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These women have won the most medals in Olympic history

Outstanding Performance award, Larisa Latynina accepts her award during 1st ANOC Gala awards at Bangkok ANOC 2014. (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant)
Outstanding Performance award, Larisa Latynina accepts her award during 1st ANOC Gala awards at Bangkok ANOC 2014. (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant) (Getty Images)

The title of the most-decorated athlete ever belongs to United States swimmer Michael Phelps, who won 28 medals competing in five different Summer Olympics from 2000 to 2016.

But there are so many highly decorated female Olympians, too.

In honor of Monday being International Women’s Day and this being a pandemic-delayed Olympic year with the Summer Olympics now scheduled to take place in Tokyo in a few months, we rounded up a list of the female athletes who have won the most medals at the Games.

All of the women below have won at least 10.


Larisa Latynina (Soviet Union, 18 medals)

Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina of the Ukraine in action during the women's compulsory exercises at the Tokyo Olympics, October 1964. (Photo by Hulton Archive) (Getty Images)

An artistic gymnast, Latynina won 14 individual medals and four team medals from 1956 to 1964, nine of them being gold. Her total was the medal record for any gender until Phelps came along.


Marit Bjorgen (Norway, 15 medals)

Marit Bjorgen of Norway during sprint ladies free at Lugnet Stadium on March 16, 2018 in Falun, Sweden. (Photo by Trond Tandberg) (Getty Images)

A winter Olympian, Bjorgen is a cross-country skier who won eight gold medals, four silver medals and three bronze medals in the span of five Olympic Games, from 2002-2018.


Birgit Fischer (East Germany/Germany, 12 medals)

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts (Getty Images)

From 1980-2004, Fischer won eight gold medals and four silver medals in canoeing.


Jenny Thompson (United States, 12 medals)

Photo by Donald Miralle (Getty Images)

A swimmer, Thompson, in a span of four Olympics, from 1992 to 2004, won eight gold medals, three silver medals and a bronze medal.


Dara Torres (United States, 12 medals)

Photo by Jamie Squire. (Getty Images)

A swimmer who first competed at the Olympics in 1984, Torres won four gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals in a scattered but lengthy career of competing at the Olympics. Torres was an Olympian in 1984, 1988 and 1992, then came back from retirement to compete in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. After retiring a second time, Torres came back to compete in the 2008 Beijing Games at the age of 41.


Natalie Coughlin (United States, 12 medals)

Photo by Aurelien Meunier. (Getty Images)

Another U.S. swimmer who earned 12 medals, Coughlin captured three gold medals, four silver medals and five bronze medals competing in three Olympics from 2004 to 2012.


Vera Caslavska (Czechoslovakia, 11 medals)

Vera Caslavska, 26, a student from Prague, won a gold medal for her performance in the Olympic gymnastic floor exercise competition. She became the first competitor in Olympic history to win four individual gold medals in a single Olympics. (Getty Images)

In three Summer Olympics, from 1960 to 1968, the gymnast won seven gold medals and four silver medals.


Ireen Wust (Netherlands, 11 medals)

Ireen Wust of The Netherlands during the ISU World Cup Speed Skating at Thialf Icerink on Jan 30, 2021, in Heerenveen, The Netherlands. (2021 BSR Agency)

The Dutch are known for speed skating, and Wust is the best female of all in that country, earning five gold medals, five silver medals and a bronze medal in four Olympics from 2006 to 2018.


Isabell Werth (Germany, 10 medals)

Isabell Werth, of Germany, riding Bella Rose, celebrates after she competes during Day 6 of the Grand Prix Freestyle, Longines FEI Dressage European Championship on Aug. 24, 2019 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (2019 Getty Images)

In equestrian, Werth won six gold medals and four silver medals, from 1992 to 2016.


Agnes Keleti (Hungary, 10 medals)

Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT (Getty Images)

The gymnast won five gold medals -- three silver medals and two bronze medals -- at the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics.


Polina Astakhova (Soviet Union, 10 medals)

Photo by Hulton Archive. (Getty Images)

Over the span of three Olympics from 1956 to 1964, the gymnast won five gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze.


Raisa Smetanina (Soviet Union/Unified Team, 10 medals)

Photo by David Madison. (Getty Images)

The cross-country skier won four gold medals, five silver medals and a bronze medals at five Winter Olympics that spanned from 1976 to 1992.


Stefania Belmondo (Italy, 10 medals)

Photo by John Gichigi. (Getty Images)

Belmondo participated in four Winter Olympics from 1992 to 2002, winning two gold medals, three silver medals and five bronze medals.


Franziska van Almsick (Germany, 10 medals)

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein. (Getty Images)

The swimmer won four silver medals and six bronze medals, competing in four different Summer Olympics from 1992 to 2004.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.