Emma McKeon’s 7 Medal Haul Ties Most Ever Won by a Woman in a Single Olympics

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

Australian Emma McKeon finished the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a gold medal in the 400 medley relay, her 4th gold of the Games and 7th medal overall. With 7 medals in Tokyo, McKeon distinguishes herself as just the second woman ever to win 7 medals of any color in a single Games.

Soviet gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya won 7 medals–2 golds and 5 silvers–at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. Another female Olympian synonymous with Olympic gold is Larisa Latynina, a Soviet gymnast who, over the course of 3 Olympic Games (1956, 1960, & 1964), won 18 Olympic medals, 9 of which were gold.

McKeon contributed a 55.91 on the butterfly leg of the medley relay Sunday morning in Tokyo after winning gold in the 50 freestyle at the start of the session with a 23.81, a new Olympic Record. The Australian foursome of Kaylee McKeown, Chelsea Hodges, McKeon, and Cate Campbell broke the Olympic Record in their gold-medal effort in the 400 medley relay with a total time of 3:51.60, just 0.13 ahead of the American team.

McKeon is now the most decorated Australian Olympian ever with a total of 11 medals total between Tokyo and the 2016 Rio Games. Entering the session, McKeon was already tied with Aussie legends Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones for the most Olympic medals ever won by an Australian athlete with a career total of 9–she has now surpassed them by 2 medals.

American Caeleb Dressel is only other athlete of these Games so far to be on par with McKeon in the medal count, and will leave Tokyo with 5 medals, all of them gold–3 from individual events and 2 from relays. Dressel, however, took part in one event that did not earn a medal, the 4 x 100 Mixed Medley Relay. In this regard, McKeon’s record beats Dressel in that she not only netted more medals in Tokyo, despite leaving with on less gold than Dressel, but that she won a medal in every single event she competed in, a 7-for-7 medal-to-races record. In this regard Dressel comes up one medal short of McKeon, making his Games record 5-for-6.

Emma McKeon‘s Tokyo 2020 Medal Haul

  1. 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay – GOLD (3:29.69 WR)
  2. 100 Butterfly – BRONZE (55.72 OC)
  3. 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay – BRONZE (7:41.29 OC)
  4. 100 Freestyle – GOLD (51.96 OR)
  5. 4 x 100 Mixed Medley Relay – BRONZE (3:38.95)
  6. 50 Freestyle – GOLD (23.81 OR)
  7. 4 x 100 Medley Relay – GOLD (3:51.60 OR)

Some other records McKeon has broken or matched with her 7-medal haul in Tokyo are listed below.

Records That Emma McKeon Could Break At Tokyo 2020

  • Most Career Olympic Medals Won By An Australian: 9 – Ian Thorpe, Leisel Jones
  • Most Career Olympic Medals Won By An Australian Woman: 9 – Leisel Jones
  • Most Career Olympic Gold Medals Won By An Australian: 5 – Ian Thorpe
  • Most Career Olympic Gold Medals Won By An Australian Woman: 4 – Dawn Fraser, Libby Trickett, Betty Cuthbert*
  • Most Olympic Medals Won By An Australian At A Single Games: 5 – Ian Thorpe (2000), Shane Gould (1972), Alicia Coutts (2012)

*Betty Cuthbert (athletics) is the only non-swimmer to currently hold any of these records

Athletes Tied For 2nd Most Olympic Medals Won At A Single Olympic Games (7)

  • Mark Spitz (USA) – Swimming (1972)
  • Matt Biondi (USA) – Swimming (1988)
  • Willis A. Lee (USA) – Shooting (1920)
  • Boris Shakhlin (Soviet Union) – Gymnastics (1960)
  • Nikolay Andrianov (Soviet Union) – Gymnastics (1976)
  • Lloyd Spooner (USA) – Shooting (1920)
  • Maria Gorokhovskaya (Soviet Union) – Gymnastics (1952)
  • Mikhail Voronin (Soviter Union) – Gymnastics (1968)

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Tea rex
1 year ago

McKeon was the female stud of these Olympics.
That said, I hope they don’t keep the mixed medley at the Olympics. Keep it for worlds, but it’s too gimmicky, and not a great look – watch how quickly the fastest women in the world get run down by any man

jim
1 year ago

The US won 10 more medals than AUS, but only 1 more Gold. Which is it? Do we just count medals regardless of color, or look mainly at Gold medals, only looking at lesser medals for tie breaking purposes?

Fred
Reply to  jim
1 year ago

In the offical medal tally it’s most golds and then number of medals to seperate when the golds are tied. I guess they are ranking Emma above dressel because he didn’t medal in one event as Emma medaled in every event she did

jim
Reply to  Fred
1 year ago

Actually in the official count it is the number of golds, and then the number of silvers as first tie breaker, and then the number of bronzes as second tie breaker. Dressel is ahead of McKeon in the official medal count, because 5 golds, or even 4 golds and a silver rank ahead of 4 golds and 3 bronzes.

Sub13
Reply to  jim
1 year ago

If you’re looking at the medal table, it is most golds first, then most silvers if a tie, then most bronze. That’s pretty much universally agreed outside of the USA. And I think that’s an accurate reflection of a country’s achievements.

When you’re looking at an individual, it becomes a bit more complicated. Swimming more events is much harder than it used to be with semifinals. Comparing a country’s overall achievements directly with individual specific achievements is difficult. There is certainly the argument that Emma or Caeleb are the best swimmer of the meet, but it’s clear that they are the undisputed female and male IMO.

ADB
1 year ago

The mixed relay should not be an OLYMPIC event, but it is cool for any other level of competition. I think it dilutes the meaning of olympic medals. What’s next, a coaches relay? That’s just my opinion and I’m really just putting it out there, not trying to debate.

Sub13
Reply to  ADB
1 year ago

Even without the MMR, Emma won the most medals of any female swimmer, and the most golds of any female swimmer who was not a doping cheat.

You can debate the status of the MMR all you like, but it doesn’t diminish Emma’s achievement.

Just swim
Reply to  ADB
1 year ago

it also gives another medal chance for the big countries while smaller countries that might only have 1/2 good swimmers at a time will fall behind even more in the medal count since they won’t ever have a full relay team

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  ADB
1 year ago

Meh.

I enjoyed it a lot more than some events, like women 200IM.

Kevin
1 year ago

This needs to get all the press because it’s an incredible accomplishment. It hasn’t gone unnoticed, I’ve seen a good AP story and a few other notes on other outlets, but it’s still somehow flying under the radar and that is a shame. Deserves more headlines and stories like this that focus on her. Not just a mention in some other story like I’ve seen elsewhere.

Congrats Emma McKeon you did something amazing!

I also want to thank you personally for adding a ton to my enjoyment of watching these Olympics. I love seeing greatness in action and you certainly were that.

swim mumma
1 year ago

So happy for Emma McKeon. A quiet achiever, very humble and amazing to see her achieve her dreams

Corn Pop
1 year ago

I just added up Aust 2008. STOECKL Jones Trickett & Sullivan & its the same as Tokyo in the MMR .!

I. was passed going up the cliff climb at Austinmer NSW on a Boxing Day 2015 by a very polite athletic girl . We stepped aside to let her pass . Of course it was Emma . Proud to say I have had swim greatness pass me by .

Its equal to moving over to the next lane for Popov when he did a mid day kicking session at the AIS . I was mesmerised by his beauty as he stood on the blocks in a speedo & fully forgot I am the world’s worst kickeras I too… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Corn Pop
Swim nerd
1 year ago

Not meaning this in a bad way, but this is not as impressive as it may look, 4 relays is a lot of relays that add to the total number of golds. Obviously still incredibly impressive, maybe a better way would be the number of individual medals, in which category dressel has 3 golds, ledecky has two golds and a silver, Titmus has two golds and a silver, and McKeon has two golds and a bronze. Just puts into perspective how insane MP was, having won 4 individual golds and a bronze in Athens, 5 individual golds in Beijing, 2 individual golds and a silver in London, and 2 individual golds and a silver in Rio. at his absolute worst,… Read more »

SBOmega
Reply to  Swim nerd
1 year ago

I mean when Phelps won 5 gold in Rio, you weren’t saying he “only” won two individual golds

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Swim nerd
1 year ago

Yawns.

If Emma were an American, no doubt you’d be gushing in excitement.

Stop being so petty.

Last edited 1 year ago by Texas Tap Water
Sub13
Reply to  Swim nerd
1 year ago

Do you think about what you’re going to write before you type? This is embarrassing.

Did you say Natalie Coughlin was unimpressive because 3 of her 6 were relays? No.

I could almost understand discounting one of them if they were from a heat swim in a relay, but she swam four relays and was either the best or second best leg on all four of them. She dropped the 200 because she knew she would be swimming four relays. For all we know she could have picked up another medal there.

If it’s “not as impressive as it may look” then why has no other swimmer ever done it? Even if you discount the MMR because it’s a new… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Sub13
ButterPeanut
Reply to  Sub13
1 year ago

While I agree with you, it is common place on this site to disregard the medal/gold counts of many American swimmers due to the large percentage of them that come from relays. Same idea here. Not that I agree with it, but it happens. Regardless, an amazing week for AUS and McKeon

jim
Reply to  ButterPeanut
1 year ago

In particular, it is common place to disparage Natalie Coughlin.

Personal Best
Reply to  Swim nerd
1 year ago

You incited some heated reaction here haha.
I disagree with you in the sense that you cannot directly compare these. Emma still had to swim 7 finals, and in doing so did give up a chance to swim the 200m freestyle. She could well have been in the hunt for an individual medal there.

If there had been the MMR in 2008 or 2012 and any of the top US swimmers had to compete in that, then how would their individual performances been impacted? Would Coughlin for instance been able to hold on to the 100m free bronze? Or would she have given up the 200 IM from her program?

3 individual medals in the midst of 4 relay… Read more »

Sub13
1 year ago

Everyone was focussing on Kyle vs Caeleb and Katie vs Arnie, and Emma flew ahead to beat all four of them.

Record breaking, historic, legendary.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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