Can you tell the difference between Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz, or Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens from a single image? You've probably heard of gold medal figure skaters Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming, but could you tell them apart from a picture? If you think you can identify the greatest gold medalists of all time, see if you can earn a top score on this Olympic medalist quiz!
Since the very first games were held in ancient Greece, the Olympics have served as a venue for the best athletes in the world to show off their skills. Of course, those early games were nothing like the Olympics you're familiar with. That first event back in 776 BC consisted only of a foot race, and events didn't progress much beyond that through the end of the ancient Olympic era in 393 AD.
The first modern games in Athens in 1896 featured 241 athletes from 14 countries competing in 43 events, and the games have only grown since then. At the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, just shy of 3,000 athletes from 92 nations competed in more than 100 events.
With more than a century of athletes and an Olympics that seems to get bigger every year, there's no shortage of gold medalists representing the best of speed, strength and sport. Do you think you can name them all? Take our quiz to prove it!
Michael Fred Phelps is the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time. As a professional swimmer, he has won a total of 28 Olympic medals!
Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis was born on July 1, 1961. As an Olympic track and field athlete, he won nine Olympic gold medals (and one Olympic silver medal!) during his career.
Mark the Shark is best known for wining seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympcs in Munich, West Germany. Spitz set new world records in all seven events in which he competed in 1972!
Jackie Joyner-Kersee competed in track and field events throughout her career. Ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump, she won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals in those two events at four different Olympic Games!
Clara Hughes was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on September 27, 1972. She has competed in four different Olympic Games, winning one gold among her six medals in cycling and speed skating.
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was born on September 12, 1913, and died on March 31, 1980. He is remembered as a decorated American track and field athlete winning four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games.
Shawn Johnson was a member of the US gymnastics team for the 2008 Olympics. She won the gold medal on the balance beam and also earned silver medals for all-around, floor exercise, and team competitions.
Usain Bolt earned the title of fastest man in the world. Hailing from Jamaica, he is the first person in the world to hold both the 100 and 200 meter world records.
Angela Ruggiero is a member of the 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame. She is a four-time Olympian in ice hockey, having won a gold medal in 1998, silver medals in 2002 and 2010, and a bronze medal in 2006.
Matt Biondi competed in the Summer Olympic Games in 1984, 1988 and 1992. He won a total of eleven medals, including eight gold. During his career, he set three individual world records in the 50-meter freestyle and four in the 100-meter freestyle.
Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish middle and long-distance runner who earned himself the nickname "Flying Finn." He won nine gold medals during his Olympic career from 1920 - 1928.
Michael Johnson not only won four Olympic gold medals during his career, he also won eight World Championships gold medals. He currently lives in San Rafael, California.
Natalie Coughlin is a highly decorated US Olympics swimmer. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, she became the first U.S. female athlete in modern Olympic history to win six medals in one Olympiad, and the first woman ever to win a 100-meter backstroke gold in two consecutive Olympics!
Apolo Ohno is a professional speed skater who has competed in three Olympic games in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He has won 2 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze Olympic medals.
Jason Edward Lezak is a four-time Olympic gold medalist. During his professional career, he was a specialist in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle races.
Shannon Miller is the most decorated US gymnast at the Olympics. She was the 1996 balance beam champion as well as a member of the gold medal-winning Magnificent Seven team at the 1996 Olympics.
Dana Vollmer is a professional swimmer specializing in butterfly and freestyle. She stands 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs about 150 pounds.
Dmitri Ivanovich Sautin is a Russian diver who has won more medals than any other Olympic diver. He has won a total of eight medals, including two gold.
Greg Louganis is an American Olympic diver, LGBT activist, and author. He is remembered for winning gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics on both the springboard and platform.
Dara Torres is the first swimmer to represent the United States in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008)! At age 41, she became the oldest swimmer to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team and has won a total of 12 Olympic medals.
LeBron James helped Team USA win gold medals at the Olympic Games in 2008 as well as 2012. He made his debut on the Olympic team in 2004, however, only earned a bronze.
Amanda Beard has been named American Swimmer of the Year twice in her career. She has won a total of 21 medals in major international competition, five gold, 13 silver, and three bronze spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Summer Universiade!
Standing 5 feet 10 inches tall, Jenny Thompson is one of the most decorated Olympians in history. She has won twelve medals, including eight gold medals, in the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 Summer Olympics.
Cathy Freeman was born in Queensland, Australia, and is remembered particularly for her performance in the 400 meter sprint. Her personal best time of 48.63 currently ranks her as the sixth fastest woman of all time.
Dorothy Hamill was born on July 26, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois. She is the 1976 Olympic champion in the ladies' singles competition.
Klete Keller was born on March 21, 1982 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He won medals at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle and 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
Gary Hall, Jr. is a decorated American swimmer. He is well known for his "pro-wrestling like" antics before a competition...frequently strutting onto the pool deck in boxing shorts and robe, shadow boxing and flexing for the audience!
Mary Lou Retton won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics. She is one of the most popular athletes in US Olympic history!
Nastia Liukin was born in Moscow, Russia, and came to the United States with her family at the age of 2. She won 5 medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, including the gold medal in the all-around competition!
Lindsey Vonn is a native of Minnesota, born on October 18, 1984. She was the first American woman to win the gold medal in the downhill skiing competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Claudia Pechstein is a native of Germany and has won five Olympic gold medals throughout her speed skating career. She is the most successful Olympic speed skater, male or female, of all-time, and also the most successful German Winter Olympian of all-time!
Ian James Thorpe, now retired, has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian! With three gold and two silver medals, he was also the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Cindy Klassen was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1969. She is a long-track speed skater who is the only Canadian to have won five medals in a single Olympics. She is the current world record holder in the 3000 meter.
Grant George Hackett is most famous for winning the men's 1500 meters freestyle race at both the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens! He is 6 feet 6 inches tall.
Andrea Henkel won four Olympic medals throughout her career. They consisted of one gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in the 15 km individual, and a gold (2002), silver (2006) and bronze (2010) medal in relay competitions.
Sarah Hughes was born in New York in 1985 and stands 5 feet 5 inches tall. Coached by Robin Wagner, Hughes won gold at the 2002 Olympic Games in the Ladies' Singles competition.
Kati Wilhelm has won three gold medals in the Olympic Games. She carried the German flag at the opening ceremony in 2006 in Turin.
Shaun Roger White is best recognized for his flowing locks, as well as his talent in the halfpipe competition. He was the 2006 and 2010 Olympic gold medalist in this event!
Kelly Holmes is a native of Kent, England. Representing Great Britain, she specialized in the 800 meter and 1500 meter events and won a gold medal for both distances at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
Tirunesh Dibaba is nicknamed the "Baby Faced Destroyer." A native of Ethiopia, she has won three Olympic track gold medals, five World Championship track gold medals, four individual World Cross Country adult titles, and one individual WCC junior title.
A native of Denver, Colorado, Amy Van Dyken is 6 feet tall and a decorated Olympic swimmer and former world record-holder. She has won six Olympic gold medals in her career.
Aly Raisman was born in Needham, Massachusetts, in 1994. She was a member and captain of both the 2012 "Fierce Five" and 2016 "Final Five" U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics teams, both of which won the team competitions.
Wang Meng is the most decorated Chinese Winter Olympic athlete ever! During her career, she won four Olympic gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Kurt Angle was born on December 9, 1968, in Pennsylvania. He won a freestyle wrestling gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He made his professional debut in August of 1998.
Ryan Lochte is a 12-time Olympic medalist. He has won six gold, three silver, and three bronze medals, making him the second-most decorated swimmer behind Michael Phelps.
Simone Biles is the 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medalist, and balance beam bronze medalist! She is currently coached by Larent Landi and formerly by Aimee Boorman.
Kathleen Genevieve "Katie" Ledecky is a five-time Olympic gold medalist and 14-time world champion, the most in history for a female swimmer! She is the current world-record holder in the women's 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle events.
Ryan Murphy stands 6 feet 3 inches tall and specializes in the backstroke. He is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the men's 100-meter backstroke.
Ole Einar Bjørndalen is often referred to by his nickname, "The King of Biathlon." He is the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Winter Olympic Games, with 13 medals, 8 of which are gold.
Halvard Hanevold was born on December 3, 1969, in Asker, Norway. He has participated in the Olympics five times - 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 - winning six medals, including three gold.