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



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:



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.



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.



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



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.



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.



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



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.



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.



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)



Olympic Marathon Age Records

The US Olympic marathon trials were held today and Meb Keflezighi made his fourth Olympic team. Meb won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic marathon and will be 41 years old on the day of the 2016 Olympic marathon. Much is being made about his age – how does it stack up against previous Olympic marathoners?

Meb Keflezighi

On the day of the Olympic marathon in Rio, Meb will be 41 years, 108 days old (41-108). That’s relatively ancient for a world-class marathoner, but far from unheard of. In fact, there have been 21 Olympic men run the Olympic marathon at an older age, led by Canadian Percy Wyer, who ran the 1936 marathon when he was 52-years-old. Here is the top 25 through 2012:



52-199,Percy Wyer,1936,CAN

48-196,Bohumil “Boris” Honzátko,1924,TCH

46-135,Haile Satayin,2008,ISR

45-246,Toni Bernadó,2012,AND

44-195,Percy Wyer,1928,CAN

44-069,Jack Foster,1976,NZL

44-017,Wally Hayward,1952,RSA

43-023,Luis López,1992,CRC

42-240,Ion Pool,1900,GBR

42-194,Roman Kejžar,2008,SLO

42-140,Haile Satayin,2004,ISR

41-345,Wallace Williams,1988,ISV

41-258,Toni Bernadó,2008,AND

41-235,Panagiotis “Peter” Trivoulidis,1920,GRE

41-235,Eusebio Guiñez,1948,ARG

41-206,Ville Kyrönen,1932,FIN

41-206,Andrés Espinosa,2004,MEX

41-204,Harold Webster,1936,CAN

41-201,William Saward,1900,GBR

41-166,Baba Ibrahim Suma-Keita,1988,SLE

41-148,Jack Holden,1948,GBR

40-352,Cristea Dinu,1952,ROU

40-336,Johnny A. Kelley,1948,USA

40-309,Mikko Hietanen,1952,FIN

40-185,Franjo Mihalić,1960,YUG


What about among US men Olympic marathoners, you surely are asking? Meb will become the oldest American man to run the marathon at the Olympics, with the current oldest being Johnny “The Elder” Kelley at London in 1948. Meb’s 2012 London marathon already put him 6th oldest among US men. Here is the US top 10 list:



40-336,Johnny A. Kelley,1948,USA

40-104,Jimmy Henigan,1932,USA

40-059,Clarence DeMar,1928,USA

38-321,Billy Churchill,1924,USA

38-235,Albert “Whitey” Michelsen,1932,USA

37-099,Meb Keflezighi,2012,USA

36-102,Jimmy Henigan,1928,USA

36-036,Clarence DeMar,1924,USA

35-241,Tom Jones,1952,USA

35-223,Abdi Abdirahman,2012,USA


This will be Meb’s third Olympic marathon, after 2004 and 2012 – he ran the 10,000 metres in 2000. Have any marathoners ever competed in more Olympic races? Yes, in fact, Andorran Toni Bernadó and Romanian Lidia Şimon ran 5 Olympic marathons from 1996-2012. Here is the list of all those running 4 or more Olympic marathons:



5,Toni Bernadó,M,AND,1996,2000,2004,2008,2012

5,Lidia Şimon,F,ROU,1996,2000,2004,2008,2012

4,Karel Lismont,M,BEL,1972,1976,1980,1984

4,Baikuntha Manandhar,M,NEP,1976,1980,1984,1988

4,Rob de Castella,M,AUS,1980,1984,1988,1992

4,Ahmed Salah,M,DJI,1984,1988,1992,1996

4,Lisa Martin-Ondieki,F,AUS,1984,1988,1992,1996

4,Lorraine Moller,F,NZL,1984,1988,1992,1996

4,Steve Moneghetti,M,AUS,1988,1992,1996,2000

4,Erika Olivera,F,CHI,1996,2000,2004,2012

4,Lee Bong-Ju,M,KOR,1996,2000,2004,2008

4,Pavel Loskutov,M,EST,1996,2000,2004,2008

4,Viktor Röthlin,M,SUI,2000,2004,2008,2012


Shalane Flanagan will also run in her 4th Olympics, after racing the 5K in 2004, the 5 and 10K in 2008, and the marathon in 2012. Flanagan will be 35 years old in Rio. How does that stack up against female Olympic marathoners in terms of senescence? Here are the lists for the top 25 oldest women to run the Olympic marathon and the USA top 10 list:



48-234,Lourdes Klitzkie,1988,GUM

46-284,Joyce Smith,1984,GBR

46-236,Evy Palm,1988,SWE

43-083,Irina Bogacheva,2004,KGZ

42-195,Sue Hobson,2000,AUS

42-194,Constantina Tomescu,2012,ROU

41-141,María Luisa Muñoz,2000,ESP

41-058,Lorraine Moller,1996,NZL

40-298,Garifa Kuku,2000,KAZ

40-297,Ivana Sekyrová,2012,CZE

40-130,Colleen de Reuck,2004,USA

39-347,Irina Mikitenko,2012,GER

39-299,María Elena Espeso,2012,ESP

39-256,Priscilla Welch,1984,GBR

39-251,Francie Larrieu-Smith,1992,USA

39-159,Pauline Curley,2008,IRL

39-157,Rhonda Davidson-Alley,2000,GUM

39-116,Irina Bogacheva,2000,KGZ

39-077,Gaby Andersen-Schiess,1984,SUI

39-052,Liza Hunter-Galvan,2008,NZL

38-357,Mara Yamauchi,2012,GBR

38-335,Lidia Şimon,2012,ROU

38-251,Magda Ilands,1988,BEL

38-232,Nelly Chávez,1984,BOL

38-206,Constantina Tomescu,2008,ROU




40-130,Colleen de Reuck,2004,USA

39-251,Francie Larrieu-Smith,1992,USA

37-349,Chris Clark,2000,USA

35-183,Deena Drossin-Kastor,2008,USA

35-082,Linda Somers,1996,USA

35-015,Magda Lewy-Boulet,2008,USA

34-091,Nancy Ditz,1988,USA

34-027,Kara Goucher,2012,USA

33-024,Blake Russell,2008,USA

33-009,Jenny Spangler,1996,USA


Colleen de Reuck

Flanagan’s 2012 Olympic marathon was done at age 31-028, putting her 13th on the US list for oldest female Olympic marathoners through 2012. She will be 35-037 on the day of the women’s Rio marathon and will move up to 6th among US Olympic marathoners, but she will not crack the top 25 for all nations.


Competing in Multiple Olympics

So we’ve had a few e-mails recently concerning how common it is for athletes to compete in more than one Olympic Games. On the “Mike and Mike” ESPN radio show they speculated that it was actually quite rare for Olympians to compete in more than one Olympics. Thus we decided to look at this in some detail.

Its not actually that rare and further, its becoming more and more common for athletes to compete in 2 or more Olympics. That is especially true of the Winter Olympics. We will only examine the Games since World War II, since the 12-year gap between 1936 and 1948 will skew all results, and this brings us closer to the modern era.

Here are the overall tables for both men and women Olympians at the Summer and Winter Olympics:













So its fairly common to compete in more than one Olympics, although overall only about 30% of Olympians get to a second Games. You’ll note, however, that Winter Olympians do it more frequently than summer Olympians – 34.1% to 25.7%. And women seem to come back to a second Olympics slightly more often than do men.

Here are the lists of the Games since 1948, comparing athletes who started at each Olympics, and competed in either 1 or 2 or more (2+) Olympics. We stopped at 2008 and 2010, since anyone who first competed in 2012 or 2014 could only have competed at one Olympics as of February 2016.








































It is likely that the 2008 and 2010 numbers will eventually end up with a higher percentage for the 2+ Olympians, as some of those competing in 2008 and 2010 will likely compete in 2016 and 2018. The numbers seem to be increasing and if we look at a graph and determine a best fit for the numbers, its fairly obvious that more and more athletes are competing in 2 or more Olympics.


And here is the graph for the Winter Olympics, where there is now almost equilibrium between 1-time Olympians and those competing in 2 or more Games.


The biggest spike for the Winter Games occurs between 1992 and 1994, when the Winter Olympics had their only gap of 2 years between Games.

Now which sports are particularly suited to Olympians competed more than one time? This is as you would expect, with equestrian, fencing, and shooting figuring prominently. But there are a few surprises, and this time we will look at how often Olympians compete 4 or more times, and 6 or more times. Here is the list by sports for the Summer Games – this include all Olympics since 1896:




Athletics (Track & Field),72.3%,27.7%,1.6%,0.0%




Beach Volleyball,65.7%,34.3%,1.6%,0.0%


Canoe & Kayaking,66.9%,33.1%,3.2%,0.1%





Football (Soccer),92.5%,7.5%,0.2%,0.0%


Gymnastics (Artistic),79.4%,20.6%,0.4%,0.0%


Hockey (Field),69.5%,30.5%,1.3%,0.0%


Modern Pentathlon,74.2%,25.8%,1.3%,0.0%

Rhythmic Gymnastics,87.4%,12.6%,0.2%,0.0%

Rowing & Sculling,76.5%,23.5%,1.4%,0.1%

Rugby Football,95.5%,4.5%,0.0%,0.0%

Sailing (Yachting),73.3%,26.7%,3.5%,0.3%




Synchronized Swimming,74.5%,25.5%,0.4%,0.0%

Table Tennis,57.4%,42.6%,7.5%,0.8%





Volleyball (Indoor),72.7%,27.3%,1.6%,0.0%

Water Polo,67.0%,33.0%,2.8%,0.0%




What’s up with table tennis, where over 43% of the Olympians compete more than once? Further, fully 7.5% of Olympic table tennis players have competed in 4 or more Olympics, the highest total for any sport, and that approaches twice as much as equestrian (4.3%) and fencing (4.0%), the two next highest sports for that stat. Looking at Olympians competed in 6 or more Games, only equestrian and table tennis have any significant proportion of their Olympians achieving that, with equestrian leading table tennis – 1.1% to 0.8% – of Olympic table tennis players competing in at least 6 Olympics.

Here is the similar list for the Winter Olympians, looking only at 2+ and 4+ Olympians:



Alpine Skiing,66.0%,34.0%,2.7%



Cross-Country Skiing,64.7%,35.3%,4.0%


Figure Skating,71.1%,28.9%,0.9%

Freestyle Skiing,64.0%,36.0%,4.3%

Ice Hockey,70.9%,29.1%,1.6%


Nordic Combined,67.4%,32.6%,1.9%

Short-Track Speedskating,60.9%,39.1%,2.1%


Ski Jumping,65.8%,34.2%,2.6%


Speed Skating,59.0%,41.0%,3.8%


Not too surprising is that luge sliders compete in more than one Winter Olympics more frequently than other Winter sport Olympians. But it is surprising that biathletes do so almost as frequently as lugers, and biathlon is a very physically rigorous sport. We really can’t explain that.

So if you want to compete in more than one Olympics, pick your sport carefully, and realize you have a much better chance of doing this than your parents or grandparents did.