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Team USA's gold medallists Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian pose during the podium ceremony of the Men's swimming 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016.
Martin Bureau—AFP/Getty Images

We’re less than a week out from the Tokyo Olympics—and it’s time to think about how the international competition in Japan will set into motion age-old rivalries between countries around the world, which will formally start as the Opening Ceremony kicks off on July 23.

The Summer Olympics this year will involve 339 events across 33 sports. The Summer Olympics are showcases for different countries than the Winter Olympics: without snow sports, places that don’t have access to cold climates have a better shot at featuring their homegrown talent. The Summer Olympics are where runners, swimmers and team sports players shine.

For this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, the country to beat is indisputably the U.S., with a historic tally of 2,542 medals collected over 100-plus years of Summer Olympics dating back to 1896. (In second place is the Soviet Union, which picked up over 1,000 summer medals in its stint as a state from 1955 to 1985. Meanwhile the modern state of Russia, known as the Russian Federation, has over 400, collected on either end of the Soviet experience.)

Michael Phelps remains the world’s most decorated individual Olympian, with a decisive 28 medals all of his own, thanks to his dominance in swimming over the past decade-plus. (The runner-up in that ranking, the Soviet Union’s Larysa Latinina, only has 18.)

These are the 10 countries with the most Summer Olympics medals:

1. United States — 2,542

2. Soviet Union — 1,010

3. Great Britain — 867

4. Germany — 760

5. France — 739

6. Italy — 592

7. China — 546

8. Sweden — 498

9. Hungary — 495

9. Australia — 495

10. Japan — 441

Read more about the Tokyo Olympics:

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Write to Raisa Bruner at

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