Everything You Wanted to Know About Olympic Athletics Appearances

So we did a recent post on Olympians who have made more than one appearance at the Olympics. One of the replies we got back was that it would be interesting to know more about this as it relates to the best known summer Olympic sport – athletics (track & field). So here we go.

Who has appeared in each event the most times? Seven athletes have competed in the same Olympic athletics event 6 times, with Merlene Ottey doing this in 3 events – the 100, 200, and 4×100 relay – for 9 occurrences in all. But we’ll go further and list who has appeared in each track & field event the most times below, requiring at least 4 appearances. The list for each event is as follows:

Kim Collins

### Event Name NOC Gdr YR1 YR2 YR3 YR4 YR5 YR6
4 100 metres Tom Robinson BAH M 1956 1960 1964 1968
4 Hasely Crawford TTO M 1972 1976 1980 1984
4 Ray Stewart JAM M 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Ato Boldon TTO M 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 Kim Collins SKN M 1996 2000 2004 2008
5 200 metres Pietro Mennea ITA M 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988
4 Don Quarrie JAM M 1972 1976 1980 1984
4 Róbson da Silva BRA M 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Christian Malcolm GBR M 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 400 metres Chris Brown BAH M 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 800 metres Paul Martin SUI M 1920 1924 1928 1932 1936
4 José Luiz Barbosa BRA M 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Johnny Gray USA M 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Yury Borzakovsky RUS M 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 1500 metres Branko Zorko YUG M 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 Marcus O'Sullivan IRL M 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 5000 metres Emiel Puttemans BEL M 1968 1972 1976 1980
4 Craig Mottram AUS M 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 10000 metres Domingo Tibaduiza COL M 1972 1976 1980 1984
4 Haile Gebrselassie ETH M 1996 2000 2004 2008
5 Marathon Toni Bernadó AND M 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 8 tied with 4 M
5 110 metres hurdles Carlos Sala ESP M 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 6 tied with 4 M
4 400 metres hurdles Luigi Facelli ITA M 1924 1928 1932 1936
4 Samuel Matete ZAM M 1988 1992 1996 2000
4 Félix Sánchez DOM M 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Periklis Iakovakis GRE M 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Angelo Taylor USA M 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Steeplechase Cahit Önel TUR M 1948 1952 1960 1964
5 20 kilometres Walk Vladimir Golubnichy URS M 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976
5 Jeffersón Pérez ECU M 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008
4 4 x 100 metres relay Jocelyn Delecour FRA M 1956 1960 1964 1968
4 Nobuharu Asahara JPN M 1996 2000 2004 2008
4 Marc Burns TTO M 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 4 x 400 metres relay Chris Brown BAH M 2000 2004 2008 2012
6 50 kilometres Walk Jesús Ángel García ESP M 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 John Ljunggren SWE M 1948 1952 1956 1960 1964
5 Abdon Pamich ITA M 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972
5 Tim Berrett CAN M 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008
6 High Jump Dragutin Topić IOA M 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Kuniyoshi Sugioka JPN M 1960 1964 1968 1972
4 Pole Vault Javier García ESP M 1988 1992 1996 2000
4 Tim Lobinger GER M 1996 2000 2004 2008
4 Romain Mesnil FRA M 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Denys Yurchenko UKR M 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Long Jump Igor Ter-Ovanesyan URS M 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972
4 Carl Lewis USA M 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Iván Pedroso CUB M 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 Triple Jump 8 tied with 4 M
4 Shot Put 9 tied with 4 M
5 Discus Throw Aleksander Tammert EST M 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Virgilijus Alekna LTU M 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Hammer Throw Alexandros Papadimitriou GRE M 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Szymon Ziółkowski POL M 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Javelin Throw Janusz Sidło POL M 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968
5 Urs von Wartburg SUI M 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976
5 Jan Železný TCH M 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 Decathlon Georg Werthner AUT M 1976 1980 1984 1988
4 Daley Thompson GBR M 1976 1980 1984 1988
4 Erki Nool EST M 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 Roman Šebrle CZE M 2000 2004 2008 2012
6 100 metres Merlene Ottey JAM F 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
5 Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie BAH F 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
6 200 metres Merlene Ottey JAM F 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2004
5 Mary Onyali-Omagbemi NGR F 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 400 metres Sandie Richards JAM F 1988 1992 1996 2000
4 Aliann Pompey GUY F 2000 2004 2008 2012
6 800 metres Maria Mutola MOZ F 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008
5 Letitia Vriesde SUR F 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 1500 metres Carla Sacramento POR F 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 Natalia Rodríguez ESP F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 3000/5000 metres Roberta Brunet ITA F 1988 1992 1996 2000
4 Sonia O'Sullivan IRL F 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 10000 metres Derartu Tulu ETH F 1992 1996 2000 2004
5 Marathon Lidia Şimon ROU F 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Lisa Martin-Ondieki AUS F 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Lorraine Moller NZL F 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Erika Olivera CHI F 1996 2000 2004 2012
5 80/100 metres hurdles Gail Devers-Roberts USA F 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 7 tied with 4 F
4 20 kilometres Walk María Vascó ESP F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Olive Loughnane IRL F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Kristina Saltanovič LTU F 2000 2004 2008 2012
6 4 x 100 metres relay Merlene Ottey JAM F 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000
4 5 tied with 4 F
5 4 x 400 metres relay Sandie Richards JAM F 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
4 Cathy Rattray-Williams JAM F 1980 1984 1988 1992
4 Irina Khlyustova BLR F 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 High Jump Amy Acuff USA F 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 6 tied with 4 F
4 Pole Vault Monika Pyrek POL F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Svetlana Feofanova RUS F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS F 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Long Jump Willye White USA F 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972
5 Fiona May GBR F 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
5 Jackie Edwards BAH F 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008
4 Triple Jump Yamilé Aldama CUB F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Tatyana Lebedeva RUS F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Shot Put 8 tied with 4 F
6 Discus Throw Lia Manoliu ROU F 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972
6 Nicoleta Grădinaru-Grasu ROU F 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
5 Olga Fikotová-Connolly TCH F 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972
5 Ellina "Elya" Zvereva URS F 1988 1996 2000 2004 2008
5 Irina Yatchenko EUN F 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008
4 Hammer Throw Yipsi Moreno CUB F 2000 2004 2008 2012
6 Javelin Throw Tessa Sanderson GBR F 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996
5 Trine Solberg-Hattestad NOR F 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000
5 Laverne Eve BAH F 1988 1996 2000 2004 2008
5 Heptathlon/Pentathlon Sabine Braun FRG F 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000
4 Jackie Joyner-Kersee USA F 1984 1988 1992 1996
4 Irina Naumenko KAZ F 2000 2004 2008 2012
4 Austra Skujytė LTU F 2000 2004 2008 2012

Merlene Ottey

Now looking at the event-by-event appearance records, we note that 6 athletes (5 women, 1 man) competed at least 3 times in 3 events. They are as follows, with the Jamaican wonder woman Merlene Ottey having competed 6 times in 3 different events:

Name Gdr NOC Event1 ###1 Event2 ###2 Event3 ###3
Merlene Ottey F JAM 100 6 200 6 4×100 6
Pauline Davis-Thompson F BAH 100 3 200 4 4×100 3
Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie F BAH 100 5 200 4 4×100 3
Diego Ordóñez M ESP 100 3 200 3 4×100 3
Mary Onyali-Omagbemi F NGR 100 3 200 5 4×100 3
Shirley Strickland de la Hunty F AUS 100 3 4×100 3 80HH 3

So who has competed in the most Olympic track & field athletics events? This gets a little complicated. Prior to 1928 there were a number of events no longer on the Olympic Program – standing jumps, odd walk distances, both hands throws, freestyle javelin, cross-country, various team races, and so on. In addition, we count the 1906 Olympic Games, which the IOC does not (they should). Here is the list of who has competed in the most athletics events, counting all events on the Program. The column on the left does not include 1906, while the second column in includes 1906, which brings in Martin Sheridan, who would be #3 if 1906 is included (I am required to mention Sheridan by my Chocolate Lab, Marty, whose full name is Martin Sheridan Mallon).

As you can see, and will see even further, Merlene Ottey and Eric Lemming are the queen and king of track & field appearances. Ottey leads this list, but Lemming would be #1 if we count 1906, at which Games he started in 8 events.

Events w1906 Name Gdr NOC
19 19 Merlene Ottey F JAM
14 22 Eric Lemming M SWE
12 12 Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie F BAH
12 12 Mary Onyali-Omagbemi F NGR
12 12 Elmer Niklander M FIN
12 12 Géo André M FRA
12 12 Paavo Nurmi M FIN
11 11 Pietro Mennea M ITA
11 11 Pauline Davis-Thompson F BAH
11 11 Irena Szewińska-Kirszenstein F POL
11 11 Lawson Robertson M USA
11 11 Verner Järvinen M FIN
11 11 Gustav Krojer M AUT
8 15 Martin Sheridan M USA

So the question that started this was how many Olympians compete in more than 1 Olympics? The blog reader wanted to know many track & field Olympians compete in more than 1 event? Here is that table, and here we do include 1906 and all events.

#Events ### %%%
22 Events 1 0.0%
19 Events 1 0.0%
15 Events 1 0.0%
12 Events 5 0.0%
11 Events 6 0.0%
10 Events 12 0.1%
9 Events 24 0.1%
8 Events 25 0.1%
7 Events 68 0.3%
6 Events 188 0.9%
5 Events 385 1.9%
4 Events 826 4.0%
3 Events 2030 9.8%
2 Events 5429 26.3%
1 Event 11623 56.4%

Its evident that most athletics Olympians compete in only a single event, and over 92% compete in 3 or fewer events.

Now Merlene Ottey competed in 19 events but she competed in a lot of relays, 7 in all. What happens if we only look at athletics Olympians competing in individual events? Again we have 2 columns, one not including 1906, and the second column including 1906, which adds Sheridan (sorry, its required), Ray Ewry, Meyer Prinstein, and Lawson Robertson. Note that Lemming’s figures do not change – he competed only in individual events.

Eric Lemming

IndEvts w1906 Name Gdr noc
14 22 Eric Lemming M SWE
12 12 Elmer Niklander M FIN
12 12 Merlene Ottey F SLO
11 11 Verner Järvinen M FIN
11 11 Géo André M FRA
9 9 Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie F BAH
9 9 Paavo Nurmi M FIN
9 9 Miklós Kovács M HUN
9 9 Irena Szewińska-Kirszenstein F POL
9 9 Platt Adams M USA
9 9 Ralph Rose M USA
8 15 Martin Sheridan M USA
8 10 Ray Ewry M USA
7 10 Meyer Prinstein M USA
6 11 Lawson Robertson M USA

And here is the breakdown of track & field Olympians by number of individual events in which they have competed – again including 1906 and all events.

#Evts ### %%%
22 Events 1 0.0%
15 Events 1 0.0%
12 Events 2 0.0%
11 Events 3 0.0%
10 Events 4 0.0%
9 Events 11 0.1%
8 Events 12 0.1%
7 Events 32 0.2%
6 Events 73 0.4%
5 Events 203 1.1%
4 Events 565 2.9%
3 Events 1568 8.1%
2 Events 4754 24.7
1 Event 12044 62.5%

As you can see, when looking only at individual events, by far most athletes compete in only a single Olympic track & field event.

So who has competed in the most track & field events at a single Olympics? Once again, we have the problem of the many older, unusual events, we have the problem of 1906, and we have the problem of individual or team events. Here is the list of the most events at a single Olympics, counting only modern events, and counting only individual events. And again Eric Lemming tops the list. This includes all those competing in 4 or more individual events at a single Olympics, and only 3 of them are women.

### Name Gdr NOC Year Evt1 Evt2 Evt3 Evt4 Evt5 Evt6
6 Eric Lemming M SWE 1900 HJ PV LJ TJ DT HT
5 Fritz Hofmann M GER 1896 100 400 HJ TJ SP
5 Oscar Guttormsen M NOR 1908 100 200 400 110HH TJ
5 Johannes Viljoen M RSA 1928 100 110HH LJ TJ Deca
4 Alphonse Grisel M FRA 1896 100 400 LJ DT
4 Henrik Sjöberg M SWE 1896 100 HJ LJ DT
4 Bob Garrett M USA 1896 HJ LJ SP DT
4 Meyer Prinstein M USA 1904 100 400 LJ TJ
4 Vincent Duncker M GER 1906 100 400 800 110HH
4 Aage Petersen M DEN 1906 100 400 HJ LJ
4 Karl Lampelmayer M AUT 1906 100 400 LJ TJ
4 Gustav Krojer M AUT 1906 100 HJ LJ TJ
4 Jacobus Hoogveld M NED 1908 100 200 400 LJ
4 Hugo Wieslander M SWE 1908 LJ SP DT JT
4 Henry Leeke M GBR 1908 SP DT HT JT
4 Bram Evers M NED 1908 400 800 PV LJ
4 Alfredo Pagani M ITA 1912 110HH HJ LJ Deca
4 Skotte Jacobsson M SWE 1912 100 200 TJ Deca
4 Paul Hammer M LUX 1924 100 200 400 LJ
4 Valter Ever M EST 1924 HJ PV LJ Deca
4 Gretel Bolliger F SUI 1952 80HH LJ SP DT
4 Eduardo Fontecilla M CHI 1956 800 1500 Mara Steeple
4 Marijana Lubej F YUG 1968 100 200 80HH Pent
4 Eugenia Osho-Williams F SLE 1980 100 200 400 800
3 227 tied with 3

Here is the list if we include all track & field events that have ever been on the Olympic Program. A familiar face leads the list, but you will note that the top 4, who competed in 8 and 7 events, all did so in 1906. Sheridan actually entered 15 events in 1906, but got injured in the pentathlon and withdrew from a number of them.

Martin Sheridan

### name Gdr NOC Year Evt1 Evt2 Evt3 Evt4 Evt5 Evt6 Evt7 Evt8
8 Eric Lemming M SWE 1906 TJ SP DT sLJ DTg JTf StoneThr Pent
7 Gustav Krojer M AUT 1906 100 HJ LJ TJ sHJ sLJ Pent
7 Julius Wagner M GER 1906 100 LJ SP sLJ DTg StoneThr Pent
7 Martin Sheridan M USA 1906 SP DT sHJ sLJ DTg StoneThr Pent
6 Bram Evers M NED 1908 400 800 PV LJ sLJ 1600relay
6 Jacobus Hoogveld M NED 1908 100 200 400 LJ sLJ 1600relay
6 Ville Ritola M FIN 1924 5000 10000 Steeple 3KTm XC XCTm
6 Einar Nilsson M SWE 1912 SP DT Dec Pent SPb DTb
6 Martin Sheridan M USA 1908 TJ SP DT sHJ sLJ DTg
6 Eric Lemming M SWE 1900 HJ PV LJ TJ DT HT
6 Henry Leeke M GBR 1908 SP DT HT JT DTg JTf
6 Paul Weinstein M GER 1906 HJ LJ TJ sHJ sLJ JTf
6 Pierre Failliot M FRA 1912 100 200 4×100 4×400 Dec Pent
6 István Mudin M HUN 1906 SP DT sLJ DTg JTf Pent
6 Heikki Åhlman M FIN 1906 PV SP DT JTf StoneThr Pent
6 Géo André M FRA 1912 110HH HJ Dec Pent sHJ sLJ
5 39 tied with 5
4 139 tied with 4

So this is probably the list you’re looking for – most events at a single Olympics, counting only modern events, but including individual events and relays. Lemming is at the top with 6 in 1900, with 8 men who competed in 5 events in various years (none 1906), and Marion Jones in 2000 was the only woman to ever compete in 5 track & field events at a single Olympics. Or did she really compete? Maybe she has been erased – see the movie “Eraser” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vanessa Williams, and James Caan.

### Name Gdr NOC Year Evt1 Evt2 Evt3 Evt4 Evt5 Evt6
6 Eric Lemming M SWE 1900 High Jump PV LJ TJ DT HT
5 Fritz Hofmann M GER 1896 100 metres 400 HJ TJ SP
5 Oscar Guttormsen M NOR 1908 100 metres 200 400 110HH TJ
5 Charles Lelong M FRA 1912 100 metres 200 400 4×100 4×400
5 Max Herrmann M GER 1912 100 metres 200 400 4×100 4×400
5 Pierre Failliot M FRA 1912 100 metres 200 4×100 4×400 Deca
5 Johannes Viljoen M RSA 1928 100 metres 110HH LJ TJ Deca
5 Abebe Hailou M ETH 1956 100 metres 200 400 4×100 4×400
5 Beyene Legesse M ETH 1956 100 metres 200 400 4×100 4×400
5 Marion Jones F USA 2000 100 metres 200 4×100 4×400 LJ
4 74 tied with 4
3 883 tied with 3

Now a number of Olympians have competed in 2 or more track & field events at 2 or more Olympics. But only 8 Olympians have competed in 3 or more track & field events at 3 or more Olympics, with 2 of them dropping off the list if you are a 1906 stickler. There are 4 men and 4 women, with Merlene Ottey having done this a remarkable 5 times. Eric Lemming is also on this list, but that includes 1906.

3+Oly Name Gdr NOC YR1 YR2 YR3 YR4 YR5
5 Merlene Ottey F JAM 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996
3 Raelene Boyle F AUS 1972 1968 1976
3 Shirley Strickland de la Hunty F AUS 1948 1952 1956
3 Phil Edwards M CAN 1928 1932 1936
3 Diego Ordóñez M ESP 1920 1924 1928
3 Mary Onyali-Omagbemi F NGR 1992 1996 2000
3 Eric Lemming M SWE 1900 1906 1908
3 Jim Lightbody M USA 1904 1906 1908

Now yesterday Galen Rupp qualified for the 2016 US Olympic marathon team, and is talking of also running the 10,000 in Rio. Remember 1952, when Emil Zátopek won the 5,000, 10,000, and marathon? (I don’t remember it too well – I was 5-months-old) Has that ever been done before or since? In London the doyen of Olympic beat writers Phil Hersh asked me to dig up some data about how common is it now for athletes to compete in multiple related events, such as the Zátopek triple. So we looked at a few of those.

As anyone ever competed in the 100, 200, and 400 at a single Olympics. Yes, in fact, it has been done 36 times, by 32 men and 4 women. You never heard of any of them. The last to do it were females Zoila Stewart (CRC) and Ngozi Mwanamwambwa (ZAM) in 1992. The last man to do it was Daniel André, a Mauritian, in 1984.

What about running the 200, 400, and 800? This is much rarer and has only been done 4 times, by 3 men, the last of whom did it in 1924. Again, you don’t know any of the men. The woman was Eugenia Osho-Williams of Sierra Leone who in 1980 achieved the remarkable feat of running the 100, 200, 400, and 800, figuring on both these first two lists, and is the only one to do this quadruple. She did not get past the first round of any event.

What about the 400, 800, 1500 triple? Been done 7 times, 6 from 1904-12, with Israeli Mark Handelsman doing this in 1980.

Nobody has ever run the 800, 1500, and 5K at one Olympics. But in the 1500, 5K, and 10K triple, we have 5 names, 2 of whom you should know. Sweden’s Edwin Wide did this in 1924, and Kenyan Kip Keino did it in 1968. The last time it happened was in 1968, when Keino was joined by Nepali Hari Bahadur Rokaya – some of these are pretty obscure.

How about the Zátopek triple of 5K, 10K, and marathon? This has been done 17 times, and there are some pretty famous names in this group. Besides Zátopek, Lasse Virtanen (FIN) did it in 1932, and his countryman, Lasse Virén, did it in 1976, winning the 5 and 10, and placing sixth in the marathon. Ron Clarke ran all 3 events in 1964, and in 1968, Ethiopian Mamo Wolde and Kenyan Naftali Temu ran all 3 long-distance events, with Wolde winning gold in the marathon, and silver in the 10K, which was won by Temu, who also won a bronze in the 5K.

Running both hurdles races – the 110 (or 100) and 400 hurdles – has been done only 4 times. It happened in 1928 and 1932, and the last 2 times it occurred was in 1964.

In 1936 Jesse Owens won the 100, 200 and long jump, as did Carl Lewis in 1984. How often have people even competed in this sprinting-oriented triple? It has happened 21 times, with Lewis doing it in 1984 and 1988, and he was the last man. Several famous women did this – Irena Szewińska-Kirszenstein (POL) did it in 1968, Heide Drechsler-Daute (GDR) did it in 1988, and Marion Jones (USA) did it in 2000, unless she has been erased.

At London in 2012 American Will Claye competed in the long jump and triple jump, as did Australian Henry Frayne. This is pretty common as this made 142 times this has been achieved at a single Olympics.

Let’s not forget the big guys and gals, the weight throwers. Shot put and discus throw is a common double for the throwers to pull off. In fact, its been done 185 times at the Olympics, most notably by Soviet Tamara Press, who won both events in 1968, and in 1964 won the shot put and won silver in the discus. In 1906, Martin Sheridan also won both events – there, I got him in again.

Have any throwers ever competed in more than 2 events? Of course they have – why else would I bring it up? Between 1900-24, 13 throwers competed 14 times in 3 or more of the weight throwing events (shot, discus, hammer, javelin). American Ralph Rose did it in 1904 and 1912, competing in the shot, discus, and hammer each time, winning a complete set of medals in all three events in 1904 – gold in shot put, silver in discus throw, and bronze in hammer throw. Perhaps most remarkably, in 1908 Britian Henry Leeke competed in all four throwing events, the only time this has been done at the Olympics.

So this should answer pretty much any question you had about who has competed in the most track & field athletics events.

With thanx to my research associates, Martin Sheridan Mallon (the lab) and Barney Rubble Mallon (the Westie)

MartyBarney

 

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