In the 1936 Games in Berlin, with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in attendance, Owens became the first American to win four gold medals in a single Olympics. He set three records in winning the long jump, 200 meters and the first leg of the 4x100-meter relay, and also won gold in the 100 meters.
2 of 12Simon Bruty/SI
Phelps is already the most decorated Olympian of all time, and he's not even done yet. He holds the record for the most Olympic gold medals (14), the most individual Olympic gold medals (nine), the record for the most Olympic gold medals won in a single Games (eight in 2008) and he sits behind only Larisa Latynina for the most Olympic medals in history. He will hit the pool in London for the 2012 Games, but has hinted that it will be his last Olympics.
3 of 12Manny Millan/SI
His nine gold medals -- including four straight long jump victories, the last coming at the age of 35 -- tie him for the most all-time for any athlete from any country. In 1984, he became the first American track athlete to win four gold medals at one Olympics since 1936, winning the same events Owens did (100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4x100 meter relay).
4 of 12Bill Frakes/SI
The former world record holder in the 200- and 400-meter events wore custom gold shoes at the 1996 Olympics, where he became the first athlete to win Olympic gold medals in those two events at the same Games.
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Beamon's record-setting leap in the 1968 Olympics was so impressive it warranted a new adjective: `Beamonesque.' That leap, a long jump world record distance of 8.90 meters, shattered the previous record by 55 centimeters and endured as the world record until 1991. It was the only Olympic medal of Beamon's career.
6 of 12Andy Hayt/SI
After winning silver in the platform in 1976, Louganis became the first person since 1928 to win both the platform and springboard diving gold medals, doing so at the 1984 Olympics. He repeated the feat four years later despite needing stitches after hitting his head on the board in qualifying.
7 of 12Manny Millan/SI
After winning a surprising gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Moses would go nine years, nine months and nine days between losses in the event, winning 107 straight finals. Eight years later, after the boycotted 1980 Olympics, he became just the second athlete to win two Olympic gold medals in the event.
8 of 12UPI/CORBIS-BETTMANN
The greatest standing jumper in history, Ewry won eight individual Olympic gold medals in his career, putting him behind only Michael Phelps (nine individual medals) on the all-time list. Standing jump events were discontinued in the 1930s, but Ewry's accomplishments live on.
9 of 12AP
Spitz set seven world records in the 1972 Olympics to become the first athlete to win seven gold medals at a single Olympics. He won four individual and three relay events and would pile up nine gold medals total.
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Oerter was the first to take gold in a single event at four straight Olympics, winning the discus from 1956 to 1968. After battling injuries in both of his final two gold medal wins, only a strained Achilles tendon kept him from competing in the 1984 Games at age 47.
11 of 12Russel Mcphedran/AP
An 11-time Olympic medalist, Biondi is best remembered for his prolific run at the 1988 Games in Seoul. Biondi won seven medals (five gold, one silver, one bronze) that year, a total eclipsed only by Michael Phelps in 2008.
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The multi-talented Thorpe participated in only the 1912 Games, but his accomplishments stood for decades. Thorpe took home the gold in both the decathlon and pentathlon in Stockholm, setting a point-total record unseen at the time and dominating the event like no one had done before.
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