Olympic Footballers – Gold Medalists and World Cup Champions

With the 2014 World Cup now underway it may surprise many of you just how few people have performed the feat of winning both Olympic gold and a World Cup winners medal. It’s only been done 11 times in the men’s game and, since the last time it happened was in 1938, there is now no man alive who has achieved the feat. Despite women’s football having spent less than 20 years as an Olympic event it’s already been 15 times on the female side, mostly by Americans.

The fact that the World Cup only began in 1930 and was dominated by professionals post World War Two gave only a small window for the Olympic/World Cup double to be realistically achieved until the advent of professionals in the late 80s.
That’s why the 11 names on the list all came from the 1930s.
7 come from the Uruguay team of the late 20s and early 30s and the other 4 from the Italian team of the late 30s.
As for Brazilians? There aren’t any. Brazil have been so far thwarted in their attempts on the Olympic championships although with a home Olympics following a home World Cup this may well change.

The women’s tournament, free of the artificial restrictions that plague the men’s event, has already seen more do the double since 1996 than in the 114 year history of men’s Olympic football.

Jose Andrade

Men (11)

Athlete NOC Olympic Gold World Cup
José Andrade URU 1924-28 1930
Héctor Castro URU 1928 1930
Pedro Cea URU 1924-28 1930
Lorenzo Fernández URU 1928 1930
Alvaro Gestido URU 1928 1930
José Nasazzi URU 1924-28 1930
Héctor Scarone URU 1924-28 1930
Sergio Bertoni ITA 1936 1938
Alfredo Foni ITA 1936 1938
Ugo Locatelli ITA 1936 1938
Pietro Rava ITA 1936 1938

Women (15)

Athlete NOC Olympic Gold World Cup
Michelle Akers USA 1996 1991 & 1999
Tisha Venturini USA 1996 1999
Brandi Chastain USA 1996 & 2004 1991 & 1999
Joy Fawcett USA 1996 & 2004 1999
Julie Foudy USA 1996 & 2004 1991 & 1999
Mia Hamm USA 1996 & 2004 1991 & 1999
Kristine Lilly USA 1996 & 2004 1991 & 1999
Shannon MacMillan USA 1996 1999
Tiffeny Milbrett USA 1996 1999
Carla Overbeck USA 1996 1999
Cindy Parlow USA 1996 & 2004 1999
Christie Pearce-Rampone USA 2004 2008 & 2012 1999
Tiffany Roberts USA 1996 & 2004 1999
Briana Scurry USA 1996 & 2004 1999
Kate Sobrero-Markgraf USA 2004 & 2008 1999
Gro Espeseth NOR 2000 1995
Bente Nordby NOR 2000 1995
Marianne Pettersen NOR 2000 1995
Hege Riise NOR 2000 1995

Mia Hamm

Looking to add their names to the list this year will be the following players. Cameroon won Olympic gold in 2000, Argentina in 2004-08, and Mexico in 2012, defeating Brazil in the final match. (Yuichi Nishimura was not refereeing the Mexico-Brazil match in London.)

Cameroon
Samuel Eto’o

Mexico
José de Jesús Corona
Carlos Salcido
Diego Antonio Reyes
Javier Aquino
Giovani dos Santos
Marco Fabián
Héctor Herrera
Raúl Jiménez
Oribe Peralta
Miguel Ángel Ponce

Argentina
Ezequiel Garay
Ezequiel Lavezzi
Fernando Gago
Javier Mascherano
Lionel Messi
Ángel di María
Pablo Zabaleta
Sergio Agüero
Sergio Romero

This is not an easy thing to do. Both the Olympics and the World Cup only take place every four years and teams cannot even use all the same players in the two tournaments – there are some age limits at the Olympics. Further, not all teams compete in both events. Great Britain competes at the Olympics, while England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate teams for the World Cup. If we limit ourselves to the World Cup era (1924-2012), here are the only nations that have even won both an Olympic and a World Cup title – note that Brazil is not on this list. Brazil has won 5 World Cups but never won an Olympic gold medal.

Winning Both World Cup Olympics
Italy 4 1
Argentina 2 2
Uruguay 2 2
France 1 1
Spain 1 1

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