Countries winning medals in just a single sport

The best performing countries, such as the US, the major European nations and, in recent decades, China, earn medals in a large variety of sports. Other countries, however are very dependent on a single sport to earn their medals.

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Hanni Wenzel is the most successful Olympic athlete from Liechtenstein.

In all, 41 nations have only won medals in a single sport. In 27 of these cases, this is not a very interesting finding, as these are countries which have only ever won a single Olympic medal. Looking at the remaining 14 nations with at least two medals, Ethiopia clearly stands out. The nation’s long distance runners have racked up a total of 45 Olympic medals. Apart from the track, Ethiopia’s best Olympic result is a quarter-final spot (=5th place) for boxer Chanyalew Haile in 1972. Second in line, with 9 medals, is Liechtenstein, which has won all of its medals in alpine skiing. The tiny Alpine nation is also the only country to have only medaled in the Winter Olympics.

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Frankie Fredericks has won all four of Namibia’s Olympic medals.

The rest of the nations in the list have largely depended on a single athlete to win their medals. For example, Namibian sprinter Frankie Fredericks won four silver medals in the 1990s.


Country, Sport,Medals

Ethiopia, Athletics, 45
Liechtenstein, Alpine Skiing, 9
Costa Rica, Swimming, 4
Namibia, Athletics, 4
Independent Olympic Athletes, Shooting, 3
Panama, Athletics, 3
Afghanistan, Taekwondo, 2
Ecuador, Athletics, 2
Kuwait, Shooting, 2
Mozambique, Athletics, 2
Sri Lanka, Athletics, 2
Suriname, Swimming, 2
Tanzania, Athletics, 2
West Indies Federation, Athletics, 2


If we expand our view slightly, we could look at the percentage of medals won by a nation in a single sport. Ignoring the 41 nations already mentioned, we get two more track and field giants at the top. Sprint island Jamaica has only ever won a single medal outside athletics, by David Weller in track cycling. Kenya, a long distance running nation like Ethiopia, has won seven medals in boxing.

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One of Kenya’s first long distance stars was Kipchoge Keino.

The only nations that have won more than 100 medals which owe more than a third of their medals to a single sport are Australia, which has earned 37.6% of their medals in the swimming pool, and Austria, which collected 114 medals (35.2%) in alpine skiing.


Country, Sport, Medals, Total medals, %

Jamaica, Athletics, 66, 67, 98.5%
Kenya, Athletics, 79, 86, 91.9%
Zimbabwe, Swimming, 7, 8, 87.5%
Morocco, Athletics, 19, 22, 86.4%
Bahamas, Athletics, 10, 12, 83.3%
Malaysia, Badminton, 5, 6, 83.3%
Pakistan, Hockey, 8, 10, 80.0%
Trinidad & Tobago, Athletics, 14, 18, 77.8%
Ghana, Boxing, 3, 4, 75.0%
Lebanon, Wrestling, 3, 4, 75.0%
Peru, Shooting, 3, 4, 75.0%
Puerto Rico, Boxing, 6, 8, 75.0%
Singapore, Table Tennis, 3, 4, 75.0%


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All but one of Zimbabwe’s medals have been won by swimmer Kirsty Coventry.

When Olympic boxing champions meet for the World Heavyweight Championships

On the 30th of October 1974 George Foreman, the reigning professional heavyweight boxing champion of the world, stepped into a ring in Kinshasa, Zaire to defend his title against former champion Muhammad Ali. What happened next has entered sporting folklore as arguably the most famous fight of all time, the Rumble in the Jungle.


But of course as this is a blog concerning the Olympic Games we’ll choose to dwell on another aspect of the match – that of it being one of the rare instances where two Olympic champions have fought each other for the World Heavyweight title. Boxing became an Olympic sport in 1904 and, with the exception of 1912, has remained in the Games ever since but in that span of 110 years only eleven times have two Olympic champions met for what is regularly described as “the greatest prize in professional sport”.

So when exactly has this happened? The answer is below. The list is restricted to generally accepted versions of the titles. Of the 11 instances documented, 6 involve Muhammad Ali.

#1 22/8/1957 Floyd Patterson KO 6 Pete Rademacher
Floyd Patterson, the champion at middleweight in Helsinki in 1952 at just 17, became the youngest ever heavyweight champion whilst still only 21. As many of the leading contenders for the title were under the control of the International Boxing Club of New York (which had links to organised crime) Patterson’s handlers shied from fighting them and were inventive in choosing opponents.
Pete Rademacher had won the heavyweight gold medal at the Melbourne Games nine months before he faced Patterson for the title and, amazingly, this was to be his professional debut. Rademacher started well, winning the first round then putting Patterson on the canvas in the second but Patterson recovered and battered his way to an emphatic six round victory.

#2 22/11/1965 Muhammad Ali TKO 12 Floyd Patterson
Patterson, having lost his world title via a crushing defeat to Sonny Liston had rebounded well enough to earn a shot at Muhammad Ali, who as Cassius Clay, had won the Olympic light-heavyweight title in 1960. Patterson injured his back in training but refused to pull out of the fight. Accepted history records that Ali “mocked, humiliated and punished Patterson throughout before knocking him out in the 12th round” but an interview with Ali conducted post-fight revealed that Ali, knowing Floyd was in serious pain through his injury, backed off and waited for the fight to be stopped or for Patterson to retire.

#3 8/3/1971 Joe Frazier Pts 15 Muhammad Ali
“The Fight of the Century”, as it was called, pitted Ali, who was back in the ring after being stripped of his belt and suspended after refusing the draft, with the 1964 Olympic heavyweight champion, “Smokin’” Joe Frazier. It was a fight that lived up to the hype as the two men traded blow for blow before a celebrity studded Madison Square Garden crowd. Frazier scored a knockdown in the final round to seal victory.

Ali-Frazier I

#4 22/1/1973 George Foreman TKO 2 Joe Frazier
Kingston, Jamaica saw the “Immovable Object”, reigning heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, go head to head with the “Irresistible Force” in the shape of 1968 Olympic heavyweight champion George Foreman. Unfortunately for him, Frazier proved all too movable and mostly in the downwards direction. The champion was sent to the canvas six times before the referee proclaimed Foreman the winner. In American television this fight was famous for Howard Cosell, announcing it, who kept proclaiming, after each knockdown, “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”. This was the 1st time two Olympic heavyweight champions had met for the professional heavyweight title.

#5 30/10/1974 Muhammad Ali KO 8 George Foreman
This is where we came in. In the unlikely setting of a football stadium in downtown Kinshasa, Zaire, one of the famous events not just in boxing but in all sports, took place. Foreman, considered a monster of the ring, was the clear favourite against the older Ali but after dominating the early exchanges he ran out of steam and Ali took advantage to record a stunning knockout victory. 40 years later it remains a landmark in sporting history.

#6 1/10/1975 Muhammad Ali TKO 14 Joe Frazier
Ali and Frazier had fought a rematch in 1974 with Ali gaining revenge via a unanimous points decision. After Ali regained the heavyweight title later that year it became inevitable that a third match between the two would take place. The fight would take place in Manila in October 1975 and is widely considered to be one of the best, and certainly most brutal, bouts in history. In the 14th round, with both men nearing the point of total exhaustion, Ali unleashed a devastating series of punches which led to Frazier retiring in his corner between rounds. Neither man was ever the same again. The two men had been mutually antagonistic throughout their careers but after the fight Ali commented – “Fighting Joe Frazier is the closest to death I can ever imagine. If I’m ever called to a Holy War I want Joe Frazier fighting besides me.”

#7 15/2/1978 Leon Spinks Pts 15 Muhammad Ali
#8 15/9/1978 Muhammad Ali Pts 15 Leon Spinks

Now in the twilight of his career, Ali arranged what seemed like a routine defence against the 1976 Olympic light-heavyweight champion Leon Spinks. In the first meeting Spinks turned up fit and hungry and in only his 8th professional fight used his youth and fitness to finish strongly and win a split decision victory over a subdued and listless Ali. Seven months later and the tide had turned in the favour of the old champion. Spinks, by then in the early stages of drink and drug dependency, was easily outpointed by a better prepared Ali.

Ali-Spinks II

#9 16/3/2002 Wladimir Klitschko TKO 6 Ray Mercer
After a gap of 23 years two Olympic champions stepped into the ring to battle for the heavyweight title once again in 2002. The occasion was a defence of the WBO title by Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko, the 1996 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medal winner, against Ray Mercer, winner of the Olympic title at heavyweight back in 1988. The 41 year old Mercer was expected to be little more than a sacrificial victim for the younger man and that’s exactly how it turned out. The referee stepped in to protect Mercer from further punishment in round 6.

#10 5/10/2013 Wladimir Klitschko Pts 12 Aleksandr Povetkin
The bout matched Wladimir Klitschko, who held the IBF and WBO world titles as well as the WBA “Super-World” title with Alexander Povetkin of Russia who merely held the WBA “regular” World Heavyweight title (confusing, but that’s modern professional boxing…). Anyone who’s ever read a comic book will tell you that Superman always beat Regularman and that is exactly what happened in their bout in Moscow. Klitschko won every round and knocked his opponent down four times on his way to a totally one sided victory. He continued to be the best heavyweight in the world for another few years


#11 29/4/2017 Anthony Joshua TKO 11 Wladimir Klitschko
Klitschko, after losing his world titles to Tyson Fury in 2015, returned to the ring to challenge 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight champion Joshua for the IBF and WBA titles.
For the first time in this list the venue, Wembley Stadium, had itself hosted Olympic Games events five years earlier. After a cautious opening Joshua sent the Ukrainian to the canvas in round 5 but, despite being the younger man by more than a decade, he exhausted himself in the process and was knocked down by Klitschko in the following round. The British fighter recovered and in the penultimate round of the scheduled twelve he again went for the knockout. The referee was forced to stop the fight with Klitschko helpless on the ropes after getting up from his second knockdown of the round.

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Teófilo Stevenson

Boxer, multiple gold medalist, Cuban hero, greatest ever Olympic heavyweight



Full Name,Teófilo Stevenson Laurence

Used Name,Teófilo Stevenson


Born,29 March 1952; Puerto Padre (CUB)

Died,11 June 2012; La Habana (Havana) (CUB)

Measurements,190 cm / 95 kg











1972 Summer,Boxing,Heavyweight,1,Gold

1976 Summer,Boxing,Heavyweight,1,Gold

1980 Summer,Boxing,Heavyweight,1,Gold


It is safe to describe Téofilo Stevenson as the greatest heavyweight boxer never to be the world’s professional champion. In fact, Stevenson never even fought for the title because he never turned professional. Stevenson’s first international appearance was in 1971 at the Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, where he lost a decision in the semi-finals to the United States’ Duane Bobick and took bronze.

In 1972 at München, Stevenson won a re-match with Bobick en route to winning his first Olympic gold medal, for which he was awarded the Val Barker Trophy as the top boxer at the Olympics. Stevenson also won the Olympic heavyweight gold medal in 1976 and 1980, making him one of only three men to win three Olympic boxing gold medals (Hungary’s László Papp and Félix Savón are the others). In addition, Stevenson won golds at the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games, and was world amateur champion in 1974, 1978, and 1986.

It is likely that Stevenson would have won a fourth Olympic gold medal at Los Angeles, had the Cubans not boycotted the 1984 Olympics. American professional boxing promoters coveted Stevenson’s talent, his good looks, and body-builder like body. He was offered $5 million by professional promoters to fight Muhammad Ali, but never fought professionally. But he refused all entreaties to turn professional and remained an amateur to continue boxing for the honor of his country.

Bill Stevenson

Military hero, Rhodes Scholar, Gold Medalist, US Ambassador



Full Name,William Edwards “Bill” Stevenson

Used Name,Bill Stevenson

Born,25 October 1900; Chicago (IL) (USA)

Died,2 April 1985; Fort Myers (FL) (USA)

Measurements,183 cm / 77 kg

Affiliations,New York Athletic Club




1924 Summer,Athletics,4 × 400 metres Relay,1,Gold


After leaving Phillips Andover Academy, Bill Stevenson served in the Marine Corps, winning the Bronze Star, and then entered Princeton in 1920. The following year he was ranked as the top quarter-miler in America and won the AAU 440y in 48.6, which proved to be the best time of his career. Later in the season he beat the reigning Olympic champion, Bevil Rudd, in the dual meet between Princeton/Cornell and Oxford/ Cambridge.

In 1923, Stevenson went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and placed second in the match against Cambridge before winning the British title. In the Olympic year he had a poor start to the season, finishing only third in the match against Cambridge and in the British championships, but he fully justified his selection for the Olympic relay team by turning a 2-meter deficit into a 5-meter advantage on the second leg. In 1925, his last year at Oxford, Stevenson finally won the quarter-mile against Cambridge and he closed his career back on American tracks with victories for the combined Oxford/Cambridge team against teams from Harvard/ Yale and Princeton/Cornell.

Bill Stevenson, who also represented Oxford at lacrosse, was admitted as a barrister-at-law in England in 1925 and in 1927 he became a member of the New York Bar. He eventually became a partner in the law firm of Deboise, Stevenson, Plimpton & Tage, and from 1946 until 1959 he served as president of Oberlin College. He also held numerous civic and government posts, the most distinguished of these being his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines from 1961 to 1964.

Personal Best: 400 – 48.3y (1921).

Medals In Every Event Entered

We looked earlier at Olympians who won every event they entered at the Olympics – see “The Undefeated Olympians” from 25 June 2014. But what about those Olympians who may not have won a gold medal in every event, but still won a medal in every Olympic event they entered? How many of those have there been?

Well, that number is pretty big, but let’s look at those Olympians who entered the most events and still won medals in all of them. Here is the list for the Summer Olympics, including all those winning medals in 6 or more events:



Paavo Nurmi,M,FIN,ATH,9,3,0,12

Natalie Coughlin,F,USA,SWI,3,4,5,12

Ray Ewry,M,USA,ATH,10,0,0,10

Carl Lewis,M,USA,ATH,9,1,0,10

Gary Hall Jr.,M,USA,SWI,5,3,2,10

Valentina Vezzali,F,ITA,FEN,6,1,2,9

Zoltán von Halmay,M,HUN,SWI,3,5,1,9

Isabell Werth,F,GER,EQU,5,3,0,8

Kornelia Ender,F,GDR,SWI,4,4,0,8

Aaron Peirsol,M,USA,SWI,5,2,0,7

Tom Jager,M,USA,SWI,5,1,1,7

Mariya Gorokhovskaya,F,URS,GYM,2,5,0,7

Rudolf Kárpáti,M,HUN,FEN,6,0,0,6

Kristin Otto,F,GDR,SWI,6,0,0,6

Steven Redgrave,M,GBR,ROW,5,0,1,6

Lucien Gaudin,M,FRA,FEN,4,2,0,6

Matt Grevers,M,USA,SWI,4,2,0,6

Kim Su-Nyeong,F,KOR,ARC,4,1,1,6

Wu Minxia,F,CHN,DIV,4,1,1,6

Viktor Sidyak,M,URS,FEN,4,1,1,6

Doina Ignat,F,ROU,ROW,4,1,1,6

Murray Rose,M,AUS,SWI,4,1,1,6

Max Décugis,M,FRA,TEN,4,1,1,6

Rebecca Soni,F,USA,SWI,3,3,0,6

Renate Stecher,F,GDR,ATH,3,2,1,6

Daniela Silivaş,F,ROU,GYM,3,2,1,6

Rüdiger Helm,M,GDR,CAN,3,0,3,6


Paavo Nurmi
There are 13 females and 15 males in the above list, with 11 sports represented. Paavo Nurmi leading with 12 medals in 12 events is not a surprise, but few would likely have picked Natalie Coughlin to tie Nurmi at 12.

For the Winter Olympics, there are less events and the Olympians tend to have won fewer medals, so we’ll look only at those who won medals in all of their 4 or more events:



Wolfgang Hoppe,M,GER,BOB,2,3,1,6

Eugenio Monti,M,ITA,BOB,2,2,2,6

Matti Nykänen,M,FIN,SKJ,4,1,0,5

Jayna Hefford,F,CAN,ICH,4,1,0,5

Hayley Wickenheiser,F,CAN,ICH,4,1,0,5

André Lange,M,GER,BOB,4,1,0,5

Samppa Lajunen,M,FIN,NCO,3,2,0,5

Caroline Ouellette,F,CAN,ICH,4,0,0,4

Bernhard Germeshausen,M,GDR,BOB,3,1,0,4

Gillis Grafström,M,SWE,FSK,3,1,0,4

Vladislav Tretyak,M,URS,ICH,3,1,0,4

Jennifer Botterill,F,CAN,ICH,3,1,0,4

Becky Kellar,F,CAN,ICH,3,1,0,4

Meinhard Nehmer,M,GDR,BOB,3,0,1,4

Yevgeny Plyushchenko,M,RUS,FSK,2,2,0,4

Jan Behrendt,M,GER,LUG,2,1,1,4

Stefan Krauße,M,GER,LUG,2,1,1,4

Igor Kravchuk,M,RUS,ICH,2,1,1,4

Bjarte Engen Vik,M,NOR,NCO,2,1,1,4

Lyubov Kozyreva-Baranova,F,URS,CCS,1,3,0,4

Josef Benz,M,SUI,BOB,1,2,1,4

Bernhard Lehmann,M,GDR,BOB,1,2,1,4

Fred Anton Maier,M,NOR,SSK,1,2,1,4

Erich Schärer,M,SUI,BOB,1,2,1,4

Angela Ruggiero,F,USA,ICH,1,2,1,4

Jenny Schmidgall-Potter,F,USA,ICH,1,2,1,4

Sten Stensen,M,NOR,SSK,1,1,2,4

Radiya Yeroshina,F,URS,CCS,0,3,1,4

Julie Chu,F,USA,ICH,0,3,1,4

Jiří Holík,M,TCH,ICH,0,2,2,4

Saku Koivu,M,FIN,ICH,0,1,3,4

Ville Peltonen,M,FIN,ICH,0,1,3,4

Leo Visser,M,NED,SSK,0,1,3,4


Hayley Wickenheiser

The Winter list has 33 Winter Olympians with 4 or more medals, interestingly led by two bobsledders – Wolfgang Hoppe and Eugenio Monti with 6 each. There are 10 females and 23 males, representing 8 sports.

In both lists, those who were in our previous undefeated post can be seen – Ray Ewry with 10, Rudolf Karpati and Kristin Otto with 6 among the Summer Olympians; and Caroline Ouellette with 4 among the Winter Olympians.

Paul Austin

Rower,Coca-Cola CEO,lawyer,PGA Tour Exec



Full Name,John Paul Austin

Used Name,Paul Austin

Other Name,J. Paul Austin

Born,14 February 1915; LaGrange Georgia (USA)

Died,26 December 1985; Atlanta Georgia (USA)

Affiliations,Riverside Boat Club




1936 Summer,Rowing,Coxed Fours,2 heat 3 rd 2/3,—–



Paul Austin attended Harvard where he rowed on the crew team, and later attended Harvard Law School. His Harvard coach once commented, “If you wanted to beat Paul Austin, you’d have to kill him.” After World War II, where he served in the Navy and commanded a PT boat as a lieutenant-commander, he returned to his native Atlanta, and joined The Coca-Cola Company, having been recruited by the legendary Coke chairman, Robert Woodruff. Woodruff groomed Austin as his successor. He became the 10th president of Coca-Cola in 1962, and took over as Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola in 1966, staying in that role thru 1980. Under his tenure, Coke enjoyed 15 consecutive years of market value growth, and he was considered instrumental in expanding its international presence. He also served for a time in the 1970s as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PGA Tour.

Gymnasts are no longer the stars of the Olympics

While the world’s top gymnasts are competing at the World  Championships in Nanning, China, we look into a remarkable trend in Olympic gymnastics.

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From 1928 through 1992, a gymnast was always among the top 3 athletes with the most medals at the Olympics. On 10 of those 15 occassions, the gymnast was ranked first. Since then, only one gymnast has reached the top 3, Zou Kai in 2008.

One might argue that this is due increased competition from athletes in other sports (which may be the case), but the number medals gymnasts are winning is also decreasing. At the last three Olympic Games, the top gymnast earned a total of three medals, while the average between 1928 and 2000 was between five and six medals.

Below are the highest ranking gymnasts at each Olympics since 1924, when individual apparatus events were introduced.


Year,Overall Rank,Gymnast,NOC,Gold,Silver,Bronze

1924,7,Francesco Martino,ITA,2,0,0

1924,7,Leon Štukelj,YUG,2,0,0
1928,1,Georges Miez,SUI,3,1,0
1932,1,Romeo Neri,ITA,3,0,0
1936,2,Konrad Frey,GER,3,1,2
1948,2,Veikko Huhtanen,FIN,3,1,1
1952,1,Viktor Chukarin,URS,4,2,0
1956,1,Ágnes Keleti,HUN,4,2,0
1960,1,Borys Shakhlin,URS,4,2,1
1964,2,Věra Čáslavská,TCH,3,1,0
1968,1,Věra Čáslavská,TCH,4,2,0
1972,2,Sawao Kato,JPN,3,2,0
1976,1,Nikolay Andrianov,URS,4,2,1
1980,1,Aleksandr Dityatin,URS,3,4,1
1984,1,Ecaterina Szabo,ROU,4,1,0
1988,3,Viktor Artyomov,URS,4,1,0
1992,1,Vitaly Shcherbo,EUN,6,0,0
1996,7,Aleksey Nemov,RUS,2,1,3
2000,7,Aleksey Nemov,RUS,2,1,3
2004,5,Cătălina Ponor,ROU,3,0,0
2008,2,Zou Kai,CHN,3,0,0
2012,14,Zou Kai,CHN,2,0,1


Why is this happening? We suspect that the reason is the increasing degree of specialization for the individual apparatus events. Of the six male gold medallists in London 2012, two (Arthur Zanetti-Rings and Krisztián Berki-Pommelled Horse) only competed in their specialism. None of the other four athletes competed in the individual all-around, with only Zou Kai reaching a second apparatus final – in which he won a bronze medal, too. Things were a bit different among women, though, as Aly Raisman, Aliya Mustafina and Sandra Izbașa reached one additional final (Raisman and Mustafina winning bronze).

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If we expand our view a bit, specialization does appear to be a trend. At each Olympics, there are ten apparatus events (six for men, four for women), with at least three medals awarded in each event (in case of ties, more than three athletes per event may receive medals). If we look at the number of gymnasts dividing those medal, that number gradually increasing. For decades, around 11 gymnasts divided the men’s medals, while for the last three Games that number is 16. The lowest number came in 1980, when only eight men divided the medals, with Aleksandr Dityatin taking a medal on each apparatus. Among women the number of distinct medallists has increased from 7 to 10, as shown in the chart below.


Not just the apparatus gymnasts are specialists – the all-around gymnasts are also becoming specialists. From 1924 through 1992, the men’s winner of the individual all-around always won at least one additional gold medal on an apparatus. Since then, the all-around winner “merely” added a single silver medal, save for Aleksey Nemov in 2000. In the women’s field the all-around winner had already been less successful historically, but 2012 marked the first time the winner (Gabby Douglas) did not win any apparatus medal at all. These trends are visible in the below charts.



Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach

Sailor, Bronze Medalist, German Industrialist, Metallurgy, German War Minister, Nazi Party Member



Full Name,Alfried Felix Alwyn von Bohlen und Halbach (-Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach)

Used Name,Alfried von Bohlen und Halbach

Born,13 August 1907; Essen-Nordrhein-Westfalen (GER)

Died,30 July 1967; Essen-Nordrhein-Westfalen (GER)

Affiliations,NRV Hamburg




1936 Summer,Sailing,8 metres,3,Bronze


Alfried Felix Alwyn Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, usually known as Alfried Krupp, was the son of the former Bertha Krupp and her husband, Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, and one whose Olympic participation was a mere footnote to his life. Bertha Krupp was an heir to the well-known Krupp family business, Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, the largest company in Europe before World War II.


Alfried Krupp studied metallurgy at several German universities, earning a Master’s degree from the Aachener Technische Hochschule in 1934, writing a thesis on melting steel in vacuums, and then joined the family business in 1936. The Krupp company was a steel and metal producer that would eventually contribute greatly to the German war effort.

In 1931 Alfried Krupp joined the German SS (Schutzstaffel) and became a member of the Nazi Party in 1938. When his father suffered a stroke, Alfried Krupp became head of the firm. Under his leadership, the company used slave labor, often removing Jews from concentration camps to help work in the factories. He worked closely with the SS to obtain slave labor from the concentration camps, and made his employees work in very brutal conditions even when it was obvious that the war was lost. Krupp was German Minister for the War Economy 1943-45.

After the war ended, Krupp’s use of slave labor was investigated by the Allied Military Government, and after what was known as the Krupp Trial (technically The United States of America vs. Alfried Krupp, et al.), he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for “crimes against humanity.” He was also required to forfeit much of his property. Krupp was pardoned after three years in prison by John McCloy, America High Commissioner for Germany, and his property was restored.

Alfried Krupp resumed control of his family company in 1953. He led the company until his death in 1967, after which it passed to the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, a philanthropic organization, which remained the majority shareholder into the 21st century, with the company later known as ThyssenKrupp AG, after mergers with other firms.

How Long Did They Enjoy Their Olympic Memories?

OlympStats reader David Clark of Australia asked, “What is the shortest or longest time an Olympian has been able to enjoy their Olympic medal prior to their death?” A great question and one we had to work on a little bit to get all the details.

Fully 45 athletes have died within one year of winning their final Olympic medal. Göpf Kottmann, a Swiss rower from 1964, died only 22 days after winning his single sculls bronze medal, closely followed by Swedish fencer Gösta Algren, who lived only 23 days after his fencing team épée silver in 1936. American archer G. C. Spencer won a gold medal in the 1904 team archery event, but enjoyed it for only 28 days, although he was 64-years-old when he won his medal. Here are the 36 that died within 275 days of winning an Olympic medal – an arbitrary number we chose because it gets us to the 1948 Czechoslovakian ice hockey airplane tragedy, in which six of their players died in the crash of their charter plane flying from Paris to London for a match.



0-022,32,Göpf Kottmann,M,SUI,S,1964,ROW,Single Sculls,B,1932,1964,1964

0-023,30,Gösta Almgren,M,SWE,S,1936,FEN,Épée Team,S,1906,1936,1936

0-028,64,G. C. Spencer,M,USA,S,1904,ARC,Team,G,1840,1904,1904

0-048,27,Rich Sanders,M,USA,S,1972,WRE,Light-Middle FS,S,1945,1972,1972

0-062,24,Piet Salomons,M,NED,S,1948,WAP,Water Polo,B,1924,1948,1948

0-068,30,Miguel Caldés,M,CUB,S,2000,BSB,Baseball,S,1970,2000,2000

0-081,23,José de Figueroa,M,ESP,S,1920,POL,Polo,S,1897,1920,1920

0-088,35,David Bratton,M,USA,S,1904,WAP,Water Polo,G,1869,1904,1904

0-091,20,Bekzat Sattarkhanov,M,KAZ,S,2000,BOX,Light-Middleweight,G,1980,2000,2000

0-101,42,John Black,M,CAN,S,1924,SHO,Trap Team,S,1882,1924,1924

0-103,22,Waldemar Malak,M,POL,S,1992,WLT,Middle-Heavy,B,1970,1992,1992

0-106,33,Gösta Magnusson,M,SWE,S,1948,WLT,Light-Heavy,B,1915,1948,1948

0-113,15,Bianca Ambrosetti,F,ITA,S,1928,GYM,Team All-Around,S,1914,1928,1929

0-122,26,George Van Cleaf,M,USA,S,1904,WAP,Water Polo,G,1879,1904,1905

0-126,26,Yuliya Riabchynska,F,URS,S,1972,CAN,K1-500 m,G,1947,1972,1973

0-130,26,John B. Taylor,M,USA,S,1908,ATH,1600 medley relay,G,1882,1908,1908

0-143,23,Viktor Blinov,M,URS,W,1968,ICH,Ice Hockey,G,1945,1968,1968

0-150,45,Selwin Calverley,M,GBR,S,1900,SAI,20+ Ton,S,1855,1900,1900

0-151,22,Ivo Van Damme,M,BEL,S,1976,ATH,1500 metres,S,1954,1976,1976

0-161,24,Konrad Hirsch,M,SWE,S,1924,FTB,Football,B,1900,1924,1924

0-205,27,Joseph Olivier,M,FRA,S,1900,RUG,Rugby,G,1874,1900,1901

0-212,59,Petre Roşca,M,ROU,S,1980,EQU,Dressage Team,B,1922,1980,1981

0-212,25,Kostas Tsiklitiras,M,GRE,S,1912,ATH,Standing High Jump,B,1888,1912,1913

0-217,25,Kostas Tsiklitiras,M,GRE,S,1912,ATH,Standing Long Jump,G,1888,1912,1913

0-218,26,Sayed Jaffar,M,IND,S,1936,HOK,Hockey,G,1911,1936,1937

0-222,31,Radivoj Korać,M,YUG,S,1968,BAS,Basketball,S,1938,1968,1969

0-240,33,George Calnan,M,USA,S,1932,FEN,Épée Team,B,1900,1932,1933

0-246,33,George Calnan,M,USA,S,1932,FEN,Foil Team,B,1900,1932,1933

0-255,24,George Saling,M,USA,S,1932,ATH,110 m hurdles,G,1909,1932,1933

0-269,24,Miloslav Bednařík,M,TCH,S,1988,SHO,Trap,S,1965,1988,1989

0-274,30,Zdeněk Jarkovský,M,TCH,W,1948,ICH,Ice Hockey,S,1918,1948,1948

0-274,22,Miloslav Pokorný,M,TCH,W,1948,ICH,Ice Hockey,S,1926,1948,1948

0-274,25,Karel Stibor,M,TCH,W,1948,ICH,Ice Hockey,S,1923,1948,1948

0-274,31,Vilibald Šťovík,M,TCH,W,1948,ICH,Ice Hockey,S,1917,1948,1948

0-274,34,Ladislav Troják,M,TCH,W,1948,ICH,Ice Hockey,S,1914,1948,1948


Bekzat Sattarkhanov

Now who was able to enjoy their medal for the longest time? Fifty-seven (57) now deceased Olympic medalists lived 75 or more years after winning their Olympic medal, led by Finnish gymnast Jalmari Kivenheimo, who won a silver medal in 1912 and lived 82 years, 111 days more (although this record is being broken by Clara Marangoni, who is still living – see below). American diver Aileen Riggin lived longer than any gold medalist after winning that gold, as she survived 82 years, 51 days after her victory in 1920 at age 14 – although technically this record has already been broken by a living Olympian – see the note at the end of the following table. Here are all those who lived 78 or more years after winning an Olympic medal:



82-111,105,Jalmari Kivenheimo,M,FIN,S,1912,GYM,Team All-Around,S,1889,1912,1994

82-051,96,Aileen Riggin,F,USA,S,1920,DIV,Springboard,G,1906,1920,2002

80-229,105,Harry Prieste,M,USA,S,1920,DIV,Platform,B,1896,1920,2001

80-024,102,Babe Rockefeller,M,USA,S,1924,ROW,Coxed Eights,G,1902,1924,2004

79-185,95,Carolina Tronconi,F,ITA,S,1928,GYM,Team All-Around,S,1913,1928,2008

79-151,97,Cissie Stewart,F,GBR,S,1928,SWI,4 x 100 m FS relay,S,1911,1928,2008

79-137,97,Gertrude Ederle,F,USA,S,1924,SWI,400 m FS,B,1906,1924,2003

79-112,95,Carin Nilsson,F,SWE,S,1920,SWI,4 x 100 m FS relay,B,1904,1920,1999

79-066,97,Jam Handy,M,USA,S,1904,SWI,400 m Breaststroke,B,1886,1904,1983

79-044,99,Abel Kiviat,M,USA,S,1912,ATH,1500 m,S,1892,1912,1991

78-363,101,Attilio Pavesi,M,ITA,S,1932,CYC,Road Race Indiv,G,1910,1932,2011

78-357,103,Carmelo Camet,M,ARG,S,1928,FEN,Foil Team,B,1904,1928,2007

78-229,105,Lucien Démanet,M,FRA,S,1900,GYM,Individual All-Around,B,1874,1900,1979

78-220,99,Roger Beaufrand,M,FRA,S,1928,CYC,Sprint,G,1908,1928,2007

78-210,101,Herman Brix,M,USA,S,1928,ATH,Shot Put,S,1906,1928,2007

78-093,96,Aileen Riggin,F,USA,S,1924,DIV,Springboard,S,1906,1924,2002

78-064,98,Harry Glancy,M,USA,S,1924,SWI,4 x 200 m FS relay,G,1904,1924,2002

78-057,96,Max Décugis,M,FRA,S,1900,TEN,Doubles,S,1882,1900,1978

78-037,98,Georg Werner,M,SWE,S,1924,SWI,4 x 200 m FS relay,B,1904,1924,2002


Aileen Riggin
The above record is at risk of being broken by a still-living Olympian. Evelyn Furtsch was an American sprinter who won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympics in the 4×100 relay, and is still alive as of October 2014 – 82 years, and about 90 days, after winning her Olympic medal.

So then we started thinking – who are the Olympians, not just medalists, who lived for the longest time or the shortest time after their final Olympic appearance? Here we measured the time not from the end of their event, but from the day of the Closing Ceremony.

Sadly, eight (8) Olympians did not live to see the Closing Ceremony. We know of the 11 Israelis who were murdered at München in 1972, with four of those having already competed as Olympians. Only two athletes died while competing in the Olympics – Knut Enemark Jensen, a Danish cyclist who succumbed during the 1960 cycling team time trial; and Francisco Lazaro, a Portuguese marathoner who died the day after the 1912 marathon.

Two athletes died during the Games after competing but not from the effects of the events or from being cowardly murdered. After losing his first match in 1936 featherweight boxing, Romanian Nicolae Berechet developed a carbuncle which quickly spread into blood poisoning and in the pre-antibiotic days, he died only three days after his Olympic bout, and two days before the Closing Ceremony. In 1956, Italian rower Arrigo Meniccoci competed in coxed eights, but after his event ended, he went for a car ride and was killed in a crash 7 days before the Closing Ceremony.

This does not include athletes who died in training, but never actually competed in the Olympics, such as Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger who died the day before the 2010 Vancouver Opening Ceremony during a training run; Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki, the British/Polish luger who likewise died in training before the 1964 Innsbruck Games; Czechoslovak gymnast Eliska Mišaková, who developed polio after arriving in London for the 1948 Olympics, and died the day before the Opening Ceremony; or Australian downhiller skiier Ross Milne, who died before the Innsbruck Games after crashing on a training run.

Here are all the Olympians who died less than 7 weeks after the Closing Ceremony of an Olympics:



-16 days,23,Knud Enemark Jensen,M,S,DEN,CYC,1960,1936,1960

-12 days,19,Francisco Lázaro,M,S,POR,ATH,1912,1891,1912

-7 days,24,Arrigo Menicocci,M,S,ITA,ROW,1956,1933,1956

-6 days,28,David Berger,M,S,ISR,WLT,1972,1944,1972

-6 days,28,Ze’ev Friedman,M,S,ISR,WLT,1972,1944,1972

-6 days,31,Yossef Romano,M,S,ISR,WLT,1972,1940,1972

-6 days,24,Eliezer Halfin,M,S,ISR,WRE,1972,1948,1972

-2 days,21,Nicolae Berechet,M,S,ROU,BOX,1936,1915,1936

0-007,23,Tony Zasada,M,S,CAN,ROW,1984,1960,1984

0-007,23,Moritz Heidegger,M,W,LIE,BOB,1956,1932,1956

0-013,32,Göpf Kottmann,M,S,SUI,ROW,1964,1932,1964

0-014,26,Jonatan Johansson,M,W,SWE,SNB,2006,1980,2006

0-015,29,Gösta Almgren,M,S,SWE,FEN,1936,1906,1936

0-027,23,Aurelio Janet,M,S,CUB,ATH,1968,1945,1968

0-029,22,Thomas Pleisch,M,W,SUI,ICH,1936,1913,1936

0-034,64,G. C. Spencer,M,S,USA,ARC,1904,1840,1904

0-037,27,Rich Sanders,M,S,USA,WRE,1972,1945,1972

0-042,21,Leo Portelance,M,S,CAN,SWI,1952,1931,1952

0-046,24,George Gardiner,M,S,GBR,WRE,1924,1900,1924


Knud Enemark Jensen

What about those who lived the longest after their final Olympic appearance? Thirteen (13) Olympians lived for 80 or more years after they left the Olympic stage. Here is the list:



86-210,103,Ivo Pavelić,M,S,YUG,SWI,1924,1908,2011

85-286,104,Signe Johansson,F,S,SWE,DIV,1924,1905,2010

82-311,102,Rezső Kende,M,S,HUN,GYM,1928,1908,2011

82-110,98,Maud Sundberg,F,S,SWE,ATH,1928,1911,2010

82-094,105,Jalmari Kivenheimo,M,S,FIN,GYM,1912,1889,1994

81-343,99,Helen Johns,F,S,USA,SWI,1932,1914,2014

81-338,102,Willem Winkelman,M,S,NED,ATH,1908,1887,1990

81-183,99,Elsa Andersson,F,S,SWE,DIV,1912,1894,1994

81-178,104,Andrejs Kapmals,M,S,RUS,ATH,1912,1889,1994

81-053,102,Hans Kleppen,M,W,NOR,SKJ,1928,1907,2009

80-228,104,Harry Prieste,M,S,USA,DIV,1920,1896,2001

80-141,100,John Dellert,M,S,USA,GYM,1904,1884,1985

80-014,102,Babe Rockefeller,M,S,USA,ROW,1924,1902,2004


There are two additions to this list still alive – Clara Marangoni, an Italian gymnast from the 1928 Olympics, is the only known Olympian still alive who competed at the Amsterdam Games – she is now in her 86th year after her final Olympic appearance, and is close to bettering Pavelić’s mark; and Evelyn Furtsch, as mentioned above, now 82 years after her Olympic appearance.

While researching this topic we found another interesting tidbit. How many Olympic athletes never saw their 20th birthday? Sadly, it has happened eight times. An Italian gymnast from 1928, Bianca Ambrosetti, was the youngest, dying at age 15 after competing when she was 14. Three on this list died in the 1961 US Figure Skating tragedy when their plane crashed in Belgium while travelling to the 1962 World Championships. Here is the list of Olympic teenagers who died:



15,Bianca Ambrosetti,F,S,ITA,GYM,1928,1914,1929

17,Laurie Owen,F,W,USA,FSK,1960,1944,1961

18,Ray Hadley Jr.,M,W,USA,FSK,1960,1943,1961

18,Viktoriya Dimitrova,F,W,BUL,FSK,1992,1976,1994

19,Marián Havlíček,M,S,TCH,CAN,1972,1953,1972

19,Amar Garibović,M,W,SRB,CCS,2010,1991,2010

19,Ila Ray Hadley,F,W,USA,FSK,1960,1942,1961

19,Sandra Schmitt,F,W,GER,FRS,1998,1981,2000


What about the other end of the spectrum? Fortunately, many Olympians have lived long, full lives. At least fifty-nine (59) Olympians have died after their 100th birthday (this is not always easy to track), led by Walter Walsh, American shooter from 1948, who died earlier in 2014 just short of his 107th birthday – the longest-lived Olympian ever.

So there you have it, David. Thanx for the interesting question and we hope we answered it for you.