Winter Olympics 2018: Which states produce the most Olympians per capita?
A lot of these athletes came from where you'd expect, but there is one surprise
The Winter Olympics feature the best in the United States, but not all states are created equal when it comes to producing Olympic talent. The Winter Games, of course, feature athletes from disciplines such as snowboarding, skiing and figure skating. With that in mind, it makes sense that colder weather states produces more athletes, especially relative to their populations. Pyeongchang's 2018 Games are no exception, as the United States is sending talent from all over the country -- but more from some parts than others.
In data collected by Thunderbomb Surf, pulled from census data and the official U.S. Olympics site, a graph was compiled of the states with the most Olympians per capita (for every 100,000 people). Many of the states were expected, but one of them stood out.
A lot of the states on the heat map make sense here. Colorado being relatively dark, alongside Utah should be expected. Vermont being on of the most densely populated with Olympians makes sense too. However, it's a bit surprising to see Alaska and Wyoming so dark as well -- although considering the populations of these respective states it starts to make a bit more sense. It's a bit surprising to see Texas, Georgia and Florida represented as well -- although the pure size of these states dictates that they would generate some talent.
This chart shows the full breakdown in a bar graph, as opposed to a heat map. Vermont is by far the leader in terms of athletes per capita, sitting at over two for every 100,000 residents. Alaska is a rather distant second, at just under 1.25. Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are all fairly even, resting at around 0.5.
It's actually impressive, all things considered. The U.S. population is about 323.1 million people, per the 2016 U.S. census. Of that 323.1 million, 244 of them are Olympians. In Vermont, just over two of every 100,000 citizens are Olympians. The ratio there is insane.
But then, it's no accident that Vermont (and Colorado, for that matter) are winter sports meccas of the United States. Alaska is a bit more surprising to see on the list, but their interest in the Winter Games is clearly astronomical. The same goes for Wyoming. You just likely won't see a lot of Louisianians trying to go snowboarding any time soon.
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