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Who are the most decorated African Olympians of all time

Ranking European regions by Olympics medals
  • The 2024 Winter Games will be held from 26th July to 11th August 2024 in Paris.
  •  Olympic awards are gold medals for the first position, Silver Medal for the second position, and Bronze medals for the third position.
  •  Despite countries not having won medals, individual athletes made their success and acted as trailblazers in different ways.

 Over time the Olympic Games have been held and over 200 countries from all over the globe have competed in different categories with up to 300 events in the Winter Olympics and 100 events in the Summer Olympics.

The awards for the top positions in Olympic categories are gold medals for the first position, Silver Medal for the second position, and Bronze medals for the third position resented by a member of the Olympic International Committee with every individual and participating country having a free opportunity to win as many medals as possible.

Ranking European regions by Olympics medals

A representation of Olympic Medals Photo Courtesy / Shutterstock

Most African countries have participated in the Olympics games for over 58 years that is from 1960 to 2022.

Although some categories in the Olympic Games require team participation and despite countries not having won medals, individual athletes made their success and acted as trailblazers in different ways.

Here are the six most decorated African Olympians of all time

1. Kirsty Coventry

starting off our list is Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry as the most decorated Olympian of all time from Africa with 2 Gold, 4 Silver, and 1 Bronze medal amounting to up to 17 points.


Coventry during the Rio 2016 Olympic at the Aquatics Stadium, Barra Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro Photo/

Coventry who specialized in swimming won seven of Zimbabwe’s eight Olympic medals that still remain in history up to date.

In the 2004 Olympics that were held in Athens, she won three medals among them was a gold medal in the 200m backstrokes and later in 2008, she retained the same title.

It’s her success that saw her appointed as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth, sports, art, and recreation in the cabinet of Zimbabwe a position she still holds up to date.

2. Tirunesh Dibaba.

Dibaba is an Ethiopian Athlete who competes in long-distance tracks and international road races.

tirunesh dibaba

Tirunesh Dibaba after winning the Olympic gold medal at London 2012 Photo/Getty Images

Dibaba is also considered the youngest female world champion in athletics history.
She has up to 3 Gold and 3 Bronze medals equivalent to 15 points in the Olympic rankings.

She is the first woman in Olympic history ever to achieve the Olympic 5,000m/10,000m double and successfully defend a long-distance title at the Games.

Away from her 3 Olympic Gold medals, she also holds five World Championship track gold medals, four individual World Cross Country (WCC) adult titles, and one individual WCC junior title.

She is also the 5000 meters world record holder in outdoor track.

3. Kipchoge Keino

Keino is a retired Kenyan Athlete who is also currently serving as the Kenya Olympics Committee Chairman.

Kipchoge Keino c1972

Kipchoge Keino during a race Photo/ Wikipedia

He competed as a long-distance runner and was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, through the Olympic Games, he holds 2 Gold and 2 Silver Medals amounting to 12 points.

He competed in the mid-1960s where he set the world records in the 3,000 meters clocking 7 minutes 39.6 seconds and the 5,000 meters where he clocked 13 minutes 24.2 seconds.

4. Mohamed Gammoudi

Mohamed Gammoudi is Tunisia’s most decorated athlete having represented his country in the Tokyo, Mexico City, and Munich Olympiads and recorded four medals (1 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze).

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Photo Courtesy / Facebook/Mohamed Gammoudi

He is regarded as one of the pioneers of the African long-distance running revolution that changed the face of sports in the final decades of the 20th century.

5. Hicham El Guerrouj

Hicham El Guerrouj is a Moroccan athlete specializing in long-distance and middle-distance races.


Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj after finishing in the second position in the men’s 5,000m final at the Olympic Stadium 28 August 2004 during the Olympic Games athletics competitions in Athens. . AFP PHOTO FRANCK FIFE

In the Olympic Games, he holds 2 gold medals and 1 silver medal amounting to up to 10 points.

He won the world championship in the 1500 meters six times: four consecutive times and twice indoors. He has won the World Athlete of the Year awards three times and holds 7 of the fastest 10 times ever run in the 1500 meters and in the mile.

He was also a gold medal winner at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and is still the current 1,500m outdoor world record holder.

6. Chad Le Clos

Le Clos who is from South Africa is the most decorated Olympian having recorded 1 gold medal and three silvers from the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Olympics.

180407121558 gold medalist chad le clos scaled

Gold medalist Chad le Clos of South Africa poses during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 200m Butterfly Final of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Optus Aquatic Centre on April 7, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

He currently holds the Commonwealth record in the 50 and 100-meter butterfly.

His victory came after he won three consecutive 200m butterfly Commonwealth titles, clinching three gold medals in the 50m, 100m, and 200m butterfly events at the Commonwealth Games.

The 2024 Winter Games will be held from 26th July to 11th August 2024 in Paris.



Elias Makokha is a professional Media Practitioner venturing into Corporate Communications, Radio Broadcast and Digital content creation with a keen interest in videography, photography and online Writing. He works well individually and collaboratively with his juniors, peers and seniors. He adheres to the hallmarks of journalism and accurately reports by conducting fact checks from reputable sources before publishing.

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