In most sports and for most athletes, the Olympics are considered the Holy Grail. Held every four years, the Olympic Games alternate between the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, with both of those events being held every two years during a four-year period.
With approximately 200 nations competing in the Olympics, the event is widely considered the largest sporting event on the planet.
Winning an Olympic medal is the culmination of years of hard work, toil and sweat. Winning a single medal itself is considered the highlight of many athletes' careers and lives. However, there are some sporting legends who have gone on to win multiple medals in their discipline, transcending from Olympic medal-winners to Olympic legends.
Let's take a look at the 5 Male Sportspersons with the most medals in the history of the Summer Olympics.
(Note* - ranking is based on overall medals won; In case athletes have won the same number of overall medals, the number of gold medals won have been used as the deciding factor to rank them).
#5 - Takashi Ono - Japan - Gymnastics - 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964
(Ranking - Athlete - Nation - Sports - Years of Olympic participation)
Total - 13 (Gold - 5, Silver - 4, Bronze - 4)
Japan's Takashi Ono won five gold, four silver and four bronze medals in artistic gymnastics in his Olympic career.
At the 1956 Summer Olympics, Takashi won his first Olympic gold in the horizontal bar event. At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Takashi won 6 medals in the artistic gymnastic events. He won gold on the horizontal bar, the pommel horse, and the team competition at the Rome Games.
Takashi went on to win the team title in front of his home crowd at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. That marked his fifth gold and 13th Olympic medal. He was also chosen to take the Olympic Oath at the1964 Games.
#4 - Edoardo Mangiarotti - Italy - Fencing - 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960
Total - 13 (Gold - 6, Silver - 5, Bronze - 2)
Edoardo Mangiarotti, an Italian fencer, won 13 Olympic medals in his career. He won six gold medals in the épée and foil, which made him the most successful Olympian in Italy's history.
Mangiarotti won one individual gold, five team golds, five silver, and two bronze medals between the 1936 Summer Olympics and 1960 Summer Olympics.
Mangiarotti also had the distinction of being selected to carry the flag for the Italian delegation at the Opening Ceremony twice - at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.
#3 - Boris Shakhlin - Soviet Union - Gymnastics - 1956, 1960, 1964
Total - 13 (Gold - 7, Silver - 4, Bronze - 2)
Soviet gymnast Boris Shakhlin won 7 golds in individual gymnastic events, which still stands as an Olympic record for men.
Shakhlin won 13 Olympic medals during his entire career. His favorite individual event was the pommel horse, in which he won gold in two successive Games - 1960 and 1964.
#2 - Nikolai Andrianov - Soviet Union - Gymnastics - 1972, 1976, 1980
Total - 15 (Gold - 7, Silver - 5, Bronze - 3)
Nikolai Andrianov, a Soviet/Russian gymnast, has won 15 medals in his Olympic career. Andrianov has won more Olympic medals than any other male gymnast in the history of the Olympic Games.
Andrianov’s seven Olympic gold medals came across different gymnastic events - on floor (1972 and 1976), on vault (1976 and 1980), individual all-around (1976), still rings (1976) and team all-around (1980).
At the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Andrianov was chosen to read the Olympic Oath during the Opening Ceremony.
#1 - Michael Phelps - United States - Swimming - 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016
Total - 28 (Gold - 23, Silver - 3, Bronze - 2)
American swimmer Michael Phelps is by far the most successful Olympian of all time, with an unmatched haul of 28 medals.
Phelps' 23 gold medals are also the most won by any athlete in the history of the Summer Olympics.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Michael Phelps won the gold in the 100m and 200m butterfly, 200m and 400m individual medley, and the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays with the United States team.
He won a total of 8 medals in Athens, which equalled the single Summer Games record that had been set at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow by Soviet gymnast Aleksandr Ditatyn.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Michael Phelps won gold in all 8 events he participated in - making him the first Olympian to do so in the history of the Games.
Phelps won gold in the 100m and 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle, 200m and 400m individual medleys, the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays, and the 4x100m medley relay.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won gold in the 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley, the 4x200m freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley.
Phelps announced he would retire after the London Games but came out of retirement with the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in mind. And he didn't disappoint there either.
Phelps won golds in the 4x100m freestyle relay, the 200m butterfly event, the 4x200m freestyle event and the 200m medley
Phelps won his 23rd Olympic gold and 28th overall medal with the United States in the 4x100m medley - which marked the end of his Olympic career.