Skip to content
GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. More Sports & News
  2. Olympics

Top 10 Best American Olympians of All Time

The 2024 Paris Olympics are set to begin in a few weeks with the first competitions starting on July 24 and the Opening Ceremony beginning on July 26.

With the action approaching, it is worth taking a look at the best American Olympians of all time.

10. Mike Eruzione

Starting with a Winter Olympian, we have Mike Eruzione. He only has one Gold Medal to his name, but it came in one of the greatest sports moments ever. Eruzione was the captain of the 1980 US ice hockey team.

In the semifinal game against the Soviet Union, commonly known as the “Miracle on Ice”, Eruzione scored the winning goal as the US defeated the Soviets 4-3 in one of the greatest upsets of all time.

The US went on to beat Finland in the gold medal game to solidify the historic significance of their 1980 Olympic run.

9. Shaun White

Another Winter Olympian is snowboarder Shaun White, who stands out as one of the greats.

He competed in five Winter Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022), winning a gold medal in 2006, 2010, and 2018. 

8. Michael Jordan

It is hard to make a top 10 list without mentioning Michael Jordan. Widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time, Jordan also had success in his Olympic career.

First, he was part of Team USA in the 1988 Olympics as a college player and next in the iconic 1992 “Dream Team”. In both cases, Jordan helped lead Team USA to a Gold Medal.

7. Carl Lewis

Sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis competed in four Olympics (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996), and the International Olympic Committee named him Sportsman of the Century.

He won a total of 10 medals (nine gold and one silver), and is known for defending the Long Jump gold medal he won in 1984 in 1988, 1992, and 1996.

6. Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky is next on our list and unlike the others so far, she is still an active Olympian. Ledecky has competed in 2012, 2016, 2020 Olympics and just recently qualified for the 2024 Games, which is set to begin in a few weeks.

She has won a total of 10 medals in her Olympic career, with seven gold and three silver medals.

5. Jenny Thompson

Considered one of the best swimmers ever, Jenny Thompson competed in a total of four Olympic games (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004). She won a total of 12 medals (eight gold, three silver, one bronze).

At the time she won her eighth career gold medal in 2004, she was considered to be the most successful female swimmer in Olympic history.

4. Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix is considered the most successful American Track and Field Olympic athlete. She competed in five Olympics (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020) and won a total of 11 medals (seven gold, three silver, one bronze).

3. Mark Spitz

Another one of the greatest swimmers of all time is Mark Spitz. He competed in two Olympics (1968 and 1972), winning a total of 11 medals (nine gold, one silver, one bronze).

His Olympic career was highlighted by the fact that he won seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, which makes him worthy of a top three spot on our list. 

2. Jesse Owens

While Jesse Owens did not have nearly the amount of medals as others, he is considered one of the greatest American Olympians for the significance of what he did. Owens competed in the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Germany.

In front of a hostile crowd and host country during a turbulent period in human history, he defied the hate directed towards him and won four gold medals in Track and Field. Doing this took much more than athletic skill, which is why he is considered one of the greatest US Olympians. 

1. Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is not only considered the greatest American Olympian of all time, but he is also the most decorated Olympian ever in terms of medals won.

Phelps competed in five Olympics (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016). He set countless records and ended his career with a total of 28 medals (23 gold, three silver, two bronze). He was also the first athlete to win eight gold medals at a single Olympics - in 2008. 

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalized service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet $1 & Get $365 in Bonus Bets Join Now

Deposit required. Bonus Bet winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply.