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Last updated: May 7, 2021 • Lifestyle

Top US Cities for Olympic Medalists – Past, Present, and Future

The 2016 Olympics in Rio are in full swing, and the US teams are bringing home medals by the dozens. Which US cities have the most medalists to boast, and which cities are best for returning Olympic heroes?

Olympians of the Past

By birthplace, three of the biggest cities in the US naturally stand out for being the original home of the most Olympic medalists. New York holds the top spot (although many athletes born there may not end up competing for the US – instead, completing for rival countries like Japan, Sweden, or Germany), with a whopping 404 medalists to boast about hailing from the Big Apple.

The Windy City takes the second spot, with a healthy 272 athletes who have medaled in Olympic Games born in Chicago since the inception of the modern games in 1896. The City of Angels comes in third; Los Angeles real estate agents can brag about 202 athletes.

Olympians of the Present

In 2016, The US has already made a strong showing across the board. So far, the standouts include:

  • Katie Ledecky, with 4 golds, 1 silver, and a world record in Women’s swimming in 2016. She hails from Washington, D.C.
  • Michael Phelps, current record medal holder, with 5 golds and an unprecedented 3 way tie for silver in his final Games, is from Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Simone Biles, Women’s Gymnastics all-around, vault, and floor champion with 4 golds and a bronze, is from Columbus, Ohio.
  • Simone Manuel, Women’s sprinter swimmer, with 2 golds, 2 silvers, left the field behind in the water. She’s from Sugar Land, Texas.
  • Cody Miller, star breaststroke swimmer with 1 gold, 1 bronze, and a world record in 2016, hails from Billings, Montana.

Olympians of the Future

College towns and metro areas with Olympic grade training facilities are fast overtaking the traditional Olympic centric cities as years go by. Per capita, the game changes significantly – when you look at recent medalists, clusters appear around Gainesville, Florida; Athens, Georgia; and the Trenton – Ewing area of New Jersey.

Where to Watch for Upcoming Olympians

Specific disciplines with more localized training centers and masters in the US can sway the medal count at any time. For example, the Luge training facility outside Appleton, Wisconsin is keeping an eye out for likely candidates for a USA team. East St. Louis, Missouri,  is home to the Jackie-Joyner Kersee Foundation, which trains young athletes in wrestling, various ball sports, and gymnastics. Bronze 2016 medalist US Women’s sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad was born in Maplewood, N.J., US foil fencer Miles Chamley Watson was born in Britain, and US epee fencer Jason Pryor was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

Does your town boast an Olympian? Would you move to a specific state or city for your child if they had Olympic dreams? Let us know in the comments section below!


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