Which U.S. Olympians have won the most gold medals?

Michael Phelps has more gold medals than any athlete in Olympics history. Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

The Olympics has long served as a stage for some of the world's most awe-inspiring athletic feats. It has turned standout competitors into household names.

The 2024 Paris Olympic Summer Games will be hailed as a return to normalcy.

While COVID-19 forced competitions at the past two Olympics to be reduced to made-for-TV accomplishments with little to no fans in the stands, Paris will be different. An estimated 300,000 in-person spectators are expected to watch the opening ceremony on July 26.

There will be no mandatory masks or daily nasal swabs. Olympic venues throughout metropolitan France will be filled with fans pledging their allegiance to their country while celebrating the athletic marvels of competitors from across the seven seas.

Gold will be the goal, as an estimated 10,500 participants will vie for the top spot on the podium. Many U.S. athletes have won gold, but only a select few sit atop the golden throne as the winningest in Olympic history.

Here are the top U.S. Olympians of all time by gold medals.

Michael Phelps: 23 gold (28 total)

Phelps has more gold medals and more total medals than any athlete in the history of the Olympic Games. The swimmer won eight of his golds at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, the most ever at a single games. Phelps won nine more golds over the next two Olympics.

Mark Spitz: 9 gold (11 total)

Spitz set multiple world records in the pool at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, including winning seven gold medals. Spitz clinched his seventh gold in the 400-meter medley relay.

Carl Lewis: 9 gold (10 total)

Lewis won four of his gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. No athlete had accomplished that feat since Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games. Lewis' golden victories in 1984 came in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4x100-meter relay. The latter was achieved in a world-record time of 37.83 seconds.

Jenny Thompson: 8 gold (12 total)

No woman has won more Olympic gold medals than Thompson. She has also won more swimming medals than any female Olympian ever. All of Thompson's gold medals came in relay events. Her only individual medals came in the 100-meter freestyle at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics (silver) and 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics (bronze).

Matt Biondi: 8 gold (11 total)

Biondi won seven medals in swimming, including five golds, at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. His five golds in 1988 came in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and all three medleys.

Ray Ewry: 8 gold (8 total)

Despite being paralyzed by polio as a child, Ewry developed strength in his legs and became one of the most decorated Olympians in the standing jumps. Ewry won three golds in both the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics and 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics.

Allyson Felix: 7 gold (11 total)

Felix has been a mainstay on the U.S. women's relay teams since the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Since Beijing, Felix has helped lead the United States to four straight gold medals in the 4x400-meter relay. Felix also won an individual gold in the 200 meters at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Katie Ledecky: 7 gold (10 total)

The reigning queen of the pool, Ledecky eyes history this summer in Paris. If Ledecky wins three gold medals at the 2024 Paris Olympics, she will pass former Soviet Union gymnast Larisa Latynina for the most golds by any woman in Olympic history. Ledecky looks to win the 800-meter women's freestyle for the fourth straight Olympic Games. With a win, she would join Japanese wrestler Kaori Icho as the only women to win individual gold in four straight Olympics.

Caeleb Dressel: 7 gold (7 total)

Dressel, 27, will look to add to his total in Paris. The swimmer won two golds at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, pacing the field in both the 4x100-meter freestyle relay and the 4x100-meter medley relay. Dressel followed that performance by winning five more golds at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, including the top prize in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly.

Ryan Lochte: 6 gold (12 total)

Lochte's seven individual Olympic medals rank second in the history of men's swimming behind only Phelps. Lochte won gold in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Amy Van Dyken: 6 gold (6 total)

Van Dyken won four gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, leading the way in both the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly events and helping the U.S. to the 4x100-meter freestyle and 4x100-meter medley crowns.

Several U.S. Olympians have five gold medals, including 41-year-old Diana Taurasi, who looks to capture her sixth this summer.

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