Siblings Finishing 1-2 In Olympic Individual Events

With the Brownlee brothers finishing 1-2 in men’s triathlon just now, here are all the cases of siblings finishing 1-2 in an Olympic individual event. This is the 13th time this has occurred. Note that the Goitschel sisters did it twice in alpine skiing in 1964 at Innsbruck.

Brothers Event Year
John / Sumner Paine pistol shooting 1896
Platt / Ben Adams athletics standing high jump 1912
Nedo / Aldo Nadi fencing sabre 1920
Jennison / Jack Heaton skeleton 1928
Edoardo / Dario Mangiarotti fencing épée 1952
Raimondo / Piero D'Inzeo equestrian jumping 1960
Phil / Steve Mahre alpine skiing slalom 1984
Philipp / Simon Schoch snowboard PGS 2006
Alistair / Jonathan Brownlee men’s triathlon 2016
Sisters Event Year
Christine / Marielle Goitschel alpine skiing slalom / giant slalom 1964
Doris / Angelika Neuner luge singles 1992
Justine / Chloe Dufour-Lapointe freestyle skiing moguls 2014

Big Medals Day for USA in Track & Field Athletics

@TeamUSA had a great night (and day) in Olympic track & field on Wednesday. They won 7 medals, with 2 golds, 3 silvers, and 2 bronzes.

The highlights were the women’s medal sweep in the 100 metre hurdles, with Brianna Rollins winning gold, Nia Ali silver, and Kristi Castlin bronze; Britney Reese and Tianna Bartoletta winning gold-silver in the women’s long jump; Evan Jager winning a silver medal in the men’s 3,000 metre steeplechase, the first by a USA runner since 1920, and the first better than a bronze since 1952; and Tori Bowie taking bronze in the women’s 200 metres.

How does 7 medals in athletics (track & field) stack up against previous dominant days for @TeamUSA?

Well, all in all, we’ve done much better than that before, but that includes going back to the unusual 1900 and 1904 Olympics, and pre-WWII days. At more recent Games, this was one of the most successful days ever by @TeamUSA athletes.

This is the 24th day on which @TeamUSA athletes won 7 or more medals in athletics. Going back to 1948, however, it is tied for the 4th best day, trailing 9 on 6 August 1992, and 8 on 24 November 1956 and 8 August 1984 – and the 1984 Olympics are a special case because of the Soviet-led boycott. So one could make a case it is the =3rd best day for the USA since the 1936 Olympics.

Here is the full list of days on which @TeamUSA athletes have won 6 or more medals in track & field on a single day (35 days).

3 September 1904 7 6 5 18
16 July 1900 6 6 6 18
29 August 1904 6 5 5 16
15 July 1900 7 5 3 15
1 September 1904 4 5 5 14
31 August 1904 4 4 4 12
3 August 1932 4 3 2 9
6 August 1992 4 2 3 9
10 April 1896 4 3 1 8
24 November 1956 4 3 1 8
1 May 1906 3 3 2 8
11 July 1912 3 4 1 8
8 July 1912 2 3 3 8
8 August 1984 2 3 3 8
21 July 1952 4 2 1 7
11 August 1984 4 2 1 7
7 April 1896 3 3 1 7
2 September 1960 3 2 2 7
6 August 1984 3 3 1 7
8 August 2012 3 2 2 7
17 August 2016 2 3 2 7
1 August 1928 2 2 3 7
27 November 1956 2 3 2 7
18 August 1920 1 3 3 7
20 October 1968 4 2 0 6
27 April 1906 3 2 1 6
13 July 1924 3 0 3 6
31 July 1948 3 1 2 6
12 July 1912 2 2 2 6
16 August 1920 2 3 1 6
7 July 1924 2 2 2 6
8 July 1924 2 2 2 6
26 September 1988 2 1 3 6
10 August 1984 1 1 4 6
21 August 2008 1 3 2 6

Medal Sweeps at the Summer Olympic Games

The @TeamUSA women swept the medals in the 100 metre hurdles tonite in Rio, with Brianna Rollins winning gold, Nia Ali silver, and Kristi Castlin bronze. Here are the stats on medal sweeps by a single nation at the Summer Olympics Games (SOG) – these will not include Winter Olympic (WOG) medals sweeps, although there have been 46 medal sweeps at the WOG.

  • 283rd medal sweep by a nation at the Summer Olympics
  • 86th medal sweep in athletics (track & field)
  • 57th medal sweep by women (any sport)
  • 7th medal sweep by women in athletics (3 Soviet Union, 1 GDR, 1 Russia, 1 Jamaica)
  • 1st medal sweep in the women’s 100 metre hurdles (or 80 metre hurdles)
  • 157th medal sweep by @TeamUSA (any sport) – by far the most of any nation (Great Britain, with 26, is 2nd) – more than all other nations combined
  • 25th medal sweep by @TeamUSA women
  • 62nd medal sweep by @TeamUSA in athletics (track & field)
  • 1st medal sweep by USA women in athletics
  • Medal sweeps at most recent SOG – 2000 – 2; 2004 – 4; 2008 – 7; 2012 – 2; 2016 – 1 (to date)
  • Most recent medal sweep in athletics – 2012 Jamaica – men’s 200 metres
  • Most recent medal sweep by @TeamUSA – 2008 – men’s athletics 400 metres and men’s 400 metre hurdles; and women’s individual sabre fencing

Simone Biles Rio Medal Collection

Simone Biles starred in the gymnastics competition in Rio, winning four gold medals, with three individual golds in the all-around, on floor, and on the vault. How does that stack up against previous Olympic gymnasts or previous USA women?

  • Biles’ 4 golds equals the mark for female gymnasts at a singles Olympics held by Agnes Keleti (HUN-1956), Larisa Latynina (URS-1956), Věra Čašlavska (TCH-1968), and Ecaterina Szabo (ROU-1984). Of these, only Čašlavska won all 4 golds in individual events. The record for any sport is 6 by East German swimmer Kristin Otto in 1988, with 5 other women also winning 4 golds at a singles Games – Dutch sprinter Fanny Blankers-Koen in 1948, Soviet speedskater Lidiya Skoblikova in 1964, and three swimmers, Kornelia Ender (GDR-1976), Amy Van Dyken (USA-1996), and Missy Franklin (USA-2012).
  • Biles’ 4 golds equals the best mark for @TeamUSA women at a singles Olympics, in any sport, previously set by Amy Van Dyken (SWI-1996) and Missy Franklin (SWI-2012).
  • Biles won 3 individual gold medals, which is the 2nd best mark for a single Olympics by female gymnasts, held by 6 women – Agnes Keleti (HUN-1956), Larisa Latynina (URS-1956), Věra Čašlavska (TCH-1964), Nadia Comanĕci (ROU-1976), Ecaterina Szabo (ROU-1984), and Daniela Şilivas (ROU-1988). The record of 4 individual gold medals by a gymnast at 1 games was set by Čašlavska in 1968. Two other women in other sports have won 4 individual golds at 1 games – Lidiya Skoblikova (URS-SSK-1964) and Kristin Otto (GDR-SWI-1988). Other than the gymnasts, listed above, 13 women in other sports have won 3 individual gold medals at 1 Olympic Games.
  • Biles 3 individual golds medals equals the @TeamUSA mark for any sport, by a female, previously held by swimmers Debbie Meyer (1968) and Janet Evans (1988).
  • Biles’ 5 medals (including a bronze on beam) trails only swimmer Natalie Coughlin among @TeamUSA women, who did it in 2008. Biles is now tied with 8 other American women who have won 5 medals at 1 Olympic Games – Shirley Babashoff (SWI-1976), Mary Lou Retton (GYM-1984), Shannon Miller (GYM-1992), Dara Torres (SWI-2000), Natalie Coughlin (SWI-2004 [again]), Nastia Liukin (GYM-2008), Missy Franklin (SWI-2012), and Allison Schmitt (SWI-2012). The record for women, any nation, any sport, is 7 by Mariya Horokovskaya, Soviet gymnast in 1972. Nine women, including Coughlin, have won 6 medals at 1 Olympics. Five female gymnasts have done this, including Larysa Latynina, who did it three times, in 1956, 1960, and 1964.

Of Goats And Fish

As Fonzie once said, or at least tried to say, “I was wrr- …, I was wrrooo … OK, I was not right.” Michael Phelps is the GOAT – he is the greatest Olympian of all-time.

I kept resisting this idea, that a swimmer, who gets the opportunity to compete in far more events than most Olympians, was the greatest simply because of his absurd medal count. But the numbers are out of reach. I admit it.

I had, until Rio, always stood up for a guy many of you do not know, Al Oerter. Who? Oerter was a discus thrower who won gold medals in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968. More importantly, it was the way he won them. He never won the US Olympic Trials. He never led the yearly discus throw list going into the Olympics. He was never a favorite, although maybe co-favorite in 1960. At each Olympics he set a personal best. At each Olympics he broke the Olympic record. At each Olympics he simply came through, as has no other Olympian, to win the discus gold medal.

When others spoke of Carl Lewis, or Phelps, or Paavo Nurmi, I would admit they were good choices, but there was something romantic, almost mystical, about this systems engineer, Oerter, the true amateur, who once said, “There is no job, no money, no amount of power, that can match the Olympic experience.” And who also said, after his Tokyo 1964 gold medal, won despite immense pain from a torn rib cartilage and a months old lingering neck injury, “These are the Olympics. You die for them.”

But I can no longer ignore Phelps’ medal counts. There are no adequate words to describe them, although of course, I will try (why else would I be writing this?).

I have a good friend named Steve Rerych, who you do not know, though perhaps you should. He is a cardiac surgeon with whom I trained in residency. Steve won 2 gold medals in relay swimming at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Two of his teammates were Mark Spitz and Don Schollander (another swimmer sadly lost in the mist of Olympic history). Of Spitz, Rerych once told me, “He’s a fish, not a human being.” Steve explained that Spitz really didn’t train as hard as many swimmers, he wasn’t the hardest worker, but he had an innate ability to swim faster than anybody else in the world. He would simply hop in the pool, proclaim he would set a world record today, and often did.

Phelps has similar innate ability, whether it is his physiognomy, his cardio-respiratory output, his technical prowess, or whatever it is. He combines this with what was very hard work, at least through the 2008 Olympics, and probably since 2014, making him the greatest swimmer the world has ever seen.

Phelps has won in a myriad of manners. He won as a youth in Athens, challenging Spitz’s 7 Munich gold medals when Phelps won 6. He sparkled at the height of his powers in Beijing, winning a record 8 gold medals, albeit aided by the 4×100 freestyle anchor leg of Jazon Lezak, who held off France’s Alain Bernard. Phelps struggled at London in 2012, coming off an alcohol and marijuana fog of the past 4 years, but still won 4 gold medals, while his coach, Bob Bowman, said he was really only going through the motions. And he was resplendent in Rio de Janeiro, winning 5 gold medals at a swimmer’s fossil-like age of 31.

Phelps’ numbers simply make my arguments for Oerter difficult to support any more, no matter how much I admired the man. Consider a few besides the simply astronomical count of 23 golds and 28 medals.

  • Phelps has won 5 or more gold medals at 3 Olympics (2004, 2008, 2016). Only 9 other Olympians have 5 gold medals at an Olympics, and none has done so at more than 1.
  • Phelps has won 4 or more gold medals at 4 consecutive Olympics (2004-16). Only 29 Olympians have won 4 medals at an Olympics. Three of them have done it more than 1 time – Bjørn Dæhlie (NOR-CCS), Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM), and Phelps, who has done it as often as Dæhlie and Latynina combined.
  • Phelps has won 6 or more medals at 4 consecutive Olympics (2004-16). Only 30 Olympians have won 6 medals at one Olympics, and besides Phelps, only Latynina (3 times) and Aleksey Nemov (twice) (RUS-GYM) have done it more than once.
  • If he were an NOC, Phelps would now be tied for 38th on the all-time most gold medals won list. He would now be 50th on the all-time most medals won list.
  • Phelps has won 28 medals – only two other Olympians have won at least half that number – Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) with 18, and Nikolay Andrianov (URS-GYM) with 15.
  • With 23 gold medals, Phelps has more than 2½ times the next four best Olympians, who have won 9 – Paavo Nurmi (FIN-ATH), Carl Lewis (USA-ATH), Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM), and Mark Spitz (USA-SWI).

Look at that last stat – Phelps has more than 2½ times the gold medals of Paavo Nurmi, Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz, and Larysa Latynina, and those four have always been considered among the Olympic GOATs.

I give. Phelps is the Olympic GOAT.

Harting Brothers and Consecutive Olympic Golds

Rob Harting (GER) won the discus throw at the 2012 London Olympics. Today in Rio, his brother, Christoph Harting (GER) won the same event at the 2016 Olympics. Has it ever happened before that siblings have succeeded themselves as champions in the same individual Olympic event? The media has been all over us about this, and here is the answer.

It had never happened at the Summer Olympics before the Harting brothers. So the answer was basically no.

However, at the Winter Olympics, it has happened twice. In 1956 Hayes Allen Jenkins (USA) won the men’s figure skating, and he was succeeded by his brother, David Jenkins (USA) at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. In 1964 Christine Goitschel (FRA) won the women’s Alpine skiing slalom, and was then succeeded in 1968 by her sister, Marielle Goitschel (FRA).

Anthony Ervin Again – How Old is Old?

Anthony Ervin won the men’s 50 metre freestyle tonite 16 years after he won the same race at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Anthony Ervin is 35-years-old, which is Methuselah-like for an Olympic swimmer. How does this compare to previous elderly Olympic swimmers, especially successful ones?

  • Ervin became the 7th oldest Olympic swimming medalist tonite, at 35-079 (years-days), and the 6th oldest man
  • He became the 4th oldest USA Olympic swimming medalist, after Dara Torres (41-125 in 2008), Jason Lezak (36-260 in 2012), and Edgar Adams (36-151 in 1904).
  • Ervin became the oldest Olympic swimming gold medalist, surpassing Dara Torres from 2000, when she was 33-162 and 33-155 when she won relay gold medals; and among men, Jason Lezak, who was 32-279 and 32-273 in 2008, also winning in relays.
  • He is the 4th oldest individual swimming medalist, after Torres from 2008 (50 free), William Robinson (GBR-1908, 200 breaststroke; 38-026), and Edgar Adams (1904 plunge  for distance; 36-151).
  • Ervin is easily the oldest individual swimming gold medalist ever, surpassing Inge de Bruijn (NED-2004, 30-363) among all swimmers, and among the men, going way back to Duke Kahanamoku (USA-1920, 30-009), although Michael Phelps had  bettered that earlier in Rio.

Michelle Carter and Her Dad, Michael

Michelle Carter won the women’s shot put gold medal tonite, 32 years after her father, Michael Carter, won a silver medal in the men’s shot put at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. How rare is this. Let’s look at fathers and daughter in the Olympics:

  • 230 father-daughters (F-D) have competed at the Olympics.
  • 25 F-D have both won medals
  • 3 F-D have both won gold medals – Reiner and Ingrid Klimke (FRG/GER-EQU); Carsten and Natascha Keller (FRK/GER-HOK); and Yoshekatsu and Saori Yoshida (JPN-WRE).
  • 15 @TeamUSA F-D have competed at the Olympics – Champ Hough and Lauren Hough (EQU/EQU); Jim Ochowicz and Elli Ochowicz (CYC/SSK); Thomas Scott and Lida Howell (ARC/ARC); Wink Davenport and Lindsay Davenport (VOL/TEN); Robert Zagunis and Mariel Zagunis (ROW/FEN); John Foster and Jean Foster (SHO/SHO); Lones Wigger and Deena Wigger (SHO/SHO); Butch May and Misty May-Treanor (VOL/BVO); Owen Churchill and Antonia Churchill (SAI/SAI); Bill Horton, Sr. and Joyce Horton (SAI/SAI); Mike Carter and Michelle Carter (ATH/ATH); Rafer Johnson and Jenny Johnson-Jordan (ATH/BVO); Jack Nagel and Judy Nagel (ASK/ASK); Mike Devecka and Kirstin Holum (NCO/SSK); and Stan Dunklee and Susan Dunklee (CCS/BIA).
  • 0 @TeamUSA F-D had both previously won medals (or gold medals) – the Carters are the first USA father-daughters to accomplish this.
  • 27 F-D have both competed in athletics
  • 1 @TeamUSA F-D have both competed in athletics – Michael and Michelle Carter – they were the first @TeamUSA F-D to do this in athletics
  • 4 F-D in athletics have both won medals – Fritz and Brunhilde Hendrix (GER – 1932/1960); Lennox Miller (JAM-1968/72) and Inger Miller (USA-1996); Viktor Bryzhin (URS-1988) and Yelzaveta Bryzhina (UKR-2012); and now Michael and Michelle Carter.

Anthony Ervin’s 16 Years between Gold Medals

Anthony Ervin won a gold medal tonite in the 50 metre freestyle, 16 years after he had won an individual gold medal in the same event at Sydney in 2000. This 16-year gap between gold medals, or medals, is unusual in Olympic history but this has occurred before. Here is where this unusual Phoenix-like gold medal puts Ervin in Olympic perspective, first looking only at swimmers:

  • Among swimmers, Ervin ties Dara Torres with her 16-years between gold medals in 1984 and 2000
  • In swimming, 16 years between individual medals ties by the mark set by Frank Beaurepaire (AUS, 1908-24)
  • His mark of 16 years between individual swimming golds betters the mark held by Michael Phelps, from 2004-16, and Phelps didn’t hold that too long, did he?

Now in all sports, the mark is not that unusual for years between 1st and last medal but the gap of 16 years is. This is where it puts Ervin on various Olympic lists, including all sports.

  • His 16-year gap between medals ties the USA mark held by Jonathan McKee in sailing (1984/2000), Miguel de Capriles in fencing (1932/1948), and Earl Thomson in equestrian (1932/1948)
  • His 16-year gap between gold medals ties the USA mark held by Earl Thomson in equestrian (1932/1948).
  • His 16-year gap between gold medals is 4th all-time, all nations, behind Hubert Van Innis (BEL-ARC, 1900/1920), Lars Jørgen Madsen (DEN-SHO, 1900/1920), and Manlio Di Rosa (ITA-FEN, 1936/1956), all with 20.
  • His 16-year gap between individual medals is 4th all-time, all nations, behind Hubert Van Innis (BEL-ARC, 1900/1920), Hiroshi Yamamoto (JPN-ARC, 1984/2004), and Nino Salukvadze (GEO/URS-SHO, 1988/2008).
  • His 16-year gap between individual gold medals is 2nd all-time, all nations, behind Hubert Van Innis (BEL-ARC, 1900/1920). The previous USA best was 8 years held by 10 Olympians.

3-Way Medal Ties

How rare is that 3-way tie for silver medals in the men’s 100 fly tonite? Not all that rare. There have been 21 previous cases at the Olympics where there have been 3 (or more) tied for a medal. It has happened twice for gold medals, in the men’s pommel horse in 1948 and 1988; 8 previous times for silver medals – 5 at the Summer Olympics and 3 at the Winter; and 11 times for bronze medals, most recently at the 2012 men’s athletics high jump, and including once at the Winter Games. There was one 4-way tie, in the 1984 men’s gymnastics horse vault. Here are all the examples of this.

Year Season Sport Class Event G S B TM
1948 Summer Gymnastics Men Pommelled Horse 3 0 0 3
1988 Summer Gymnastics Men Pommelled Horse 3 0 0 3
1906 Summer Athletics Men Standing High Jump 1 3 0 4
1908 Summer Athletics Men High Jump 1 3 0 4
1956 Summer Gymnastics Men Floor Exercise 1 3 0 4
1964 Summer Gymnastics Men Individual All-Around 1 3 0 4
1984 Summer Gymnastics Men Horse Vault 1 4 0 5
2016 Summer Swimming Men 100 butterfly 1 3 0 4
1906 Summer Weightlifting Men Unlimited Two Hands 1 1 3 5
1908 Summer Athletics Men Pole Vault 2 0 3 5
1912 Summer Athletics Men Pole Vault 1 2 3 6
1948 Summer Gymnastics Men Horse Vault 1 1 3 5
1980 Summer Gymnastics Women Uneven Bars 1 1 3 5
1992 Summer Athletics Men High Jump 1 1 3 5
1992 Summer Gymnastics Men Parallel Bars 1 1 3 5
1992 Summer Gymnastics Women Floor Exercise 1 1 3 5
1996 Summer Gymnastics Men Horizontal Bar 1 1 3 5
2012 Summer Athletics Men High Jump 1 1 3 5
1948 Winter Speedskating Men 500 metres 1 3 0 4
1964 Winter Speedskating Men 500 metres 1 3 0 4
1968 Winter Speedskating Women 500 metres 1 3 0 4
1928 Winter Speedskating Men 500 metres 2 0 3 5

All the Olympic Stats You'll Ever Need