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Over the last few days I have posted on athletes competing in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and those who competed in 2 different sports. What about athletes who have competed for 2 different nations at the Olympics? Surely that has happened a few times.

Well, it has, in fact we have 1,622 such Olympians in our database – that’s out of about 135,450 Olympians. It is probably more correct to say they represented 2 or more GPEs, or geo-political entities, at the Olympics, rather than nations. This is because technically Olympians represent National Olympic Committees, or NOCs, rather than nations, but also there are several exceptions to nations and NOCs, but for simplicity, we will stick to “nations”.

As examples of non-national GPEs, Russia competed at PyeongChang in 2018 as OAR = Olympic Athletes from Russia, and will compete at Tokyo as ROC = Russian Olympic Committee. There have been Refugee Olympic Teams, unfortunately labelled as ROT originally, but now to be EOR = Équipe Olympique Réfugée. Further, there have been several cases where teams were labelled as IOA = Independent Olympic Athletes or IOP = Independent Olympic Participants. Finally, some NOCs do not represent independent nations, such as Puerto Rico and American Samoa, territories of the United States; or the British Virgin Islands, a British Overseas Territory; Hong Kong, China, now a part of China; and formerly the Netherlands Antilles, which was a part of the Netherlands.

Even listing all the nations can cause some confusion, because many of these 1,622 cases have been nations that have been related politically. The Soviet Union’s republics separated into many different nations, as did the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and Germany was formerly the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East). So we will make a distinction between 1) related nations, and 2) distinctly different nations (DDN).

Of the 1,622 cases in our database, only 315 of them involved DDN. There are actually 5 examples of athletes representing 4 nations at the Olympics, although none of these are fully DDN, and they all involve former Soviet or Yugoslav athletes. They are as follows:

Irina LashkoFAUS/EUN/RUS/URSDIV1988-2004
Jasna ŠekarićFIOA/SCG/SRB/YUGSHO1988-2012
Makharbek KhadartsevMEUN/RUS/URS/UZBWRE1988-2000
Ilija LupuleskuMIOA/SCG/USA/YUGTTN1988-2004
Michał ŚliwińskiMEUN/POL/UKR/URSCAN1988-2004

There have been 92 athletes represent 3 nations at the Olympics, with almost all of them involving athletes from former Soviet or Yugoslav republics. Only 1 athlete can be considered to have represented 3 DDN – Yamilé Aldama, originally a Cuban triple jumper who competed in 5 Olympics from 1996-2012. She competed for Cuba in 1996 and 2000, the Sudan in 2004 and 2008, and Great Britain in 2012.

What are the most frequent combinations of multiple nations represented? There have been 354 different combinations, but looking at all nations, related and distinctly different, here is the list of the most common:

Fed. Rep. Germany/Germany228
German Demo. Rep./Germany172
Unified Team/Russia135
Unified Team/Soviet Union107
Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia92
Olympic Athletes from Russia/Russia47
Egypt/United Arab Rep.35
Unified Team/Russia/Soviet Union34
Unified Team/Ukraine30
Serbia & Montenegro/Serbia27

As you can see, these are all politically related nations. Now if we limit the list to DDN, this looks far different:

Great Britain/Ireland5
Unified Team/Germany4
Hungary/United States4

But looking at this another way, here are the most common nations among the DDN:

United States36
Great Britain20

Now what about winning Olympic medals for 2 nations or 2 DDN? Has that happened? Of course, it has. There are 320 cases of Olympic athletes winning medals for 2 different nations, but limiting this to DDN, this narrows it down to only 25 examples. There have also been 10 cases in which an athlete won Olympic medals for 3 different nations, although with the exception of Irina Lashko, 8 of these were for the Soviet Union, Unified Team, and Russia, and 1 case involved Yugoslavia and its various different names. Here is that list:

Marina Dobrancheva-LogvinenkoFSHOURS/EUN/RUS
Aleksandr KarelinMWREURS/EUN/RUS
Makharbek KhadartsevMWREURS/EUN/RUS
Sergey ChepikovMBIAURS/EUN/RUS

Again, Anfisa Reztsova is the queen of cross-overs, having won medals in 2 different sports for 3 different nations.

Finally, how many Olympians have won gold medals for 2 different nations? This has been done 67 times, but only 3 times by athletes representing DDN:

Dan CarrollMRUGANZ/1908USA/1920
Armen NazaryanMWREARM/1996BUL/2000
Viktor An (Hyeon-Su Ahn)MSTKKOR/2006RUS/2014

And from the previous list, 3 Olympians actually have won gold medals for 3 different nations, but all were for the Soviet Union/Unified Team/Russia combination  – Anfisa Reztsova (BIA/CCS), Aleksandr Karelin (WRE), and Andrey Lavrov (HAN).

And there you have it.

MULTI-SPORT olympians

A few days ago I posted about athletes who competed at both the Summer and Winter Olympics – very rare birds. But what about those athletes who have competed in 2 different sports at the Olympics, although not necessarily at the Summer and Winter Olympics? How often has that occurred.

Here we must be careful in discussing sports and disciplines. The IOC recognizes both sports and disciplines, with disciplines being considered a sub-group within a sport. The best examples are swimming, diving, water polo, and artistic swimming (formerly synchronized swimming), which the IOC considers disciplines within the sport of aquatics; and skiing, with separate disciplines labelled cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboarding. There are several other sports that also have separate disciplines under their purview.

We basically consider disciplines as separate sports in the cases above and a few other cases, such as volleyball and beach volleyball. So, when athletes compete in two or more “sports” at the Olympics, it becomes important to classify them either as 1) related sports, or 2) distinctly different sports (DDS). DDS are not necessarily those that the IOC labels as separate sports. We consider fencing and modern pentathlon, swimming and triathlon, or biathlon and cross-country skiing to be related sports, among others, since the action of one is included in the other sport.

Now, given that primer, there have been 1,004 Olympians compete in 2 different sports at the Olympics, by our definitions. Of these 360 competed in DDS. Of the 1,004, 77 athletes have actually competed in 3 different sports at the Olympics, and 6 athletes appeared in 4 different sports.

Of the 6 athletes competing in 4 different sports, only 3 could be considered to have competed in DDS, and all of those were in 1896. Carl Schuhmann (GER) competed in athletics, gymnastics, weightlifting, and wrestling, as did Launceston Elliott (GBR); while Viggo Jensen (DEN) appeared in athletics, gymnastics, shooting, and weightlifting.

Of the 77 athletes competing in 3 different sports, only 16 athletes can be considered to have appeared in DDS. These were all men and the last time it happened was in 1928, when Philippe Van Volcksom competed in ice hockey, rowing, and speed skating, although I guess one could argue that speed skating and ice hockey have some features in common.

What are the sports that most commonly doubled up? There have been 186 different combinations of multi-sport participation at the Olympics. Looking at all sports, including related sports, here are the most common:

Swimming/Water Polo154
Biathlon/Cross-Country Skiing93
Cross-Country Skiing/Nordic Combined87
Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping57
Fencing/Modern Pentathlon49
Cross-Country Skiing/Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping31
Beach Volleyball/Volleyball19
Alpine Skiing/Cross-Country Skiing10
Speedskating/Short-Track Speedskating10

No surprise there with swimming and water polo leading the way, but if you look at that list, we would only classify ATH/BOB, ATH/GYM, and ATH/TOW as DDS. Here is what the list looks like, if we limit ourselves to the DDS only:

Cross-Country Skiing/Cycling8
Athletics/Cross-Country Skiing5

Have any of these athletes actually won medals in 2 or more different sports? Yes, of course they have. It has happened 86 times at the Olympics, with 33 of those occurring in DDS.

Unique among these athletes is Franz Kugler, who won medals in 3 different sports. He is often listed as Frank Kungler in earlier sources, including ours, although we have now discovered his full, correct name and vital dates. Kugler was a German when he competed at the Olympics in 1904, although he is listed by the IOC as from the USA because he represented the St. Louis Southwest Turnverein. He is the only Olympian to win medals in 3 Olympic sports. He won a silver medal in heavyweight wrestling, 2 bronze medals in weightlifting, and a bronze medal in tug-of-war in 1904. Kugler became a US citizen in 1913 and died in St. Louis in 1952.

What about winning gold medals in 2 different sports? Yeah, that’s happened, too, actually 15 times with 4 athletes doing it in DDS. There were 2 women, Anfisa Reztsova (EUN/RUS/URS) who not only did it in biathlon and cross-country skiing, but while representing 2 different NOCs; and Esther Ledecka (SVK) who famously did it in 2018 in Alpine skiing and snowboarding, but both of those were in related sports.

The 4 athletes to win gold medals in DDS were as follows:

Eddie Eagan (USA)BOX-1920BOB-1932
Carl Schuhmann (GER)GYM-1896WRE-1896
Daniel Norling (SWE)GYM-1908/12EQU-1920
Morris Kirksey (USA)ATH-1920RUG-1920

And there you have it.

olympians competing in BOTH Seasons

Seiko Hashimoto was recently named as the new President of the Organizing Committee for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. Ms. Hashimoto competed in the Olympics in both cycling and speed skating, as I noted in some tweets on the day she was announced as President. I’ve had several people ask me about athletes competing in both the Summer and Winter Olympics and how rare that is, which has prompted me to prepare this blog on “Both Season Olympians (BSOs)”. And as you will see, Ms Hashimoto’s name will figure prominently in the following.

It’s very rare to be an Olympic athlete. Since 1896 there have been about 135,400 Olympic athletes to compete in the Summer and Winter Olympics. By looking at historical populations and birth rates (see, one can estimate that since 1870 through 2000, the period during which most of these athletes had to have been born, there have been about 12,600,000,000 births in the world, or between 12 and 13 billion. That means the chance of any person born in this period becoming an Olympic athlete is about 0.001% – 1/1000th of 1 percent.

How many of these 135,400 Olympians have competed at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, as did Ms. Hashimoto? There have been exactly 142 Olympians to compete at both Olympic Games through 2018, or about 0.1% of all Olympians, meaning the chance of any person born between 1870-2000 has had a 0.000001% chance of competing at both Olympic Games.

Who are these 142 extraordinary Olympians? They have come from 41 different nations, with the following nations having the most BSOs.

United States10
Great Britain6

Which sports have they doubled in? To date, 8 Olympians, 2 women and 6 men, have competed in 3 different sports/disciplines at the Winter and Summer Olympics, as follows:

Jaqueline MourãoFBRABIA/CCS/CYC2004-2018
Georgia SimmerlingFCANASK/CYC/FRS2010-2016
István DévánMHUNATH/CCS/NCO1912-1924
Erik ElmsäterMSWEATH/CCS/NCO1948-1952
Aleksandar MilenkovićMIOA/SCG/YUGBIA/CCS/CYC1992-2006
Béla SzepesMHUNATH/CCS/NCO1924-1928
Philippe Van VolckxsomMBELICH/ROW/SSK1920-1928
Willi ZachariasMROUASK/CCS/HAN1936

Note that Willi Zacharias did this all in 1936. Until 1992 it was possible for Olympians to compete in the Summer and Winter Olympics in the same year, as the Games were not separated until the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.

So in which sports should you specialize if you wish to compete in both editions of the Olympics? There have been 50 different combinations of sports among these 142 BSOs. The most common combinations are in the table below:

Cross-Country Skiing/Cycling8
Hockey/Ice Hockey7
Athletics/Cross-Country Skiing5
Football/Ice Hockey4
Athletics/Cross-Country Skiing/Nordic Combined3
Biathlon/Cross-Country Skiing/Cycling2
Bobsledding/Equestrian Events2
Cycling/Short-Track Speedskating2
Ice Hockey/Sailing2

This is now well-known, as bobsledders are often recruited from track & field athletes, but it was not always so. Johann Baptist Gudenus (AUT) did it in 1932, but it was not until 1968 that it occurred again, when Britain’s Colin Campbell and Switzerland’s Eddy Hubacher first competed, and eventually appeared at both Games in athletics and boblsedding. However, it did not become commonplace until the 1980s.

I mentioned that prior to 1994 Olympians could compete in the Summer and Winter Olympics in the same year. Was that a frequent occurrence? It actually happened 39 times, and 2 athletes did it in 2 separate years – Charles Stoffel (LUX) competed in bobsledding and equestrian, quite the unusual combination, in both 1924 and 1928; and the ubiquitous Seiko Hashimoto competed in cycling and speed skating in both 1988 and 1992.

How many BSOs have competed in the Summer and Winter Olympics more than once each? This has only been done 10 times, by 4 women and 6 men, led by the redoubtable Seiko Hashimoto, who competed at the Summer Games three times (1988/1992/1996) and the Winter Games four times (1984/1988/1992/1994), for a total of 7 appearances, the most ever by this group of 142 BSOs. The only other Olympian to compete at the Summer and Winter Olympics 3 times each is Canadian cyclist/speed skater Clara Hughes.

What about winning a medal at both the Winter and Summer Olympics – has this been done? Yes, it has, and 5 times, by the following athletes:

Eddie EaganMUSABOX1920BOB1932
Jacob Tullin ThamsMNORSAI1936SKJ1924
Christa Rothenburger-LudingFGDRCYC1988SSK1984/88/92
Clara HughesFCANCYC1996SSK2002/06/10
Lauryn WilliamsFUSAATH2004/12BOB2014

Of these, there were 2 men and 3 women, although a man has not done it since Jacob Tullin Thams in 1936. Of the above, only Eddie Eagan won gold medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Seiko Hashimoto does not make this list but she did win 1 Olympic medal, a bronze in the 1,500 metres speed skating at Albertville in 1992.

And there you have it.

Olympedia now open to the public

Some readers of this Olympic blog may remember a post I did at the end of the Rio Olympics concerning our statistical site on

In that post we noted that we were working to transfer our private research site,, to another server and that sports-reference/Olympics would shut down. This has recently occurred and the data on sports-reference/Olympics is no longer easily available to the public.

The Olympedia research site contains the profiles and results of all Olympic athletes and informative descriptions about the Games, events, venues, and much more. It is the most comprehensive database about the Olympic Games and is the result many years of work by a group of Olympic historians and statisticians called the OlyMADmen.

Here are some examples:

Olympedia has always been a product solely of the OlyMADMen and has been a private site that required a password that only we could grant. Olympedia has recently moved to another server, but during this time it has still required password access and did not have open access.

We have recently received permission to open Olympedia to the public, and it will no longer require a password. We thank the International Olympic Committee for working with us on this project, and granting us this permission. We are excited and hope you will be, too.

Olympedia contains all of the information that was previously on sports-reference/Olympics – and actually much more – it is far more detailed. Welcome to Olympedia, the most detailed internet reference source on the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement –

The OlyMADMen

Bill Mallon (USA)

Arild Gjerde (NOR)

Jeroen Heijmans (NED)

David Foster (ENG)

Hilary Evans (WLS)

Taavi Kalju (EST)

Wolf Reinhardt (GER)

Martin Kellner (AUT)

Ralf Regnitter (GER)

Ralph Schlüter (GER)

Paul Tchir (CAN/EGY)

Morten Aarlia Torp (NOR)

Stein Opdahl (NOR)

Carl-Johan Johansson (SWE)

George Masin (USA)

Ian Morrison (GBR/ESP)

Michele Walker (CAN)

Kristof Linke (GER)

Andrey Chilikin (RUS)

Rudolf Laky (HUN/GER)

David Tarbotton (AUS)