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World Athletics Championships Stats: Who are the best performing nations?

The World Athletics Championships is a premier global event for track and field athletics, including marathon running and race walking. Alongside the Olympic Games, these biennial competitions, organized by World Athletics (formerly known as IAAF, the International Association of Athletics Federations), are the top-tier international outdoor athletics contests.

Initially, the IAAF settled on the Olympic Games as the designated World Championships for athletics back in 1913. This arrangement was followed for over half a century. However, in the late 1960s, a growing sentiment among IAAF members favored the establishment of an independent World Championships.

As a result, a significant decision was made at the IAAF Council Meeting in 1967 in Puerto Rico, leading to the creation of the World Athletics Championships different from the Olympic Games. This decision was partly due to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s controversial move to remove the men’s 50 km walk from the Montreal Olympics 1976 program. This was a significant alteration, as the event had been consistently featured since 1932.

To counter this exclusion, the IAAF opted to stage its unique World Championships event a month and a half following the Olympics in 1976. This marked the IAAF’s first venture into hosting a World Championships distinct from the Olympic Games, which had traditionally been the sport’s main championship.

Although a limited version of the event was conducted in 1980, the competition’s official inauguration came in 1983 which included all athletic events. It marked a turning point in the athletics world and ended the scenario where Olympic champions were simultaneously recognized as reigning World champions. From that time on, the World Athletics Championships have become the biggest international athletics competition, besides the Olympics.

The 2023 edition of the prestigious event

The World Athletics Championships 2023 is slated to take place from August 19 to August 27, 2023, in Budapest, Hungary. This will be the 19th iteration of the renowned event and the first to be held in the nation. In the history of the event, the United States is the most successful nation in terms of medals won (414), including 183 gold, 126 silver, and 105 bronze. Kenya (161) and Russia (142) occupy the second and third spots when it comes to combined medals won at the prestigious tournament.

Who are the best performing nations at the World Athletics Championships?

RankNationGoldTotal medals
1United States183414
2Kenya62161
3Russia42142
4Germany39123
5Jamaica37137
6Ethiopia3395
7Great Britain & Northern Ireland31111
8Soviet Union2378
9China2273
10Cuba2260
11East Germany2156
12Poland2063
13Czech Republic1526
14France1455
15Australia1439
16Italy1247
17South Africa1227
18Ukraine1141
19Morocco1131
20Belarus1033
21Sweden1024
22Norway1020
23Bahamas926
24Spain741
25Canada740
26Japan733
27Finland722
28Portugal723
29Bahrain713
30Algeria611
31New Zealand68
32Romania524
33Netherlands523
34Greece523
35Bulgaria516
36Uganda511
37Qatar510

(Note – Total medals include Gold, Silver, and Bronze won. In the above table, only nations who have won at least 5 gold medals in the competition have been added to the list.)

More Athletics Stats-
1. Athletics Stats: USA records in track and field events
2. European Athletics U20 Championships Stats: What are the records set at the event?
3. Asian Athletics Championships 2023 Stats: Who are the medal winners from India?