Who Is America's Greatest Summer Olympian?

by urbanemovies | created - 18 Aug 2016 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Which American Summer Olympian best represents the USA in both Olympic spirit and Olympic results?

Take the companion poll: Who is America's Greatest Winter Olympian?

Discuss the topic here. *Special thanks to DC for his invaluable help with the images.

1. Jesse Owens

Self | Kings of the Olympics

Jesse Owens, arguably the most popular American track and field star in history, was -- along with his contemporary, world's heavyweight champion Joe Louis -- one of the first African Americans to change white society's perception of both black athletes and, more importantly, people of color. The ...

2. Jenny Thompson

Self | Athens 2004: Games of the XXVIII Olympiad

Jenny Thompson was born on February 26, 1973 in Danvers, Massachusetts, USA as Jennifer Beth Thompson. She has been married to Daniel Richard Cumpelik since September 5, 2010.

3. Carl Lewis

Actor | Alien Hunter

Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis (born July 1, 1961) is an American former track and field athlete, who won 10 Olympic medals, including nine gold, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired.


4. Allyson Felix

Actress | Black-ish

Allyson Felix was born on November 18, 1985 in California. Nicknamed "Chicken Legs" for her lanky physique, Felix went out for the track team in 7th grade. She excelled from the start, within a year finishing seventh in the 200-meter dash at the CIF California State Meet, eventually becoming a ...

5. Michael Phelps

Actor | Suits

Michael Fred Phelps II was born in Towson, Maryland, to Deborah Sue (Davisson), a middle school principal, and Michael Fred Phelps, a state trooper. Before the 2004 Olympics started, rumor had it that 19 year-old Phelps was thinking of trying to match or even surpass Mark Spitz's legendary seven ...

6. Serena Williams

Actress | Pixels

Serena Williams, is one of the top female tennis player in the world, has always maintained a level of interest. She earned her first grand slam singles title at the U.S. Open back in 1999, and made a string of four straight grand slam singles title wins - the 2002 French, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open ...

7. Greg Louganis

Actor | Entourage

Considered the greatest diver in history, Greg Louganis is the only male to win gold medals on both 3 meter springboard and 10 meter platform in consecutive Olympic Games (1984, 1988). A trained actor, dancer, model and spokesman, Greg's wide repertoire of skills keeps him in demand and in the ...

8. Shannon Miller

Actress | Saved by the Bell: The New Class

Shannon Miller was born on March 10, 1977 in Rolla, Missouri, USA as Shannon Lee Miller. She is an actress, known for Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1993), Audible and Jocking Around (2007). She has been married to John Falconetti since August 25, 2008. They have two children. She was previously...

9. Jim Thorpe

Actor | Trailin' West

Jim Thorpe was born on May 22, 1887 in Prague, Indian Territory [now Oklahoma], USA as James Francis Thorpe. He is known for his work on Trailin' West (1936), Off His Base (1932) and Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951). He was married to Patricia Gladys Evelyn Woodbury, Freeda Verona Kirkpatrick and ...

10. Dara Torres

Self | Beijing 2008: Games of the XXIX Olympiad

Dara Grace Torres (born April 15, 1967) is an American former competitive swimmer who is a twelve-time Olympic medalist and former world record-holder in three events. Torres is the first swimmer to represent the United States in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008), and, at age 41,...

11. Mark Spitz

Actor | Emergency!

Mark Andrew Spitz (born February 10, 1950) is an American former competition swimmer, nine-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in seven events. He won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, an achievement surpassed only by Michael Phelps, who won eight golds at ...

12. Jackie Joyner

Self | Marathon

Jacqueline "Jackie" Joyner-Kersee (born March 3, 1962) is an American retired track and field athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the women's heptathlon as well as in the women's long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at ...

13. Simone Biles

Actress | Mack & Moxy

Simone Biles was born on March 14, 1997 in Columbus, Ohio, USA as Simone Arianne Biles. She is an actress and producer, known for Mack & Moxy (2015), If I Could Tell You Just One Thing and The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar (2018).

14. Michael Johnson

Self | The Master of Disguise

Michael Johnson was born on September 13, 1967 in Dallas, Texas, USA as Michael Duane Johnson. He has been married to Kerry Doyen since October 3, 1998. They have one child.

15. Natalie Coughlin

Self | Beijing 2008: Games of the XXIX Olympiad

Natalie Coughlin was born on August 23, 1982 in Emeryville, California, USA as Natalie Anne Coughlin. She is known for her work on Beijing 2008: Games of the XXIX Olympiad (2008), Athens 2004: Games of the XXVIII Olympiad (2004) and Hell's Kitchen (2005). She has been married to Ethan Hall since ...

16. Gary Hall Jr.

Self | Baywatch

Gary Hall Jr. was born on September 26, 1974 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA as Gary Wayne Hall Jr. He has been married to Elizabeth Peterson since 2001. They have two children.

17. Lisa Leslie

Actress | Think Like a Man

Lisa Leslie is an American former professional basketball player. She is the head coach for Triplets in the BIG3 professional basketball league, as well as a studio analyst for Orlando Magic broadcasts on Fox Sports Florida.

Leslie played in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). She is...

18. Bob Mathias

Actor | Teseo contro il minotauro

Bob Mathias was born on November 17, 1930 in Tulare, California, USA as Robert Bruce Mathias. He was an actor, known for The Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete (1960), The Bob Mathias Story (1954) and China Doll (1958). He was married to Gwen Alexander and Melba Wiser. He died on September 2, 2006 ...

19. Florence Griffith Joyner

Actress | Santa Barbara

Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner (December 21, 1959 - September 21, 1998), also known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete. She is considered the fastest woman of all time based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 m and 200 m still stand and have yet to...

20. Wilma Rudolph

Self | Toast of the Town

Wilma Glodean Rudolph (June 23, 1940 - November 12, 1994) was an American track and field sprinter, who competed in the 100 and 200 meters dash. Rudolph was considered the fastest woman in the world in the 1960s and competed in two Olympic Games, in 1956 and in 1960.

In the 1960 Summer Olympics in ...

21. Bob Beamon

Self | Fists of Freedom: The Story of the '68 Summer Games

Bob Beamon was born on August 29, 1946 in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, New York, USA.

22. Mia Hamm

Producer | Alive and Kicking

Mariel Margaret "Mia" Hamm-Garciaparra (born March 17, 1972) is a retired American professional association football player and two time olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup winner. Hamm played many years as a forward for the United States women's national soccer team and was a founding...

23. Edwin Moses

Director | Australian Geography

Edwin Moses was born on August 31, 1955 in Dayton, Ohio, USA as Edwin Corley Moses. He is a director and composer, known for Australian Geography (1971), Our Land Australia (1972) and Where Dead Men Lie (1971). He was previously married to Myrella Bordt.

24. Dick Fosbury

Self | Sfide

Dick Fosbury was born on March 6, 1947 in Portland, Oregon, USA as Richard Douglas Fosbury.

25. Rafer Johnson

Actor | Licence to Kill

A distinguished American athlete and occasional actor with many other strings to his bow, Rafer Johnson was a UCLA basketball star who went on to become Pan American decathlon champion in 1955, a two time decathlon silver medallist at the Melbourne Olympics (despite injuries) and winner of gold ...

26. Al Oerter

Self | Numero Uno

Al Oerter was born on September 19, 1936 in Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York, USA as Alfred Adolf Oerter Jr. He was married to Cathy Carroll and Corinne Benedetto. He died on October 1, 2007 in Fort Myers, Florida, USA.

27. Nastia Liukin

Self | Stick It

Nastia Liukin was born on October 30, 1989 in Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR as Anastasia Valerievna Liukina. She is an actress, known for Stick It (2006), Make It or Break It (2009) and Hellcats (2010).

28. Paul Hamm

Actor | The Vampire Diaries

Paul Hamm was born on September 24, 1982 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA as Paul Elbert Hamm. He is an actor, known for The Vampire Diaries (2009), Sasuke (1997) and Sydney 2000: Games of the XXVII Olympiad (2000).

29. Matt Biondi

Self | Los Angeles 1984: Games of the XXIII Olympiad

Matt Biondi was born on October 8, 1965 in Moraga, California, USA as Matthew Nicholas Biondi. He is known for his work on Los Angeles 1984: Games of the XXIII Olympiad (1984), Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women (1989) and Barcelona 1992: Games of the XXV Olympiad (1992). He has been married to ...

30. Aly Raisman

Actress | Charlie's Angels

Aly Raisman, the daughter of Lynn and Rick Raisman, was born in Needham, Massachusetts, and graduated from Needham High School. She began taking gymnastics at the age of two. Raisman started her senior career in 2010, and that season, she helped the U.S. national team finish second at the World ...

31. Mitchell Gaylord

Stunts | Batman Forever

Mitch Gaylord first thrilled the world in 1984 when he led the United States Olympic gymnastics team to its Gold Medal victory. In addition to being the first American Gymnast in history to score a Perfect "10", Mitch went on to capture a Silver medal for Vaulting and two Bronze medals for Rings ...

32. Mary Lou Retton

Actress | Scrooged

Mary Lou Retton (born January 24, 1968) is a retired American gymnast. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals. Her performance made her one of the most popular athletes in the ...

33. Muhammad Ali

Actor | The Greatest

Muhammad Ali beat more champions and top contenders than any heavyweight champion in history. He defeated heavyweight kings Sonny Liston (twice), Floyd Patterson (twice), Ernie Terrell, Jimmy Ellis, Ken Norton (twice), Joe Frazier (twice), George Foreman and Leon Spinks. He defeated ...

Recently Viewed