Reuters

When it comes to the Games, the West Coast dominates.

Michael Phelps has more medals than many countries. But even the greatest medal-winner in Olympic history did not earn enough in these games to push his hometown of Baltimore into first-place among United States metros.

In the spirit of friendly competition, Patrick Adler, an urban planning doctoral candidate at UCLA, parsed the data on Olympic medals  won this year by where athletes live. A couple of notes: Adler tracked the medals won by every individual athlete on teams, so these counts are not comparable country counts. Additionally, he was able to track down locational information for most, but not all, of the athletes on the team. My Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Zara Matheson mapped the data, by total count and by per metro population.

 

Los Angeles leads with a whopping 45 medals, San Francisco is a distant second with 11, followed by Miami, Gainesville, and Trenton-Ewing with 10 each; New York and Austin have 9 each; San Diego has 8 and Athens, Georgia, won 7. Baltimore and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul brought home 6 each; and Denver, Charlotte, and Portland, Oregon have 5 each.

When the medals are looked at by population, smaller cities vault to the top of the pack. Gainesville takes the top spot with 3.9  medals per 100,000 people, nudging out Athens with 3.8. Trenton-Ewing is third with 2.8. College towns also do well, like Lawrence and Manhattan, Kansas; Bowling Green, Kentucky; Auburn, Alabama; Austin and College Station, Texas; Lafayette, Indiana; Charlottesville, Virginia; Eugene, Oregon; and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As I noted in a previous post, Olympic athletes cluster around Olympic and college training facilities, and also benefit from training with and competing against each other. Just look at the new gymnastics-darling Gabby Douglas.

Photo credit: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sububan office park
    Design

    Can Detroit's Suburbs Survive a Downtown Revival?

    The city is experiencing a sustained real estate boom, poaching employers—even pro sports teams—from surrounding municipalities. Places like Southfield, Pontiac, and Dearborn will have to find ways to keep up.

  2. Maps

    Where Commuting Is Out of Control

    Lack of affordable housing and sub-par mass transit are boosting the ranks of “super commuters” in some regions outside of pricey metros.

  3. A heavy layer of smog over Paris
    Environment

    How Much Are You 'Smoking' by Breathing Urban Air?

    A new app can tell you (and it’s not pretty).  

  4. Transportation

    When Living Near Transit Doesn't Lower Transportation Costs

    A new study that tracks a decade of real family expenses calls into question a fundamental assumption of affordability research.

  5. New housing under construction in San Marcos, California.
    POV

    Where the YIMBYs Can Win

    The defeat of SB 827, California’s ambitious pro-housing bill, masks a wider trend: Similar initiatives are on the march nationwide.