Which Nation Has Won The Most Olympic Medals In History?

danjoseph | August 10, 2016

The Olympic Games are here and, once again, the United States is dominating.

Thus far, the United States has accumulated 27 medals total, including 10 gold, eight silver and nine bronze. The Chinese have amassed the second highest total with 17 medals.

The Summer Olympics have been officially occurring every four years since 1896. So in order to determine which country is the most athletically dominant, it’s only fair that we go back in time and look at who has acquired the most medals throughout history. 

Here are the medal counts for the ten most victorious nations over the last 120 years.  


                                       GOLD  SILVER  BRONZE   TOTAL


1. United States                986       763           675        2426

2. Soviet Union                440        357          325         1122

3. Germany                       259        305           334         898

4. England                         237         275           274        786

5. France                           204         226           247        677

6. Italy                                201        169           187         558

7. China                              209         147          134          490 

8. Sweden                         144         166           176          486

9. Hungary                          171         145           166         482

10. Australia                      142         153             182         477


Of course, as I write this, the games in Rio are underway, so chances are that this list will look somewhat different by the end of next week. But, obviously, the Americans have been the dominant force in world athletics since the Olympic games began. (This despite the fact that several of the communist nations, such as the Soviet Union and China had their athletes pumped up on steroids for a significant portion of the late 20th century.)

Additionally, it is important to note that the Soviet Union ceased to exist in the early 90's, so it’s unclear how many medals their competitors would have won over the last 30 years had communism not been relegated to the ash heap of history.