2014 U.S. Winter Olympic Team: State by State Breakdown

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics–or the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or something–are swinging, and snowing, or actually raining, as Sochi is apparently a seaside resort, but nonetheless they are happening and they are awesome. Over the weekend I watched nearly every second of NBC’s 15+ hours of coverage1, from Gracie Gold’s figure skating to Ole Einar Bjoerndalen’s skiing and shooting to Chris Mazdzer’s lugeing, and all the wonderful winter Olympic goodness in between.

Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe wins gold in the women’s moguls.

Team USA is off to a fine start, sweeping the men’s and women’s snowboarding slopestyle event, among other successes. Where exactly do these people, our celebrated Olympians, come from?

2014 U.S. Winter Olympic Team by State

State 2014 Winter Olympians Rank Team % State % Rank
CA 20 1 8.7% 0.000067% 22
CO 19 2 8.3% 0.000577% 5
MN 19 2 8.3% 0.000434% 7
NY 18 4 7.8% 0.000100% 16
UT 15 5 6.5% 0.000871% 2
WI 15 5 6.5% 0.000307% 10
VT 13 7 5.7% 0.002310% 1
MI 13 7 5.7% 0.000140% 15
MA 10 9 4.3% 0.000166% 13
IL 10 9 4.3% 0.000087% 18
NH 9 11 3.9% 0.000811% 3
WA 8 12 3.5% 0.000164% 14
CT 8 12 3.5% 0.000243% 11
ID 5 14 2.2% 0.000497% 6
PA 5 14 2.2% 0.000042% 25
AK 4 16 1.7% 0.000727% 4
NJ 4 16 1.7% 0.000052% 24
TX 4 16 1.7% 0.000024% 35
MT 3 19 1.3% 0.000375% 8
FL 3 19 1.3% 0.000023% 36
OH 3 19 1.3% 0.000028% 32
OR 2 22 0.9% 0.000070% 21
GA 2 22 0.9% 0.000031% 30
ND 2 22 0.9% 0.000313% 9
VA 2 22 0.9% 0.000032% 29
MO 2 22 0.9% 0.000039% 27
WY 1 27 0.4% 0.000220% 12
NV 1 27 0.4% 0.000083% 19
NE 1 27 0.4% 0.000063% 23
RI 1 27 0.4% 0.000100% 17
ME 1 27 0.4% 0.000081% 20
AZ 1 27 0.4% 0.000027% 33
IA 1 27 0.4% 0.000036% 28
KS 1 27 0.4% 0.000040% 26
KY 1 27 0.4% 0.000027% 34
NC 1 27 0.4% 0.000015% 38
SC 1 27 0.4% 0.000029% 31
IN 1 27 0.4% 0.000018% 37
HI 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
D.C. 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
DE 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
SD 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
MD 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
AR 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
NM 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
MS 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
WV 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
LA 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
OK 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
AL 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39
TN 0 39 0.0% 0.000000% 39

1

California produced the most American winter Olympians at the Sochi games; how fitting coming from the Golden State. But California has the most people in general. Per capita, Vermont produced the most Sochi athletes.

How Do We Know Where the Athletes Are From?

This knowledge is sketchy, to be sure. World-class athletes tend to travel a great deal, and moving at a young age for better opportunities to train is not uncommon. And more generally, they may be born in one place, spend their childhood in another, perhaps go to high school or college in another, etc. Team USA lists their “hometown”. It is unclear exactly what that is; it does not seem to be where the athletes are necessarily born, but then it does not seem to be where the athletes are necessarily anything. Presumably this is self-reported by the athletes after they make the team, in which case it ought to more or less reflect which state they identify as being “from” in the traditional sense.

How Many People Live(d) in Their States…And When?

The athletes list their home town, which is often not where they live (and train, and compete) now. In terms of measuring state by state output of Olympians, it is not enough to ask where the athletes are from; when are from is also important. And even more complicated, given a 30 year age gap from 15-year-old freestyle skier Maggie Voisin (from Whitefish, Montana) to 45-year-old curler Ann Swisshelm (from Chicago, Illinois).2 But the average age of Team USA’s winter Olympians is 26, placing their births more or less around the 1990 U.S. Census. Consequently the 1990 state population figures are the relevant data.3 Or at least, more relevant; this is not perfect, but it is fun!

Which States Excel at Generating Winter Olympians?

State % of 1990 U.S. Population Rank % of 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Rank Difference Rank
CO 1.32% 26 8.26% 2 6.94% 1
MN 1.76% 20 8.26% 2 6.50% 2
UT 0.69% 35 6.52% 5 5.83% 3
VT 0.23% 49 5.65% 7 5.43% 4
WI 1.97% 16 6.52% 5 4.55% 5
NH 0.45% 40 3.91% 11 3.47% 6
CT 1.32% 27 3.48% 12 2.16% 7
MA 2.42% 13 4.35% 9 1.93% 8
MI 3.74% 8 5.65% 7 1.91% 9
ID 0.40% 42 2.17% 14 1.77% 10
WA 1.96% 18 3.48% 12 1.52% 11
AK 0.22% 50 1.74% 16 1.52% 12
MT 0.32% 44 1.30% 19 0.98% 13
ND 0.26% 47 0.87% 22 0.61% 14
NY 7.23% 2 7.83% 4 0.59% 15
WY 0.18% 51 0.43% 27 0.25% 16
RI 0.40% 43 0.43% 27 0.03% 17
NV 0.48% 39 0.43% 27 -0.05% 18
ME 0.49% 38 0.43% 27 -0.06% 19
NE 0.63% 36 0.43% 27 -0.20% 20
D.C. 0.24% 48 0.00% 39 -0.24% 21
IL 4.60% 6 4.35% 9 -0.25% 22
DE 0.27% 46 0.00% 39 -0.27% 23
OR 1.14% 29 0.87% 22 -0.27% 24
SD 0.28% 45 0.00% 39 -0.28% 25
HI 0.45% 41 0.00% 39 -0.45% 26
KS 1.00% 32 0.43% 27 -0.56% 27
NM 0.61% 37 0.00% 39 -0.61% 28
IA 1.12% 30 0.43% 27 -0.68% 29
WV 0.72% 34 0.00% 39 -0.72% 30
AR 0.95% 33 0.00% 39 -0.95% 31
SC 1.40% 25 0.43% 27 -0.97% 32
MS 1.03% 31 0.00% 39 -1.03% 33
AZ 1.47% 24 0.43% 27 -1.04% 34
KY 1.48% 23 0.43% 27 -1.05% 35
MO 2.06% 15 0.87% 22 -1.19% 36
OK 1.26% 28 0.00% 39 -1.26% 37
NJ 3.11% 9 1.74% 16 -1.37% 38
VA 2.49% 12 0.87% 22 -1.62% 39
AL 1.62% 22 0.00% 39 -1.62% 40
LA 1.70% 21 0.00% 39 -1.70% 41
GA 2.60% 11 0.87% 22 -1.74% 42
IN 2.23% 14 0.43% 27 -1.79% 43
MD 1.92% 19 0.00% 39 -1.92% 44
TN 1.96% 17 0.00% 39 -1.96% 45
NC 2.67% 10 0.43% 27 -2.23% 46
PA 4.78% 5 2.17% 14 -2.60% 47
OH 4.36% 7 1.30% 19 -3.06% 48
CA 11.97% 1 8.70% 1 -3.27% 49
FL 5.20% 4 1.30% 19 -3.90% 50
TX 6.83% 3 1.74% 16 -5.09% 51

Colorado was the place to be if you wanted to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, and likely will continue to lead the United States in future winter games. Though in the lower half of population, Colorado is second in the number of winter Olympic athletes this year, with 19, more than eight percent of all of Team USA. And while California has the most athletes on this year’s team, with 20, Californians still make up a much higher percentage of the U.S. population than they do the U.S. winter Olympic team.

Most importantly, though Alaska contained 0.22 percent of the U.S. population 1990, the four Alaskans in this year’s games make up 1.74 percent of the team, more than 32 other states and the District of Columbia. Ryan Stassel, of Anchorage, finished 14th among 29 in the men’s snowboarding slopestyle on Saturday. And Holly Brooks, Kikkan Randall, and Jessica Schultz will be skiing and curling in the days to come. Go team everyone!

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2 comments
  1. Rebecca said:

    Ryan Stassel is legit from Anchorage! He is my friend’s older brother and trains at Alyeska.

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