The 2022 Winter Olympics will give athletes from across the globe the chance to have their country’s national anthem played following their triumphs. If history is any indication, crowds expect to hear some songs on repeat.
The Winter Olympics are often dominated by Europe with the United States and Canada in the mix throughout the competition. Countries that rose to the top of the podium at the first edition of the Winter Games in 1924 have traditionally stayed relevant to this day. Others had dominant periods before being merged or broken off into different countries all together.
Between established European powers and two North American powerhouses, which nation has the highest medal count of all time?
Here are the 10 countries with the most total medals in Winter Olympics history before the start of the 2022 Winter Games:
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Medals won in PyeongChang: 20
Sport with most medals: Speed skating (121)
Dutch speed skaters famously take the ice wearing orange, but they often leave it wearing gold.
The Netherland’s 121 speed skating medals are 37 more than any other country in the sport. The total is also nearly twice as much as the country’s haul in its top summer sport, swimming (62).
The country’s nine other Winter Olympic medals are split up among three other sports: short track speed skating (5), figure skating (3) and snowboarding (1).
Medals won in PyeongChang: 15
Sport with most medals: Alpine skiing (66)
Switzerland is second on the all-time Olympic medal table for alpine skiing but still has just over half the total of the No. 1 country in the sport. Switzerland’s 66 medals in the sport are evenly divided between 22 golds, 22 silvers and 22 bronzes.
Switzerland’s next-best Winter Olympic sport in terms of medals is bobsled. The country’s 31 medals are split up nicely, as well, with 10 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronzes. The 31 total medals are the most of any country in the sport.
The only other sport where Switzerland has double-digit medals is snowboarding (13).
Medals won in PyeongChang: 14
Sport with most medals: Cross country skiing (80)
Sweden is tied for second all-time in Olympic cross country skiing medals with a neighboring country that slots in next on this list.
Beyond cross country skiing, Sweden does not have another sport that really stands out above the rest. The country has 18 alpine skiing medals -- including two golds from PyeongChang -- 16 speed skating medals, 14 biathlon medals, 11 ice hockey medals and 10 figure skating medals.
Sweden took home seven gold medals from PyeongChang in 2018, good for sixth out of all participating countries. Their collection of 14 total medals tied for 10th.
Medals won in PyeongChang: 6
Sport with most medals: Cross country skiing (80)
Like Sweden, Finland’s top Winter Olympic sport is cross country skiing with 80 total medals. After cross country skiing, the country’s next-best sports are speed skating (24 total medals), ski jumping (22) and Nordic combined (14).
Finland had far and away the smallest haul from the 2018 Winter Olympics, winning just six total medals and only one gold. Four of the six medals, including the gold, came in cross-country skiing.
A smaller collection is not uncommon for Finland despite their seventh-place spot on this list. It is the only country among the 10 included here that has never won 15 or more medals at a single Winter Olympics.
Medals won in PyeongChang: 2
Sport with most medals: Speed skating (37)
Canada’s tally would be even higher if their dominance wasn’t so concentrated in team sports.
The country is the all-time leader in Winter Olympic medals for ice hockey (25) and curling (11). There are only five total events across the two sports with each having a men’s and women’s tournament and the IOC recently adding a mixed doubles curling tournament.
Because of the limited hardware available, the birthplace of hockey actually has higher medal totals in four other sports: speed skating, short track speed skating (33), figure skating (29) and freestyle skiing (25; tied with the U.S. for most of any country).
5. Soviet Union
Medals won in PyeongChang: N/A
Sport with most medals: Cross country skiing (77)
The Soviet Union first appeared at the 1956 Winter Olympics and comprised a group of independent nations. The former Soviet republics competed together as the Unified Team (included in this tally) at the 1992 Winter and Summer Olympics before competing separately at the 1994 Winter Games.
Russia officially has 121 medals from 1994 through 2014, but the International Olympic Committee began stripping the nation of its medals earned during the 2014 Sochi Games. The number of medals the country has can change if any additional medals are stripped or reallocated by the IOC.
In 2018, Russian athletes competed under the name Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and earned 17 medals. They will participate under the same designation in Beijing.
The total sum of medals from these three eras would put the country in second place all-time on this list.
Medals won in PyeongChang: 14
Sport with most medals: Alpine skiing (121)
Austria has completely dominated alpine skiing throughout Winter Olympic history. Its 121 medals make up more than half of its entire medal haul (52.2%) and 26.2% of the medals ever handed out in the sport at the Olympics. Seven of the country’s 14 medals at the 2018 Games came in alpine skiing.
The country brought its alpine skiing prowess to PyeongChang, tying Switzerland for first with seven medals in the sport. Austria also picked up three medals in luge, one in biathlon, one in Nordic combined and one in snowboarding.
The nation has 20 or more total medals in three other sports: ski jumping (25), luge (22) and figure skating (20).
Medals won in PyeongChang: 31
Sport with most medals: Biathlon (52)
Germany is one of just three countries to lead a Winter Olympics in medals four times (1992, 1998, 2002 and 2006). East Germany finished top two in the medal count at each Winter Olympics from 1972 through 1988 and led the 1980 Games with 23.
Fast forward to 2018 and Germany put together an impressive performance in PyeongChang. Its 31 medals were second of any country and its 14 golds tied for first.
Germany is the medals leader for two sports: biathlon and luge (37). Combined with East Germany (29), West Germany (10) and the United Team of Germany (5), it makes up 57.4% of the medals ever dished out in the sport’s history.
2. United States
Medals won in PyeongChang: 23
Sport with most medals: Speed skating (68)
Team USA may be second in medals, but its Winter Olympic success hardly compares to its Summer Olympic dominance, where the team has well over double the number of medals as the second-place country.
The 21st century has been a relatively strong one for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics. It had three second-place finishes in overall medal count from 2002 through 2014 and even stood atop the table with 37 medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Team USA landed in fourth overall with 23 medals in PyeongChang last time out.
The past two decades have been a refreshing return to form for the U.S. on the Winter Olympic stage. The nation only stood atop the medal table one time in the 20th century, back in 1932 when Lake Placid was the host city for the first time.
The U.S. is the sole leader in medals for two sports, but its top sport by quantity of medals, speed skating, actually isn’t one of them. Team USA has earned the most medals in figure skating (51) and snowboarding (31).
Medals won in PyeongChang: 39
Sport with most medals: Cross country skiing (121)
The all-time leader in medals put up a record-setting performance in PyeongChang.
Norway collected 39 medals in 2018, the largest haul by any country in a single Winter Olympics. The overall performance included 14 gold medals with seven coming in the nation’s top sport, cross country skiing. The country also earned 14 silver medals and 11 bronze medals.
The PyeongChang Games marked the eighth time Norway has led the final medal count at a Winter Olympics, breaking a tie with the Soviet Union for the most in history. Many of those instances came in the early history of the Winter Olympics, including three of the first four editions. Prior to 2018, Norway most recently won the most medals at the 1994 Winter Olympics, which the country hosted in Lillehammer.
Additionally, Norway is the all-time leader in medals for three Winter Olympic sports: cross country skiing, ski jumping (35) and Nordic combined (31).