Olympics: Athletes with the most medals in individual competitions before Tokyo 2020

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After a year of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics will finally begin on July 23. The Olympics have always been the pinnacle of athletic excellence, with some athletes achieving immortal fame while some are held back only by lure of the size of milliseconds and inches.

Sportstar takes a look at the athletes who have won the most medals at individual Olympic events.

READ | Olympic Records: Top 10 male athletes with the most medals in the Games

READ | Olympic Records: Male and female athletes with the most Olympic gold medals

1. Michael Phelps, Water Sports (USA, 2004-2016)

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps bagged 28 medals at the four-year showpiece. A whopping 16 of them come from individual events; 13 of them gold.

Between Athens 2004 and Rio 2016 Phelps won four medals each in the 200 m butterfly, 200 m medley and 100 m butterfly. He also won two medals in the 400 m medley and just as many in the 200 m freestyle.

2. Larisa Latynina (URS, 1956-1964)

Former Soviet gymnast Latynina won 18 Olympic medals in her career from 1956 to 1964. She won 14 of these medals in individual competitions – all-around (three), jump (three), floor exercise (three), uneven bars (three) and balance beam (two).

Latynina also holds the record for the most Olympic gold medals by a gymnast – nine.

READ | World Athletics: 15 athletes in individual competitions, two relays from India qualify for Tokyo 2020

3. Nikolay Andrianov, gymnastics (URS, 1972-1980)

Former gymnast Andrianov held the record for winning the most Olympic medals (15) in men until Phelps overtook him in Beijing in 2008. He won half of his 12 individual medals at the 1976 Summer Games in all-around, floor exercise, wrestling, parallel bars and pommel horse. In addition to these disciplines, he also won an individual medal on the horizontal bar in Moscow in 1980.

Andrianov also shares the male record for the most individual Olympic gold medals in gymnastics with compatriot Boris Shakhlin (6).

4. Vera Caslavska (TCH, 1960-1964)

Another gymnast, Caslavska from Czechoslovakia, won eight Olympic medals in individual competitions; seven of that gold. She took the games in 1964 and 1968 by storm and won a total of 10 medals (team and individual competitions).