Olympics records: Female athletes with most Olympic gold medals

Tokyo Olympics: Ahead of the 2020 edition of the Summer Games, Sportstar takes a look at the most prolific female sportspersons to win gold at the showpiece event.

Larisa Latynina, gymnastics (URS, 1956-1964): The most decorated female Olympic athlete of all time, Larisa Latynina, spearheaded Soviet Union’s rise at the Games with 18 medals in gymnastics, nine of which were gold. In the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, 21-year-old Latynina won four golds in the team, all-around, vault and floor exercise events. Latynina retained three of these medals at the 1960 Rome Games but missed out on the vault. In her final Olympics appearance in 1964 at Tokyo, Latynina added two golds to her tally to become the first and only gymnast to win nine Olympic golds to date. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES Photo: The Hindu
Birgit Fischer, canoe (GDR-GER, 1980-2004): German kayaker Birgit Fischer’s longevity saw her take part in six Olympic tournaments in the women’s canoe sprint. From 1980 to 2004, Fischer bagged six gold medals on her way to becoming the youngest (18) and the oldest-ever (42) to win gold in canoeing at the Olympics. - REUTERS
Jenny Thompson, aquatics (USA, 1992-2004): America’s Jenny Thompson notched up 12 medals in her Olympic career- eight of them were gold. Despite the disappointment of not winning a single individual gold in swimming, Jenny evolved to become the perfect addition to the US squad in team events across four Olympics from 1992 to 2004. Thomson won two golds (4*100m medley and freestyle) in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and helped the side retain the double gold in the 1996 Atlanta Games besides winning a 4*200m freestyle gold. In the 2000 Sydney Games, Thompson was instrumental in the US retaining all three titles once again ( 4×100-meter medley, freestyle and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay). Thompson failed to add another gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics but ended her illustrious career with eight golds, three silvers and a bronze. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES Photo: The Hindu
Vera Caslavska, gymnastics (TCH, 1960-68): Artistic gymnast Vera Caslavska lit up the Czechoslovakian dream at successive Olympic tournaments in 1964 and 1968 with a riveting display after settling for a host of silvers in 1960. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Caslavska won the All-round gold while also clinching the Vault and Balance Beam titles. Four years later, in Mexico, Caslavska retained the Vault gold while also bagging the top honours in Uneven Bars and Floor Exercise. Caslavska topped her performance with a successive All-Round gold to become one of two gymnasts to clinch the medal in consecutive Games. Caslavska continues to be Czech’s most prolific medal-winning gymnast at the Olympics. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Kristin Otto, aquatics (GDR, 1988): After missing out on the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics due to a ban on her native East Germany, Kristin Otto returned to the grand stage in 1988 in spectacular fashion. Otto’s only Games in Seoul saw her clinch six gold medals in 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 4*100 freestyle and medley races. The then 22-year-old became the first woman ever to amass six gold medals in a single Olympic tournament. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Other women to win six gold medals: Amy Van Dyken (in picture) (USA, aquatics, 1996-2000); Valentina Vezzali (ITA, fencing, 1996-2012), Isabelle Werth (GER, equestrian, 2000-2016), Allyson Felix (USA, athletics, 2004-2016)