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Yes, the US has finished outside of the top three in Olympic medals before, but only at the Winter Games

Although the U.S. has never finished outside of the top three countries at the Summer Olympics, it has frequently failed to make the top three at the Winter Games.
Credit: AP
Nathan Chen of the United States displays his gold medal during the medal ceremony for the men's free skate figure skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ended Sunday, Feb. 20, locking the medal count for another Olympic Games. But Team USA finished fifth in the total medal count behind Norway, the Russian Olympic Committee, Germany and Canada. That's short of a top-three podium finish. 

THE QUESTION

Has the U.S. ever finished outside of the top three in Olympic medal counts?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, the U.S. has finished outside of the top three in Olympic medal counts, but only at the Winter Olympics.

WHAT WE FOUND

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) keeps a historical record of the medal table of every modern Olympic Games dating back to 1896, but it wasn’t that long ago that the U.S. finished outside of the top three.

In Pyeongchang in 2018, the last Winter Olympic Games, the U.S. finished in fourth in both the total medal count and the gold medal count. But at the most recent Summer Olympic Games, just last year in Tokyo, the U.S. finished with 25 more medals than the next best country. 

The U.S. has frequently finished outside of the top three over the course of the Winter Olympics, and even went without a top three finish in any Winter Olympics between 1984 and 1998. Only twice has the U.S. won the most medals at the Winter Olympic Games, in 1932 and in 2010.

But the U.S. has never once finished outside the top three in total medal count in the Summer Olympic Games, and has won the most medals in the last seven Summer Olympics. The only time the U.S. has ever finished outside of the top two was in Seoul 1988, when it finished in third.

The Team USA Olympic History Book reveals the U.S. has more than double the total medals of any other country in total Summer Olympic medal count over the course of the modern Olympic Games. It also has double the gold medals, double the silver medals and double the bronze medals of any other country.

When it comes to the Winter Olympics, Team USA is still second all-time, behind only Norway.

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