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Summer Olympics: 6 sporting disciplines and their most dominant nations

Olympic Flame
Olympic Flame
Anushree Dinesh Burad

Many countries are extremely good at one or the other Olympic sports. However, certain countries have gained supremacy in a particular sport in the long history of the Summer Olympics.

With the Tokyo Olympics only a few months away, let's take a look at six sporting disciplines and the countries that have been the biggest dominating forces in them at the Olympics till now.


Athletics: USA

Carl Lewis: 9 times Olympic gold medalist
Carl Lewis: 9 times Olympic gold medalist

The United States have been the most dominant country in athletics at the Olympics. They have participated in all editions of the sporting extravaganza, except the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Until the Rio 2016 Olympics, the United States won a spectacular 802 Olympic medals in athletics โ€“ 335 gold, 260 silver, and 207 bronze medals.

Next on the overall athletics medal tally are Soviet Union (193 with 64 gold medals), Great Britain (205 with 55 gold medals), and Finland (114 with 48 gold medals) โ€“ nowhere close to the United States.


Swimming: USA

Michael Phelps: 23 times Olympic gold medalist
Michael Phelps: 23 times Olympic gold medalist

USA swimming with their total of 553 Olympic medals, including 246 gold, have been the most dominant country in Swimming.

Australia, second on the list, are not even halfway to the USA's tally with 188 medals.

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, USA won 16 out of the 35 gold medals on offer in the competition.

Moreover, the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps has also contributed to the USA's domination in the sport.

Notably, the star swimmer has individually won 28 Olympic medals, including 23 gold, three silver, and two bronze.

Also read: Most medals won by US athletes in a single edition of the Summer Olympics


Table Tennis: China

Table Tennis at Summer Olympics
Table Tennis at Summer Olympics

No country dominates a sport quite like China dominate Table Tennis at the Olympics. Notably, Table Tennis is the national sport of China.

Chinese players have dominated the sport since its inception at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, winning 28 out of the 32 gold medals on offer up until Rio 2016.

Since 1996, China have missed out on a gold medal only once, in the men's singles event at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

China regained their golden momentum in Beijing 2008 by winning all the gold medals on offer, and followed a similar pattern in London 2012 and Rio 2016, just as they had done at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.


Badminton: China

Badminton at the Summer Olympics
Badminton at the Summer Olympics

Badminton made its debut at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics while the mixed-doubles event was added to the roster from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Since then, the sport has been dominated by Asian countries, who have won 92 of the 106 medals on offer.

Among the Asian countries, China have been the most successful with 41 medals, including 18 gold, 8 silver, and 15 bronze.

South Korea, Indonesia and Denmark have been badminton powerhouses too but are far off from China.

Also read: Top 5 nations with the most medals in badminton at the Summer Olympics


Boxing: US and Cuba

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali

Boxing has been a part of the modern Summer Olympics since its inception at the 1904 Missouri Olympics.

Over the years, the United States have been the most successful boxing side, winning a total of 114 Olympic medals, including 50 gold, 24 silver, and 40 bronze.

The next on the list are Cuba with 73 Olympic medals, including 37 gold, 19 silver, and 17 bronze medals.


Field Hockey- India

1928 Summer Olympics - India vs Netherlands
1928 Summer Olympics - India vs Netherlands

India have been the most successful side in Field Hockey.

Though the Netherlands and Australia have more medals, India have won the most number of gold medals in the sport.

From 1928 to 1956, India won six straight gold medals at the Summer Olympics.

The country's gold-winning streak ended at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where they lost in the final to settle for silver.

India won their seventh gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and eighth gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

In total, India have won 11 Olympic medals, including eight gold, a silver, and two bronze, making them the most dominant side in Field Hockey at the Summer Olympics.

Also read: 1928-1980: Revisiting the Golden Age of Indian Hockey at the Summer Olympics


Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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