands - 130
For a comprehensive list that compiles every Olympics to date together, keep scrolling.