USA-USSR

The Cold War between the USA and USSR dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  The Olympics offered an athletic (yet still political) stage for the tensions of these super powers, resulting in the highest level of competition in sports.  The Soviets dominated the Winter Games, but the Summer Games were highly competitive.  The two countries won far more medals than any other country during this period and finished 1-2 in the medal counts in every Summer Games until the Soviet-backed East German doping program really took hold in the late 1970s.  All data was compiled from Olympic.org.

Total Medal Count
Summer and Winter Olympics

Total Total
315 244 215 774 393 307 309 1009

Summer Games 1952-88*
290 216 194 700 315 250 250 815

Winter Games 1956-88
25 28 21 74 78 57 59 194

* Excludes 1980 Olympics boycotted by USA and '84 Olympics boycotted by USSR


Medal Counts (Rank)
Winter Summer
Total Total
1952
USA 4 (2) 6 1 11 (2) USA 40 (1) 19 17 76 (1)
USSR did not send a team USSR 22 (2) 30 19 71 (2)

1956
USA 2 (T5) 3 2 7 (T4) USA 32 (2) 25 17 74 (2)
USSR 7 (1) 3 6 16 (1) USSR 37 (1) 29 32 98 (1)

1960
USA 3 (T3) 4 3 10 (2) USA 34 (2) 21 16 71 (2)
USSR 7 (1) 5 9 21 (1) USSR 43 (1) 29 31 103 (1)

1964
USA 1 (T8) 2 3 6 (8) USA 36 (1) 26 28 90 (2)
USSR 11 (1) 8 6 25 (1) USSR 30 (2) 31 35 96 (1)

1968
USA 1 (T9) 5 1 7 (T7) USA 45 (1) 28 34 107 (1)
USSR 5 (2) 5 3 13 (2) USSR 29 (2) 32 30 91 (2)

1972
USA 3 (T4) 2 3 8 (6) USA 33 (2) 31 30 94 (2)
USSR 8 (1) 5 3 16 (1) USSR 50 (1) 27 22 99 (1)

1976
USA 3 (T3) 3 4 10 (T3) USA 34 (3) 35 25 94 (2)
USSR 13 (1) 6 8 27 (1) USSR 49 (1) 41 35 125 (1)

1980
USA 6 (3) 4 2 12 (3) USA USA boycott
USSR 10 (1) 6 6 22 (1) USSR 80 (1) 69 46 195 (1)

1984
USA 4 (T3) 4 0 8 (T5) USA 83 (1) 61 30 174 (1)
USSR 6 (2) 10 9 25 (1) USSR USSR boycott

1988
USA 2 (T8) 1 3 6 (T8) USA 36 (3) 31 27 94 (3)
USSR 11 (1) 9 9 29 (1) USSR 55 (1) 31 46 132 (1)

USA Medal Count Wins USSR
3 Summer Gold 5
2 Summer Total 6
0 Winter Gold 9
0 Winter Total 9


Medal Count by Sport
Gold (Total) Summer Gold (Total)
5 (7) Archery 0 (4)
97 (210) Athletics 49 (152)
  7 (10) Basketball 3 (10)
22 (42) Boxing 13 (43)
3 (6) Canoeing 25 (43)
0 (1) Cycling 8 (18)
19 (51) Diving 2 (8)
3 (16) Equestrian 3 (9)
0 (1) Fencing 15 (41)
0 (0) Football 2 (4)
0 (2) Gymnastics 64 (162)
0 (0) Handball 3 (4)
0 (4) Judo 3 (18)
0 (4) Modern Pentathlon 3 (12)
8 (24) Rowing 11 (30)
8 (25) Sailing 3 (9)
9 (23) Shooting 14 (43)
87 (211) Swimming 4 (37)
0 (2) Synchronized Swimming 0 (0)
2 (5) Tennis 0 (0)
1 (1) Volleyball 5 (10)
0 (2) Water Polo 1 (6)
9 (23) Weightlifting 34 (54)
10 (30) Wrestling 50 (98)



Gold (Total) Winter Gold (Total)
4 (16) Alpine Skiing 0 (1)
0 (0) Biathlon 9 (19)
0 (1) Bobsleigh 1 (3)
0 (1) Cross-Country Skiing 25 (68)
8 (23) Figure Skating 10 (24)
2 (4) Ice Hockey 7 (9)
0 (0) Luge 1 (6)
0 (0) Nordic Combined 0 (3)
0 (0) Ski Jumping 1 (1)
11 (29) Speed Skating 24 (60)



USA Medal Count Wins by Sport USSR
10 Summer 14
1 Winter 9
11 Total 23





1952
Winter - Oslo, Norway Summer - Helsinki, Finland
Total Total
USA 4 (2) 6 1 11 (2) USA 40 (1) 19 17 76 (1)
USSR did not send a team USSR 22 (2) 30 19 71 (2)

Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total
Athletics 15 31 2 17
Basketball 1 1 0 1
Boxing 5 5 0 6
Canoeing 1 1 0 1
Diving 4 9 0 0
Equestrian 0 2 0 0
Gymnastics 0 0 9 22
Rowing 2 3 1 3
Sailing 2 3 0 0
Shooting 1 2 1 4
Swimming 4 9 0 0
Weightlifting 4 6 3 7
Wrestling 1 4 6 10


Soviet Gymnast Larisa Latynina's record of 18 medals from 1956-64 stood until Michael Phelps broke it in 2012.

1956
Winter - Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy Summer - Melbourne, Australia
Total Total
USA 2 (T5) 3 2 7 (T4) USA 32 (2) 25 17 74 (2)
USSR 7 (1) 3 6 16 (1) USSR 37 (1) 29 32 98 (1)

Americans Soviets Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total
Alpine Skiing 0 0 0 1 Athletics 16 31 5 22
Bobsleigh 0 1 0 0 Basketball 1 1 0 1
X-Country Skiing 0 0 2 7 Boxing 2 3 3 6
Figure Skating
2 5 0 0 Canoeing 0 0 2 7
Ice Hockey 0 1 1 1 Diving 3 9 0 0
Speed Skating 0 0 4 7 Fencing 0 0 0 2
Football 0 0 1 1
Gymnastics 0 0 11 23
M Pentathlon 0 1 1 1
Rowing 3 6 2 4
Sailing 1 2 0 0
Shooting 0 1 3 8
Swimming 2 11 0 2
Water Polo 0 0 0 1
Weightlifting 4 7 3 7
Wrestling 0 2 6 13


1960
Winter - Squaw Valley, United States Summer - Rome, Italy
Total Total
USA 3 (T3) 4 3 10 (2) USA 34 (2) 21 16 71 (2)
USSR 7 (1) 5 9 21 (1) USSR 43 (1) 29 31 103 (1)

Americans Soviets Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total
Alpine Skiing 0 3 0 0 Athletics 12 26 11 21
Biathlon 0 0 0 1 Basketball 1 1 0 1
X-Country Skiing 0 0 1 6 Boxing 3 4 1 5
Figure Skating 2 4 0 0 Canoeing 0 0 3 4
Ice Hockey 1 1 0 1 Cycling 0 0 1 5
Nordic Combined 0 0 0 1 Diving 2 6 0 1
Speed Skating 0 2 6 12 Equestrian 0 1 1 1
Fencing 0 1 3 7
Gymnastics 0 0 10 26
M Pentathlon 0 2 0 1
Rowing 1 2 2 5
Sailing 1 2 1 2
Shooting 1 2 2 7
Swimming 9 15 0 0
Water Polo 0 0 0 1
Weightlifting 1 6 5 6
Wrestling 3 3 3 10


1962 was probably the most tense year of the Cold War, and the USA-USSR dual track meet in Palo Alto, California is perhaps the sport's most famous meet.

1964
Winter - Innsbruck, Austria Summer - Tokyo, Japan
Total Total
USA 1 (T8) 2 3 6 (8) USA 36 (1) 26 28 90 (2)
USSR 11 (1) 8 6 25 (1) USSR 30 (2) 31 35 96 (1)

Americans Soviets Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total
Alpine Skiing 0 4 0 0 Athletics 14 24 5 18
Biathlon 0 0 1 2 Basketball 1 1 0 1
X-Country Skiing 0 0 3 8 Boxing 1 4 3 9
Figure Skating 0 1 1 1 Canoeing 0 2 3 4
Ice Hockey 0 0 1 1 Cycling 0 0 0 1
Nordic Combined 0 0 0 1 Diving 3 8 0 1
Speed Skating 1 1 5 12 Equestrian 0 1 0 2
Fencing 0 0 3 6
Gymnastics 0 0 4 19
Judo 0 1 0 4
M Pentathlon 0 1 1 3
Rowing 2 4 2 2
Sailing 0 5 0 0
Shooting 2 7 0 2
Swimming 13 29 1 4
Volleyball 0 0 1 2
Water Polo 0 0 0 1
Weightlifting 0 2 4 7
Wrestling 0 1 3 10


1968
Winter - Grenoble, France Summer - Mexico City, Mexico
Total Total
USA 1 (T9) 5 1 7 (T7) USA 45 (1) 28 34 107 (1)
USSR 5 (2) 5 3 13 (2) USSR 29 (2) 32 30 91 (2)

Americans Soviets Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total
Biathlon 0 0 1 3 Athletics 15 28 3 13
X-Country Skiing 0 0 0 4 Basketball 1 1 0 1
Figure Skating 1 2 1 2 Boxing 2 7 3 6
Ice Hockey 0 0 1 1 Canoeing 0 0 2 6
Ski Jumping 0 0 1 1 Diving 2 6 0 2
Speed Skating 0 5 1 2 Equestrian 1 3 1 3
Fencing 0 0 3 7
Gymnastics 0 0 5 18
M Pentathlon 0 0 0 2
Rowing 0 2 1 2
Sailing 2 2 1 1
Shooting 1 3 2 5
Swimming 21 52 0 8
Volleyball 0 0 2 2
Water Polo 0 0 0 1
Weightlifting 0 1 3 6
Wrestling 0 2 3 8


Soviet Union's win in the 1972 gold medal game may be the most controversial event in Olympic history.

1972
Winter - Sapporo, Japan Summer - Munich, West Germany
Total Total
USA 3 (T4) 2 3 8 (6) USA 33 (2) 31 30 94 (2)
USSR 8 (1) 5 3 16 (1) USSR 50 (1) 27 22 99 (1)

Americans Soviets Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total
Alpine Skiing 1 2 0 0 Archery 2 2 0 1
Biathlon 0 0 1 1 Athletics 6 22 9 17
X-Country Skiing 0 0 5 8 Basketball 0 1 1 1
Figure Skating 0 1 1 3 Boxing 1 4 2 2
Ice Hockey 0 1 1 1 Canoeing 0 1 6 6
Speed Skating 2 4 0 3 Cycling 0 0 2 3
Diving 1 3 1 1
Equestrian 0 3 1 3
Fencing 0 0 2 7
Football 0 0 0 1
Gymnastics 0 0 6 16
Judo 0 0 1 4
M Pentathlon 0 0 1 3
Rowing 0 1 2 2
Sailing 1 3 1 2
Shooting 2 4 1 3
Swimming 17 43 0 5
Volleyball 0 0 1 2
Water Polo 0 1 1 1
Weightlifting 0 0 3 5
Wrestling 3 6 9 14


1976
Winter - Innsbruck, Austria Summer - Montreal, Canada
Total Total
USA 3 (T3) 3 4 10 (T3) USA 34 (3) 35 25 94 (2)
USSR 13 (1) 6 8 27 (1) USSR 49 (1) 41 35 125 (1)

Americans Soviets Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total
Alpine Skiing 0 1 0 0 Archery 2 2 0 2
Biathlon 0 0 2 3 Athletics 6 22 4 18
X-Country Skiing 0 1 4 10 Basketball 1 2 1 2
Figure Skating 1 2 2 4 Boxing 5 7 0 5
Ice Hockey 0 0 1 1 Canoeing 0 0 6 9
Speed Skating 2 6 4 9 Cycling 0 0 1 2
Diving 2 5 1 3
Equestrian 2 4 0 0
Fencing 0 0 3 7
Football 0 0 0 1
Gymnastics 0 1 7 17
Handball 0 0 2 2
Judo 0 1 2 5
M Pentathlon 0 0 0 1
Rowing 0 3 1 9
Sailing 0 3 0 2
Shooting 2 3 1 3
Swimming 13 34 1 9
Volleyball 0 0 0 2
Weightlifting 0 1 7 8
Wrestling 1 6 12 18


America's improbable upset victory over the Soviets in the 1980 semi-finals.

1980
Winter - Lake Placid, United States Summer - Moscow, USSR
Total Total
USA 6 (3) 4 2 12 (3) USA USA boycott
USSR 10 (1) 6 6 22 (1) USSR 80 (1) 69 46 195 (1)

Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total
Alpine Skiing 0 1 0 0
Biathlon 0 0 2 4
X-Country Skiing 0 0 4 7
Figure Skating 0 2 2 4
Ice Hockey 1 1 0 1
Luge 0 0 1 2
Speed Skating 5 8 1 4


1984
Winter - Sarajevo, Yugoslavia Summer - Los Angeles, United States
Total Total
USA 4 (T3) 4 0 8 (T5) USA 83 (1) 61 30 174 (1)
USSR 6 (2) 10 9 25 (1) USSR USSR boycott

Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total
Alpine Skiing 3 5 0 0
Biathlon 0 0 1 1
Bobsleigh 0 0 0 1
X-Country Skiing 0 0 1 5
Figure Skating 1 3 1 5
Ice Hockey 0 0 1 1
Luge 0 0 0 3
Speed Skating 0 0 2 9


1988
Winter - Calgary, Canada Summer - Seoul, South Korea
Total Total
USA 2 (T8) 1 3 6 (T8) USA 36 (3) 31 27 94 (3)
USSR 11 (1) 9 9 29 (1) USSR 55 (1) 31 46 132 (1)

Americans Soviets Americans Soviets
Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total Gold Total
Biathlon 0 0 1 4 Archery 1 3 0 1
Bobsleigh 0 0 1 2 Athletics 13 26 10 26
X-Country Skiing 0 0 5 13 Basketball 1 2 1 2
Figure Skating 1 3 2 5 Boxing 3 8 1 4
Ice Hockey 0 0 1 1 Canoeing 2 2 3 6
Luge 0 0 0 1 Cycling 0 1 4 7
Nordic Combined 0 0 0 1 Diving 2 5 0 0
Speed Skating 1 3 1 2 Equestrian 0 2 0 0
Fencing 0 0 1 5
Football 0 0 1 1
Gymnastics 0 1 12 21
Handball 0 0 1 2
Judo 0 2 0 5
M Pentathlon 0 0 0 1
Rowing 0 3 0 3
Sailing 1 5 0 2
Shooting 0 1 4 11
Swimming 8 18 2 9
Synch Swimming 0 2 0 0
Tennis 2 5 0 0
Volleyball 1 1 1 2
Water Polo 0 1 0 1
Weightlifting 0 0 6 8
Wrestling 2 6 8 15


NATO vs Warsaw Pact - Medal Count
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Warsaw Pact were rival military alliances.  The US led the mostly-European group of countries into a treaty of mutual defense, NATO, against potential aggression from the Soviet bloc.  The USSR answered with their own alliance of countries, called the Warsaw Pact.  When the Americans and Soviets were not in medal contention themselves, their sights turned to the performance of their "partner" countries.  These are the countries that made up the respective alliances at the Olympics from 1956-1988:

NATO
United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Greece (except '76-80), France (through '64), Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain ('84-'88), Turkey, United Kingdom, West Germany (starting in '68*)
Warsaw Pact
Soviet Union, Albania (through '68), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany (starting in '68*), Hungary, Poland, Romania
* East and West Germany competed as a Unified Team through the 1964 Olympics

Medal Counts
Winter Summer
Total Total

1956
NATO 5
7
5
17
NATO 58
53
55
166
Warsaw 7
3
8
18
Warsaw 37
29
32
98

1960
NATO 9
9
8
26
NATO 60
49
49
158
Warsaw 7
7
10
24
Warsaw 60
49
61
170

1964
NATO 10
15
14
39
NATO 60
66
54
180
Warsaw 11
8
7
26
Warsaw 57
59
61
177

1968
NATO 17
17
10
44
NATO 66
60
63
189
Warsaw 7
9
7
23
Warsaw 66
65
72
203

1972
NATO 14
14
12
40
NATO 61
59
70
190
Warsaw 14
8
12
34
Warsaw 94
88
84
266

1976
NATO 12
16
13
41
NATO 51
72
65
188
Warsaw 20
12
15
47
Warsaw 112
97
111
320

1980
NATO



NATO USA boycott
Warsaw



Warsaw




1984
NATO



NATO



Warsaw



Warsaw USSR boycott

1988
NATO 9
13
14
36
NATO 70
69
71
210
Warsaw 20
20
17
57
Warsaw 125
103
112
340

NATO Medal Count Wins Warsaw Pact
2
Summer Gold (2 Ties)
3
2
Summer Total 5
2
Winter Gold (1 Tie) 4
4
Winter Total 3


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