Which State has Produced the Most Gold Medalists in the Winter Olympics?

by Jess Moss 
Posted Feb 5th 2014 11:00 AMUpdated Feb 5th 2014 04:59 PM

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Feb. 17, 2010 - Vancouver, BC, USA - USA's Shaun White celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's halfpipe competition
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Sure, we're all rooting for Team USA. But in the spirit of Olympic competition we wanted to know: what's the best part of Team USA?

It turns out that when it comes to producing gold medal-winning winter Olympians, the 50 states are far from equal.

From the snowy beginning -- the 1924 games, when speed skater Charles Jewtraw from New York won the first gold medal ever awarded in a Winter Olympics (USA! USA!) -- up through the 2010 Vancouver games, there have been 138 winter gold medalists from the United States.

Of all the states, the gold medal for winning gold medals goes to New York. Not only has the Empire State hosted two Winter Games (visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum to learn more), a total of 23 champions were born in the state.

Silver goes to a close second, Minnesota, which thanks to its ability to churn out hockey players with miracle skills, clocks in at 22 gold medalists. Massachusetts gets the bronze, with 16 Mass-born athletes bringing home the gold.

Here's a chart of the full breakdown of each state's earning power:



Note that some overachievers, like Shaun White, Apolo Anton Ohno, Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden, didn't stop at one (Heiden won 5 speed skating golds in 1980), but for this study we're counting gold medalists, not how much hardware each state's sporting.

A few winter-y states are surprisingly absent from the rankings: Wyoming and Maine, we're looking at you. Despite being home to major ski resorts Jackson Hole and Sugarloaf, neither state has produced a winter gold medalist. Not pictured on the map, but worth a shout-out is Puerto Rico, the birthplace of Jonny Moseley. Moseley was the first Puerto Rican to join the U.S. Ski Team and took home gold in the moguls in 1998.

Another gold medalist for the U.S. is not represented on this map, because he's said to be from the United Kingdom. Clifford Grey, a prominent English actor and songwriter, reportedly joined the U.S. bobsled team under an alias, Tippi Gray, winning gold medals in the 1928 and 1932 games. He allegedly kept his Olympic identity under wraps -- his kids had no idea their British dad was an American gold medalist until after his death in 1941.

While New York enters the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as the defending gold medalist of gold medalists, the state may lose its title. The 230 athletes on Team USA come from 38 states, including 20 from California, 19 from Minnesota and 19 from Colorado, which currently only has one gold to its name. Oh, and there's one athlete from Maine (biathlon competitor Russell Currier) and one from Wyoming (alpine skiier Resi Stiegler), so there's also a chance for ski state redemption.
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Michael Bevilacqua

I found this interesting tid-bit. If you talk about where the athletes train and live, no other town in North America has produced more winter Olympians than Steamboat Springs, CO, a record 79 and counting. In fact, Steamboat sent more athletes (17) to the 2010 Games than many small countries.

Source:
http://ww1.steamboat.com/PDFS/presskit/WINTER_2012_13/20Olympians_FY13.pdf

February 10 2014 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Bevilacqua

Us Coloradans need to step it up! Although Colorado is home to the flagship training center of the US Olympic Training Center:

http://www.teamusa.org/For-Athletes/Olympic-Training-Centers-and-Sites/Colorado-Springs

February 10 2014 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Hart

Minnesota says you're welcome for the 1980 US/USSR hockey win, and all the other medals. And for making the NHL not entirely a Canadian affair.

Quality over quantity...with Norway, Sweden, Austria, and Finland all being top winter Olympic countries with small populations, it's somehow not surprising that Minnesota with a population of 5 million has pulled nearly as many medals as a state with 20 million.

February 08 2014 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jb Knox

How can Maine have zero Gold Medalists when Seth Wescott is from Maine and has 2?

2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver Golds in Snowboarder Cross?

February 06 2014 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jb Knox's comment
Gary Kellam

Wescott lives in Maine, but was born in Durham, NC. This listing considers only state of birth, not residence.

February 07 2014 at 4:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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