The opening ceremonies for the 2012 Sochi Winter Olympics are only 22 days away, so it’s only right to start debating who’ll win which events.
But Business Insider did Americans one better by digging through the IOC’s database and compiling the most individual summer and winter Olympic gold medals won by state since 1924—since, you know, interstate squabbling is a favorite American pastime.
The findings, as you can see above, aren’t that surprising: California, New York, Illinois, Ohio and Texas are the top-five winningest individual Olympic gold medal states, as they’re also seven of the most populated. What is surprising is the lack of Southern states in the top ten (unless, of course, your definition of Southern includes Maryland). Georgia, Alabama and Florida all squeeze into the top 15, while Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia all make the top 20.
Since this graphic includes Winter Olympic wins as well, the Rust Belt and Mid-Atlantic states’ dominance makes sense. The graph also only takes into account individual wins, so team sports medalists aren’t represented.
Take heart, “SEC Speed” adherents: states in Southeastern Conference territory absolutely dominate when it comes to All Stars in professional football, basketball and baseball. SEC universities also spend 12 times as much on their athletes as their regular students.
Plus, Olympic glory might be overrated anyways. It only comes once every two years.
Graphic: Business Insider