Michael Phelps and Larisa Latynina

August 2, 2012

Between 1956 and 1964, Larisa Latynina from the Soviet Union won 18 Olympic medals in gymnastics. Today, when we think about women’s gymnastics, we think of Olga Korbut, Nadia Comaneci or Mary Lou Retton. Most people today have never heard of Larisa Latynina. But until yesterday, Ms. Latynina held the record for the most Olympic medals. That was until Michael Phelps won two medals, the second of which being his 19th medal, making him the record holder for the most medals. Ms. Latynina held the record for 48 years.

She was 29 in 1964 when she won her 18th medal. These days, most female gymnasts retire while still in their teens. Quite a difference.

For more Olympics coverage, go to http://www.iweblists.com/sports/olympics/index.html. For a list of the medals Michael Phelps has won, look here and here.

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Olympics Records at Beijing

August 27, 2008

It’s interesting that out of 32 possible records in Men’s and Women’s Swimming combined at the Olympics, 30 of those records were broken in Beijing in 2008. In no other sport were anything close to so many records broken. The only sports that come close are Women’s Shooting and Women’s Weightlifting. Both of those sports made their debut at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, so they’re still fairly new.

Here’s a list of all the possible Summer Olympics records and the number that were broken in 2008.

Sport

Total Records

Broken Records

Percent

Men’s Swimming

16

15

94%

Women’s Swimming

16

15

94%

Women’s Shooting

14

10

71%

Women’s Weightlifting

21

14

67%

Cycling (Men’s & Women’s)

7

4

57%

Men’s Athletics

24

10

42%

Women’s Athletics

23

7

30%

Archery

0.5 (tie)

15

3%

Men’s Weightlifting

24

0

0%

So why were so many Swimming records broken in Beijing? You could argue that Michael Phelps is just a phenomenal athlete, and that’s true, but of the 15 records broken, seven of them were broken by other individuals, and three involved Michael Phelps as part of a team. And for the Women’s swimming, the 15 records were split among eight different nations.

The swimming records were broken due to improved training techniques and better technology (swimsuit material, etc.) but weren’t there similar improvements in the other sports?

For more details on Olympics records, visit iWeblists’ Olympics Records pages.