The modern Olympics, ever since its beginning in 1896, have always been a pinnacle of athletic achievements, where thousands of athletes from over 200 nations strive to set a benchmark of excellence in their respective sports. “Citius, Altius, Fortius” used to be their motto until 2021, when “Communiter” was also added to denote the unifying potential of this event. The English translation now reads: “Faster, Higher, Stronger — Together”.

True to their motto, winning a gold medal in this competition has always required one to be faster, higher, and stronger than their contemporaries. In the process, athletes end up creating records that belie belief, with some so dominant, that they seem eternally unsurpassable. On International Olympic Day — which is celebrated each year on June 23, since it was first held in 1948 under the tutelage of then-IOC, Sigfrid Edstrom — let’s take a look at five such records that will probably never be broken.

China’s 60 Medals In Table Tennis

Since its introduction in the 1988 Olympics, Table Tennis has been a discipline totally dominated by Chinese athletes. While China’s affinity for racquet sports needs no introduction, winning 60 medals in an event is still insane! Moreover, 36 out of these 60 medals have been gold. To put things into perspective, their closest competitor, South Korea, has won just 3 gold medals. The competition is so stiff there that many Chinese athletes migrate to different countries just to be able to play table tennis in Olympics.

Bob Beamon’s Leap Of The Century

With such drastic improvements in sports science, you’d expect every record from the 60s to be bettered by now. But not Bob Beamon’s Leap of the Century. In the 1968 Mexico Olympics, Beamon’s long jump was so long that it outran the length of the existing measuring equipment. The record jump of 29 feet, 2 and 1/2 inches has so far survived the test of time, and is unlikely to be surpassed by anyone.

Nadia Comaneci’s Perfect 10

There are two reasons why Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 will forever be unmatched. First, how do you improve upon perfection? Comaneci’s performance on the uneven bar is the epitome of that. Not even the scoreboards were programmed to display her score of 10; it showed 1.00. And second, the scoring system was changed in 2006, so gymnasts are no longer evaluated that way. Good for Comaneci, I guess?

Kim Yun-mi Winning Medal At 13

Kim Yun-mi was just 13 when she won her first gold medal in the women’s 3,000-meter relay skating event. She did this in 1994 at Lillehammer, surpassing Marjorie Gestring’s record by 182 days. Her triumph then forced the International Skating Federation to introduce the age limit of 15, thus there’s no way Yun-mi’s record will ever be broken. 

Michael Phelps’ 23 Gold Medals

The longer you stare at Michael Phelps’ record of 23 Olympic gold medals, the more unbeatable it looks. Phelps made his Olympic debut at the tender age of 15, and over the course of the next 16 years, he established himself as the most dominant athlete to walk on this planet. He ended his career with a gold medal in the 4x100m medley relay at Rio 2016.