(NEXSTAR/WIAT) – Each Olympic athlete dressed in the stars and stripes will be representing the United States, but some states are pumping out potential medalists at a much faster pace than their neighbors.
Montgomery-born Brandon Dickson and Magic City native David Robinson will be representing the United States Baseball team. Anniston’s James Hall and Phenix City’s Sandra Uptagrafft will be looking for a bullseye during the Shooting competition.
North Alabama will be cheering on Huntsville-native JuVaugh Harrison will represent the men and Hartselle-resident Quanesha Burks will represent the women in Track & Field. Also, Madison-native Zach Harting will join South Alabamian Paige Madden as they go for gold in the Swimming competition.
David Robinson is not the only one representing the Magic City in Tokyo. Haylie McCleney, of Morris, will swigging for fence with the United States softball team.
All told, the United States is sending a team of 821 athletes to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic games. Every state except North Dakota and Wyoming is sending at least one athlete to represent the country, including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
California is sending 150 athletes, and Florida is sending 64. New York tied Colorado with 41 athletes. Texas is sending 40, and Illinois is sending 29, according to biographical information provided on the Team USA website. But that doesn’t tell the full story.
On a per-capita basis, Hawaiians are going for the gold at a higher rate than any other state. Hawaii is only sending 11 total athletes, but the state is sending 7.56 athletes per million residents, with heavy representation in surfing and volleyball. That narrowly beats out Colorado and the District of Columbia, each is sending seven in a million to the games, roughly twice the rate at which Californians are earning a trip to Tokyo.
A handful of states will pin their hopes on a single representative. Arkansas, for instance, will send just one of the state’s three million residents to the games. That’s similar to rates in Puerto Rico, Idaho and West Virginia, each with a lone athlete.
The summer games — postponed last year in the throes of the global pandemic — will officially open July 23. An estimated 11,360 athletes will take part.