The time for the Tokyo Olympics has finally come. After the COVID-19 epidemic postponed the Summer Games last year, they are slated to begin on July 23 in the capital of Japan. Despite fears over new coronavirus in Tokyo, there is excitement around the main event, as athletes are beginning to gather at the Games Village.

Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to athletes in the Olympics and the Paralympics who earn the top three spots in the Olympics.  The design of the medals is the responsibility of the organizing committee of the host city and differs with each edition of the Games.

In the history of the Summer Olympics, 15,683 medals, including 5,116 gold medals, 5,080 silver medals, and 5,487 bronze medals have been awarded in total. There were 971 medals won alone at the previous edition in Rio de Janeiro. Some competitors would be glad merely to get a single bronze medal, while others continue to win even after they hit the gold while accumulating piles of glittering medals during their stellar careers.

Athletes with most Olympic gold medals ahead of Tokyo 2020

Larisa Latynina accepts an award in 2014. (Getty)

Michael Phelps is the ultimate Summer Olympic gold medalist who has set records that can never be broken: most Olympic medals (28), most Olympic gold (23), the most gold medals in one edition (eight at the 2008 Beijing Games), as well as most world swimming records (39).

Larisa Latynina was a leading gymnastical force in the Soviet Union throughout the three Olympic Games from 1956 to 1964. Her dance experience provided her a dominating yet elegant role throughout her routines as she burst into the scene with four gold medals during her first Games in Melbourne.

While in the early 1960s, Latynina dominated female gymnastics, during the decade Boris Shakhlin did so in men's gymnastics. The 1960 Olympics in Rome were his highest point, as he scored four golds, two silvers, and one bronze. Their compatriot Nikolai Adrianov, meanwhile, shone at the Montreal Games in 1976, also grabbing four golds, two silvers, and one bronze.

Position Name and Nation Sport Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal Total medals
1. Michael Phelps (USA) Swimming 23 3 2 28
2. Larisa Latynina (Soviet Union) Gymnastics 9 5 4 18
3. Nikolai Andrianov (Soviet Union) Gymnastics 7 5 3 15
4. Boris Shakhlin (Soviet Union) Gymnastics 7 4 2 13
5. Edoardo Mangiarotti (Italy) Fencing 6 5 2 13
6. Takashi Ono (Japan) Gymnastics 5 4 4 13
7. Paavo Nurmi (Finland) Athletics 9 3 0 12
8. Birgit Fischer (East Germany/Germany) Canoeing 8 4 0 12
9. Sawao Kato (Japan) Gymnastics 8 3 1 12
10. Jenny Thompson (USA) Swimming 8 3 1 12