The world’s greatest winter sports athletes will convene in Beijing in February for the 24th Winter Olympic Games.
The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924 at Chamonix in France, and over the course of the nearly 100 years of competition, the quadrennial event has produced its share of Olympic heroes. (Read about 14 times the Olympics have been canceled, boycotted, or postponed.)
To determine the athletes who won the most individual medals of all time – at last eight each – at the Winter Olympics, 24/7 Tempo reviewed Olympics medal counts from Olympedia.
Though many viewers are fixated on what country wins the most medals, the Olympic Games invariably produce athletes whose individual exploits resonate with sports fanatics, regardless of nationality. Speed skaters Eric Heiden of the United States (five gold medals) and Ard Schenk of the Netherlands (three gold medals), and skiers Jean-Claude Killy of France (three golds) and Alberto Tomba of Italy (three golds and two silvers) became household names for their dominant performances in the Winter Olympics.
As great as those four star athletes were, however, they didn’t win enough medals to make our list. Athletes from Norway and Germany dominate the list, scoring medals in Speed skating, Cross-country skiing, and the biathlon, which combines Cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. (These are the countries with the most Winter Olympics gold medals.)
Three of the five all-time medal winners are women, and one of them is looking to add to her medal hoard this year. Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst is the most honored active Winter Olympics competitor, with 11 medals, which also is the most of any female athlete at any Winter Olympics. She’ll look to add to her total in what will be her final Winter Olympics. Wüst is the only Winter Olympian to earn individual gold medals at four different Games.
To determine the most individual medals won all-time at the Winter Olympics, 24/7 Tempo reviewed Olympics games medal counts from Olympedia.
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