From Geography Travels Blog: Geography of Where American Olympic Athletes Live
The Atlantic has an article
on the geography of hometowns and residences of Summer 2012 Olympic
athletes. The article is a good read but I was fascinated on the
breakdown of where athletes currently live. There are several cores but
California seems to be the place where summer fun becomes summer sports
gold (silver and bronze).
The map above takes a second cut, charting the metros where America’s Olympic competitors currently live.
Los Angeles is again tops, but now it boasts an even greater
concentration of athletes: 68 Olympians, 15 percent of the U.S. team,
currently call it home. Nearby San Diego is second with 38 or 8.5
percent of Olympic athletes. Colorado Springs is third with 21 or 5
percent. These athletes are clustered around Olympic training
facilities in Chula Vista near San Diego and Colorado Springs.
Other metros with significant numbers of Olympians include: San
Francisco with 19 or 4.3 percent; Trenton-Ewing, New Jersey (which
includes Princeton) with 17 or 3.8 percent; and Oklahoma City, Austin,
and Miami, each with with 13 or 2.9 percent. California boasts 146
Olympians – which would make it the 19th largest national Olympic team.
When we control for population, the Trenton-Ewing, New Jersey, metro
comes out on top, with a whopping 4.7 Olympic athletes per 100,000
people. Colorado Springs (3.5) is second, followed by Athens, Georgia
(2.3) and Eugene, Oregon (2.0). The predominance of college towns makes
sense: many Olympians come from their programs and train at their
One thing that's notable is the pronounced clustering of athletes in
individual sports. L.A., for example, is home to six of 10 beach
volleyball players, with two more from nearby Santa Barbara and Oxnard.
Nearly half of America's fencers (7 of 16) live in New York. More than
three-quarters of female rowers - 16 out of 21 of them - live in a
single city, Princeton, New Jersey, while a large number of their male
counterparts live in Chula Vista and Oklahoma City.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal suggests
that the U.S. gains advantage from its more decentralized system for
identifying and developing young athletes. Still, America’s Olympic
athletes do cluster, especially around training facilities and
locational centers of excellence. Mirroring the talent clustering that
defines so many other dimensions of economic and social life, they also
gain from training with, competing against, and being around each other.