Wyoming has produced more 2012 Olympians than any other state. Sorry, California. 

When the United States Olympic Committee announced it’s 530 athlete roster for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Time magazine came up with some comparisons that put the State of Wyoming at the top of the heap.


According to the article, Wyoming is in the top spot for Olympians produced per capita. California ended up second followed by Vermont, Hawaii and Oregon to fill out the top 5.

Five states – New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and South Dakota – aren’t sending any Olympians to London. Of these, South Carolina should be most disappointed: the Palmetto State has 4,679,230 people, tops among those with no hometown reps. The District of Columbia (617,996 people) was also shut out. Of those states sending at least one Olympian, the five who performed most poorly per capita were Wisconsin (one per 1,427,942), Indiana (1,629,231), Oklahoma (1,895,754), Alabama (2,401,370), and Tennessee (3,201,677).

Olympians Brett Newlin, a rower, and Jennifer Nichols, an archer, hail from Wyoming. The state is no Olympic neophyte. Rulon Gardner, who famously upset world champ Alexander Karelin of Russia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, grew up on a dairy farm in tiny Afton (population 1,911). Heather Moody won a silver medal in water polo at the 2000 Olympics, as well as a bronze in Athens. Wyoming is the hometown for two throwing medalists – John Godina, who won a silver in Atlanta and bronze in Sydney, in shot put, and Lance Deal, a 1996 silver medalist in the hammer throw.


When told that Wyoming was the per-capita champ, governor Matt Mead, a Republican, was pumped. “We’re glad to hear it,” Mead says. “It’s wonderful.” Mead is the nephew of Andrea Mead Lawrence, who in 1952 became the first American alpine skier to win two golds at any Olympics (she hailed, however, from Vermont).  Mead credits Wyoming’s clean air, and outdoor ethos, for spawning so many (okay, two) Olympians. “We’re naturally very athletic in terms of our interests, in terms of what our kids do,” says Mead. “It’s just part of what we do.” Running, biking, skiing, rafting, hunting and fishing are all popular in Wyoming. So Wyoming’s Olympic prowess shouldn’t surprise us? “No, of course not,” Mead says. “Wyoming’s a player.”


Mead extends his sympathies to the Golden State. “Well, to our friends in California and Governor [Jerry] Brown, tell ‘em that, you know, it’s the Olympic season, and we’ve got the gold,” says Mead. “But nothing wrong with silver.”


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