At any competition, whether it be a spelling bee, chess tournament, or wrestling match, the intent is to win. Very few spend hours practicing their craft with the hopes of being second-best.
Of course, when it comes to the Olympic Games, that desire increases ten-fold, both from the athlete and their team. Every country from Argentina to Zimbabwe has the same goal: go for gold. In total, 150 countries have succeeded in winning at least one medal at the Summer or Winter Games, though many have placed at the top multiple times. Take a look at the map to see how many gold, silver, and bronze all-time Olympic medals each country has accumulated throughout their years participating in the Olympic Games.
View Every Country’s Olympic Wins in a full screen map
The data displayed on the is from the All-time Olympic Games medal table in Wikipedia. Sort it by one of the groups or read on to uncover the most successful countries overall, the top gold, silver, and bronze, and the 76 countries without Olympic medals.
While everyone dreams of winning Olympic gold, at this level of athletics a second-place silver medal or bronze for third is nothing to sniff at. So let’s take a look at the top 10 most successful countries at the Olympic games, all of which have earned at least 500 medals apiece.
- United States: 2,980 Olympic medals
- Soviet Union: 1,204
- Great Britain: 948
- Germany: 892
- France: 874
- Italy: 742
- China: 696
- Sweden: 661
- Australia: 562
- Japan: 555
At just under 3,000 total gold, silver, and bronze medals at the time of writing, the U.S. comes out on top of Olympic wins. Of the 2,980 medals, 2,673 were won during the Summer Olympics, the most medals of all Summer Games participants. That leaves 307 from the Games that take place in the Winter, second-most to Norway. Most impressively, to answer how many gold medals does the US have, 1,180 are gold, while silver adds up to 959 and bronze: 841.
The Soviet Union’s 1,204 total medals can be broken down into 473 gold, 376 silver, and 355 bronze. This is impressive for a nation that only competed in the Olympic Games 18 times between 1952–1988 before it disbanded. What was previously included in the Soviet Union team now participates in the Olympics as 15 individual countries.
Then there’s Great Britain. It’s the first top 10 team to have won more bronze and silver medals than gold. The country has won 332 bronze, 320 silver, and 296 gold. Of course, Great Britain has the benefit of many territories. They can choose athletes from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Athletes from Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Jersey and 11 territories like Anguilla, Gibraltar, and Turks and Caicos Islands can also represent them.
Just narrowly missing the top 10: Russia with 547 medals, although if you combined them with the Soviet Union’s wins, it would be far greater (though still not surpassing the U.S.) With the top winners (and Russia) in mind, let’s answer some questions about participation.
Now, how do practice and opportunity affect an Olympic outcome? Let’s see if the most successful countries at the Olympic games like the U.S., Soviet Union, and Great Britain are those that have participated the most.
- United States (307 Olympic Games in total)
- Great Britain (52)
- France (52)
Breaking it down by Summer vs. Winter Games, 12 countries have participated 23 times in the Winter Games, including Norway and the U.S. As for which country has won the most winter Olympic medals? Norway beats out every other country with a total of 368. It seems those freezing temperatures and a constant blanket of snow have come in handy.
Of Norway’s medals, 132 are gold (the most gold medals of all Winter Games participants). Norway also takes the cake for the most silver Winter medals (125) and most bronze (111). That just leaves the less athletically-inclined countries without a single medal.
Several countries have only a single Olympic medal to their name (sort the map by Total to see for yourself). But then there are those without even one medal to call their own.
Of the 76 medal-less countries out there, many have tried multiple times (some more than 20!) to place at the games. The countries without medals with most attempts include:
- Monaco – 31-time Olympic Games participant
- Andorra – 24
- Bolivia – 21
In addition to these three countries with more than 20 tries, Malta, Myanmar, Nepal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Madagascar have each attempted to win a medal at the Olympics at least 15 times.