39. Matt Biondi, Swimming.
From the mid ’80s to the early ’90s, American swimmer Matt Biondi was the best the United States had to offer in the pool. In his three Olympic appearances (in ’84, ’88, and ’92), Biondi won 11 medals, including eight golds.
Biondi was a five-time competitive swimming record-holder, doing his best work at the 1988 Games in Seoul, where he snagged five of his eight golds and set two Olympic records.
His strokes of choice were in short-distance freestyle and butterfly, but Biondi also thrived in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle events, and starred as a crucial piece in many of the United States’ relay teams in that span.
Biondi’s 1988 peak may have been short lived, but he remains one of the best swimmers in not only in Team USA’s history, but in Olympic history as well, having been inducted into both the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the United States Olympics Hall of Fame.
Next: 38. Polina Astakhova.