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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Piotr
1 month ago

It’s badly impressive, from physical standpoint obviously it’s much more demanding for women to compete with multi-events schedule, and McKeon has delivered in a spectacular fashion. That’s the record only Australian or American in a future can match, maybe Mollie O’Callaghan if she can improve into 100m/200m free/100m back specialist, but it is a reach.

Jackman
Reply to  Piotr
1 month ago

Why is it much more demanding for women to compete with multi-events schedule?

Eyeballer
1 month ago

Don’t get me wrong, this is an incredible accomplishment for McKeon, but adding another relay made this possible for her. You can’t tell me Coughlin wouldn’t have won 7 medals in 2008 if there was a MMR for those Games.

Last edited 1 month ago by Eyeballer
Willy G
Reply to  Eyeballer
1 month ago

Very true. Coughlin, Hansen, Phelps, Torres would have easily won gold.

Lydia Jacoby's Goggles
Reply to  Willy G
1 month ago

Or even if they decided to go MMFF: Piersol, Hanson, Coughlin, Torres wouldn’t have been a bad option either

Corn Pop
Reply to  Willy G
1 month ago

Not so quick .Australia had a good selection with medallists in all 100 m events M & F .

A selection off my head .Hayden Stoeckl 53.1 Liesel Jones 65.1 , Libby lenton 57 Eammon Sullivan .01 off 100m mens gold .

Sub13
Reply to  Willy G
1 month ago

The US team could have won gold in this MMR too… but they didn’t. Do you add a medal to Dressel’s count becuase they COULD have?

torchbearer
Reply to  Eyeballer
1 month ago

Hard to look back at records- how many medals would Dawn Fraser have won with the addition of 50m free, 200m free, 4x200m, 4x100m Medley, MMRelay? Probably 15…

Eyeballer
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

Great point! I didn’t realize Fraser won 10 in a single Olympics though! Impressive!

Joel
Reply to  Eyeballer
1 month ago

She didn’t

Personal Best
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

Good point about the incredible Dawn Fraser. Gold in the 100 and silver in the 200. How amazing her record would have looked had the 200m free been contested. She was WR holder at some stage… maybe around 1956.

Personal Best
Reply to  Personal Best
1 month ago

I meant to say silver in the 400. The 200 wasn’t contested.

Sub13
Reply to  Eyeballer
1 month ago

If if if. If there weren’t 3 additional events this year Australia and US would be tied for most wins in the pool.

Also, Emma did it with two individual golds, two relay golds and three bronze. Coughlin had 1 gold out of 6.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sub13
jim
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

We do not know how Ledecky would have done in her other events if the 1500 were not also on her schedule.

Sub13
Reply to  Eyeballer
1 month ago

This year US men gold + US women silver in the medleys = no place in MMR.

2008 had US men gold and US women silver, so actually no, you can’t assume they would have medaled. Because in the same circumstances this year, you didn’t.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Eyeballer
1 month ago

IF

IF

IF

If my grandma were round, she’d have been a wheel

Troyy
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

Nah, she’d just be fat.

SwimmerFan99
1 month ago

If you’d have told me there’d be a swimmer winning more medals than Dressel in Tokyo, I’d have thought you were crazy.

Funnily enough, if you score Gold-Silver-Bronze as 3-2-1 in terms of their worth, they both end up with a tied score of 15.

Kudzai
1 month ago

Congratulations to Emma Mckeon and swimming Australia for such an amazing Olympics…. 7 medals including 4 golds is crazy… To think it could have been 5 gold if 4×200 relay had been in a different order with Titmus on anchor,but magnificent performance considering we are in the midst of a pandemic…. Well done Emma, well done Australia…. Cant wait for Paris 2024!!!!!

torchbearer
1 month ago

And Emma didnt win her medals because there was a ‘weak’ event (like the 200IM) or other swimmers not showing up, all her events were won in WR or ORs!!!

Swedish Fish
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

Sarah Sjostrom breaking her elbow this year definitely helped McKeon get a bronze medal in the 100 Fly. Also, a decent chance she gets silver in the 50 against a more healthy Sjostrom.

Sub13
Reply to  Swedish Fish
1 month ago

If Kyle hadn’t had multiple shoulder and heart surgeries he probably drops the 0.06 needed to beat Dressel. What’s your point?

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

And all the events that she swam in had current world record holders swimming

Sub13
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

Lol, just the one person in all three but yes technically correct.

Drama King
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

And defending Olympic champions and World champions (except Manuel)

Boomer
1 month ago

Extraordinary performance by Emma! Just one small regret that is the 4×200…

Virtus
Reply to  Boomer
1 month ago

I mean wasn’t exactly her fault she was like half a second from her pb

Sub13
1 month 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.

Swim nerd
1 month 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 month 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 month ago

Yawns.

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

Stop being so petty.

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

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

Personal Best
Reply to  Swim nerd
1 month 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 »

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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