8. Birgit Fischer, Canoe Racing.
Birgit Fischer is the most decorated kayaker in Olympics history. Representing two different nations — East Germany and reunified Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall — Fischer won 12 Olympic medals (eight gold, four silver) over six Olympiads.
Fischer is one of two Summer Olympic athletes (the other being the aforementioned Hungarian fencer Aladar Gerevich at No. 20) to have won gold medals in six different Games. This despite Fishcer’s East Germany boycotting the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
All told, and excepting the ’84 boycott, Fischer won Olympic gold at least once in every Summer Olympics from 1980 to 2004.
Whether as part of a two-person, four-person, or one-person heat, Fischer dominated the 500 m race in kayaking for over two decades, and remains both the youngest (18) and oldest (42) to win gold in Olympic canoe racing.
Next: 7. Larisa Latynina.