Winter Olympics

The Most Decorated Winter Olympians and Their Medal Counts

Norway is home to the three winningest Winter Olympians of all time

Laurent Salino/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

Some athletes were just Bjørn to win Olympic medals.

That certainly rings true for the three most decorated Winter Olympians, all of whom come from Norway. 

Through 23 editions of the Winter Olympics, only 12 athletes have collected nine medals or more. A handful of those competitors have a chance to add to their total at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and can climb the all-time leaderboard.

Here’s a look at the 12 Winter Olympians with the most medals, where they are from and which sports they competed in:

Marit Bjørgen (Norway): 15 medals

Marit Bjørgen is the queen of cross country skiing, and she is also the queen of the Winter Olympics.

She amassed 15 Olympic medals dating back to the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, where she won her first medal in the form of silver in the 4x5km relay. Bjørgen followed that up with a silver in the 10km at the 2006 Torino Games.

Her Olympic career really took off beginning with the 2010 Vancouver Games, where she secured three golds, a silver and a bronze. Four years later, she added three more golds to her trophy case in Sochi.

Bjørgen put together a five-medal performance in her final Olympics, the 2018 PyeongChang Games. Her two golds, one silver and two bronzes led her past a fellow Norwegian for the most medals in Winter Olympics history.

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (Norway): 13 medals

Ole Einar Bjørndalen’s Olympic career stretched from 1994 to 2014, and his name is etched across the biathlon history books with 13 medals.

He failed to medal at his first Olympics in 1994 at age 20 before earning one gold and one silver at the 1998 Nagano Games. In Salt Lake City, Bjørndalen completed a perfect sweep, winning gold in all four of his events. He earned three medals (two silver, one bronze) in 2006, two medals (one gold, one silver) in 2010 and two golds in 2014, his final Olympics.

While Bjørgen took the overall crown from Bjørndalen at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Bjørndalen still holds the claim as the “King of Biathlon.”

Bjørn Dæhlie (Norway): 12 medals

Third on the list of most decorated Olympians is another Norwegian cross country icon.

Bjørn Dæhlie was brought along for the 1988 Olympics, though he didn’t actually compete. Starting in 1992, once he finally got into a race, he kicked off one of the most dominant runs in the history of the sport.

Dæhlie won 12 medals across his 15 career Olympic events, winning four at each Games he competed in. He collected three golds in 1992, two in 1994 and three more in 1998, matching Bjørgen and Bjørndalen with a record eight Olympic golds.

Ireen Wüst (Netherlands): 11 medals

The most decorated non-Norwegian Olympian has dominated speed skating throughout her career.

Ireen Wüst’s Olympic career began with a gold and a silver in 2006. She earned another gold in 2010, her lone medal at those Olympics. Wüst then went off at the next two Winter Olympics, totaling five medals (two gold, three silver) in Sochi and three medals (one gold, two silver) in PyeongChang.

Wüst said in July 2020 that she is planning to end her speed skating career with the Beijing Olympics. As the most decorated active Winter Olympian, she could end up higher on this list by the time she hangs up her skates.

Raisa Smetania (Russia), Stefania Belmondo (Italy): 10 medals

Raisa Smetania and Stefania Belmondo are the final two Winter Olympians to obtain 10 medals.

Smetania’s cross country skiing career spanned five Olympics from 1976 to 1992. She took home three medals in her first Olympics in Innsbruck, collected two at each of the next three Winter Games and capped it off with one gold in Albertville. In all, she won four golds, five silvers and a bronze.

Belmondo also had a five-Olympic run in cross country skiing. She did not reach the podium at her first Olympics in 1988, but she then won three medals in 1992, two in 1994, two in 1998 and three in 2002. Belmondo ended her career with two Olympic golds, three silvers and five bronzes.

Smetania and Belmondo shared the podium once at the Olympics, with Smetania and the Unified Team earning gold in the 4x5km relay at the 1992 Winter Games and Belmondo’s Italian group taking home bronze.

Lyubov Yegorova (Russia), Claudia Pechstein (Germany), Sixten Jernberg (Sweden), Sven Kramer (Netherlands), Charlotte Kalla (Sweden), Uschi Disl (Germany): 9 medals

Six Winter Olympians have tallied nine medals.

Lyubov Yegorova won nine cross country skiing medals between the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics. Six of those were golds and the other three were silvers. She only missed the podium in one event across those two Winter Olympics.

Claudia Pechstein competed in six Olympics. She made the podium in five straight Olympics from 1992 to 2006, tallying all nine of her medals in the process. She did not go to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as part of a two-year ban for blood doping, but she returned for the 2014 Sochi Games, competed in three events and nearly earned her 10th career medal with a fourth-place finish.

Sixten Jernberg was a dominant cross country skier at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Winter Olympics. He won four golds, three silvers and two bronzes, and his lowest career finish was fifth place across his 12 career Olympic races.

Sven Kramer became the most decorated male speed skater in Olympic history at the 2018 Winter Games. There, he picked up his third straight gold in the 5000m, an event where he also earned silver in 2006. He also has four medals in the team pursuit (one gold, three bronze) and a silver from the 10000m in Sochi.

Charlotte Kalla has won one gold at each of the last three Winter Olympics. She also earned one silver in Vancouver, two silvers in Sochi and three silvers in PyeongChang. As a mentor and leader for the Swedish team, she has the chance to reach the double-digit medal mark in Beijing.

Uschi Disl helped Germany’s biathlon relay team reach four straight Olympic podiums from 1992 to 2002. He also competed in the 2006 Winter Games and collected five career individual medals to go along with his four from relays.

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