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California Is Home to 1 in 5 Olympians But Colorado Is Sending More Per Capita

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Team USA is sending 613 athletes from 46 states to this summer’s 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed a year due to the pandemic.

California, the most populous state, is sending the most (126) but Colorado is sending more per capita (5.9 per million).

These Olympics will feature 339 medal events in 33 sports. Four sports are new this year: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

The full roster of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team shows athletes by state, including their name, sport, hometown and event(s).

Competition (some baseball and soccer games) began on July 21, before the opening ceremony on July 23. The closing ceremony is August 8.

These Olympics will feature 339 medal events in 33 sports. Four sports are new this year: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. Baseball and softball are returning for the first time since 2008.  

Team USA Athletes From 46 States

  • California’s 126 athletes make up 20.5% of the U.S. team. Next are Florida (51), Colorado (34), Texas (31) and New York (27). On a per capita basis, Colorado (5.9 athletes per million population), Hawaii (5.7), and the District of Columbia (5.6) beat out all other states, including California (3.2).
  • The nine states with populations over 10 million contributed 322 athletes (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina). The seven states with populations under 1 million sent 10 (Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming).
  • Aside from the 50 states, the District of Columbia is home to four athletes (men’s basketball, fencing, tennis and triathlon) and Puerto Rico to one (baseball). There’s even one Italian on Team USA (men’s water polo).

More U.S. Sports Facts

  • In 2019, there were 39,297 fitness and recreational sports centers establishments in the United States. They employed 777,590 people with a $12 billion annual payroll.
  • The United States had about 140,000 athletes, coaches and umpires out of a workforce of 114 million in 2019. That’s about 1,228 per million population.

A Brief History About the Olympics and Japan

  • The modern Olympics began in 1896 in Athens, Greece.
  • The United States has hosted more Olympics than any other country: four Summer Games (1904, 1932, 1984, 1996) and four Winter Games (1932, 1960, 1980, 2002).
  • Japan has hosted four Olympics, tied for third with Italy: two Summer Games (1964 and 2020 held this year) and two Winter Games (1972 and 1998).
  • During these Olympics, Japan is expected to host 11,238+ athletes from 206 countries. The official Games motto: United by Emotion.
  • Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world with a population of 38.14 million in 2016. Japan is ranked 11th with a 2021 population of 124.7 million (see below).


  • The next three Summer Games are set to be held in 2024 in Paris, 2028 in Los Angeles and 2032 in Brisbane, Australia.
  • India, the second most populous country in the world, has never hosted the Olympics. Neither has any country on the continent of Africa.


Derick C. Moore is a senior communications specialist in the Census Bureau's Communications Directorate.


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