United States at the Olympics

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United States at the
Flag of the United States.svg
IOC code USA
NOC United States Olympic Committee
Gold Silver Bronze Total
1,118 897 789 2,804
Summer appearances
Winter appearances
Other related appearances
1906 Intercalated Games

The United States of America has sent athletes to every celebration of the modern Olympic Games except the 1980 Summer Olympics, during which it led a boycott. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is the National Olympic Committee for the United States.

U.S. athletes have won a total of 2,522 medals (1,022 of them gold) at the Summer Olympic Games and another 282 at the Winter Olympic Games. Most medals have been won in athletics (track and field) (801, 32%) and swimming (553, 22%). Thomas Burke was the first athlete to represent the United States at the Olympics. He took first place in both the 100 meters and the 400 meters at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. American track and field athlete James Connolly was the first modern Olympic champion. He took first place in the triple jump, which was the first opening day final event at the 1896 Summer Olympics. American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most-decorated Olympic athlete of any nation, with 28 medals (including 23 golds).

The United States has won gold at every games at which it has competed, more gold and overall medals than any other country at the Summer Games, and also has the second-most gold and overall medals at the Winter Games, trailing only Norway. From the mid-20th century to the late 1980s, the United States mainly competed with the Soviet Union at the Summer Games and with the Soviet Union, Norway, and East Germany at the Winter Games. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it now primarily contends with China and Great Britain at the Summer Games for both the overall medal count and the gold medal count and with Norway at the Winter Games for the overall medal count.

The United States has topped the gold medal count (as the medals are listed internationally by tradition) at seventeen Summer Olympics and one Winter Olympics: 1932 in Lake Placid. The United States has set multiple records for the number of medals won: the most medals (239) of any country at a single Summer Olympics (1904), the most gold medals (83) of any country at a single Summer Olympics (1984) and the most medals (37) of any country at a single Winter Olympics (2010).

Hosted Games[edit]

The United States have hosted the Games on eight occasions, more than any other country:

Games Host city Dates Nations Participants Events
1904 Summer Olympics St. Louis, Missouri 1 July – 23 November 12 651 91
1932 Winter Olympics Lake Placid, New York 7 – 15 February 17 252 14
1932 Summer Olympics Los Angeles, California 30 July – 14 August 37 1,332 117
1960 Winter Olympics Squaw Valley, California 2 – 20 February 30 665 27
1980 Winter Olympics Lake Placid, New York 13 – 24 February 37 1,072 38
1984 Summer Olympics Los Angeles, California 28 July – 12 August 140 6,829 221
1996 Summer Olympics Atlanta, Georgia 19 July – 4 August 197 10,318 271
2002 Winter Olympics Salt Lake City, Utah 8 – 24 February 77 2,399 78
2028 Summer Olympics Los Angeles, California TBA TBA TBA TBA

Medal tables[edit]

Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.


Amateurism and professionalism[edit]

The exclusion of professionals caused several controversies throughout the history of the modern Olympics. The 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon champion Jim Thorpe was stripped of his medals when it was discovered that he had played semi-professional baseball before the Olympics. His medals were posthumously restored by the IOC in 1983 on compassionate grounds.[3]

The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. The Soviet Union entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full-time basis.[4][5] As a result, the Olympics has shifted away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Pierre de Coubertin, to allowing participation of professional athletes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Warren Wofford was the flagbearer in the (Equestrian) parade in Stockholm for the Olympics Equestrian Sports Association events held there because a quarantine imposed on horses prevented equestrian events from taking place in Australia
  2. ^ First woman to carry the flag at the Olympics for United States
  3. ^ "Jim Thorpe Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved 9 February 2009. 
  4. ^ Benjamin, Daniel (1992-07-27). "Traditions Pro Vs. Amateur". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  5. ^ Schantz, Otto. "The Olympic Ideal and the Winter Games Attitudes Towards the Olympic Winter Games in Olympic Discourses—from Coubertin to Samaranch" (PDF). Comité International Pierre De Coubertin. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2008. 

External links[edit]