The United States has dominated the men's event: with 19 gold medals and 56 medals in total, the nation won over half the available medals in the history of the competition. The United States has swept the medals on eight occasions and an American man has been on the podium every edition except the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which it boycotted. Though less dominant in the women's events, it shares the most number of women's gold medals with Australia, having four each.
For a brief period, a men's Olympic 200 metres low hurdles race was held. It was a relatively common event in the early 1900s. With only two appearances in 1900 and 1904, the event's removal as an Olympic event marked the beginning of a steady decline of its popularity over the course of the 20th century and it is now a rarity. The 1900 event was won by Alvin Kraenzlein, who won four gold medals that year, including the 110 m hurdles title. The second and final 200 m hurdles champion, Harry Hillman, was again a multiple gold medallist, as the American won the 400 metres sprint and 400 metres hurdles Olympic titles at that games.
The 1906 Intercalated Games were held in Athens and at the time were officially recognised as part of the Olympic Games series, with the intention being to hold a games in Greece in two-year intervals between the internationally held Olympics. However, this plan never came to fruition and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) later decided not to recognise these games as part of the official Olympic series. Some sports historians continue to treat the results of these games as part of the Olympic canon.