Utah far out-skates, out-skis and out-slides most states when it comes to producing U.S. Winter Olympic athletes — but just missed the medal podium for best of the best, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The statistics agency decided to slalom into the Olympics on Wednesday by figuring out which states produce the most Winter Olympians overall, and which have the most per capita.
Utah finished fourth for the rate of Olympians per resident, and fifth for total athletes overall in the current Games.
The bureau said the Beehive State is home to 16 of the current Games’ 244 U.S. athletes. That amounts to 5.2 Olympians per million residents.
It notes that Colorado produced the most total athletes: 31. It was followed by California, 22; Minnesota, 20; and New York, 19.
When it comes to the rate of Olympians per resident, Vermont was by far the winner: 24.1 per million residents (it had 15 Olympic athletes overall, one behind Utah, but has a population of just 600,000 compared with Utah’s 3.1 million).
Behind it for the top rates were Alaska, 9.5 per million residents; Colorado, 5.5; and Utah and Wyoming tied at 5.2.
The Census Bureau said that while states with large populations contributed many Olympians, most come from less-populous states. About 7 of every 10 athletes come from states with fewer than 10 million residents.
The nine largest-population states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina) account for more than half the total U.S. population, but contributed only 3 of every 10 Olympians, it said.
The Census also listed some numbers that it said may show some reasons Colorado has the most Winter Olympians.
Colorado is the No. 1 state for skiing establishments: 40. Also, Colorado’s workforce has one of the highest numbers of coaches, umpires and professional athletes per capita — about 2,000 per million population.