Caeleb Remel Dressell will likely swim 7 events at Tokyo – the 50 and 100 metre freestyles, the 100 butterfly, all three men’s relays, and the mixed medley relay. At the 2017 and 2019 World Championships Dressell swam 8 events – all those above and the 50 metre butterfly, which is not an Olympic event. He won 7 gold medals in 2017 and 6 golds and 2 silvers in 2019. He is expected to dominate the short sprints in Tokyo.

If Dressell swims in 7 events and wins 7 medals or 5, 6, or 7 golds, where would that place him historically for performances at a single Olympics?

  • One mark appears out of reach which is winning 8 medals at a single Games, which has been done 3 times – by Aleksandr Dityatin in 1980 gymnastics and Michael Phelps in swimming in both 2004 and 2008.
  • 7 Olympic medals at a single Olympics has been performed 8 times, most notably by Mark Spitz in 1972 when he won 7 swimming gold medals, all in world record times. Matt Biondi also won 7 swim medals in 1988, with 5 golds. The other 6 athletes to perform this were shooters Willis Lee (USA-1920) and Lloyd Spooner (USA-1920), and gymnasts Mariya Gorokhovskaya (URS-1952) (the only woman), Boris Shakhlin (URS-1960), Mikhail Voronin (URS-1968), and Nikolay Andrianov (URS-1976).
  • 6 Olympic medals at a single Olympics is a tremendous feat, but its not that rare. It has been done 26 times by 17 men and 9 women. The sports were Gymnastics (18), Swimming (4), and then 1 each for Archery, Athletics, Track Cycling, and Shooting.
  • 7 gold medals would be a stretch for Dressell but if he pulls that off, he reaches the Olympic pantheon occupied only by Michael Phelps, 8 golds in 2008, and Mark Spitz with 7 golds in 1972.
  • 6 gold medals also takes Dressel to the top levels of Olympians, as this has only been done 3 times at a single Olympics – by Kristin Otto (GDR-SWI) in 1988, Vitaly Scherbo (URS-GYM) in 1992, and Phelps in 2004.
  • 5 gold medals has been done 7 times at a single Olympics, as follows: Anton Heida (USA-GYM-1904), Nedo Nadi (ITA-FEN-1920), Willis Lee (USA-SHO-1920), Paavo Nurmi (FIN-ATH-1924), Eric Heiden (USA-SSK-1980) (uniquely winning all 5 individual events entered), Matt Biondi (USA-SWI-1988), and Michael Phelps (USA-SWI-2004).

Go for it, Caeleb!