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You’re Welcome, America: Bay Area College Athletes Have Been Killing It in Rio

Competitors from Cal and Stanford are raking in medals—and winning more gold than athletes from any other university.


Stanford's Simone Manuel, winning.

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Graphic via Hero Sports News.

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Of the 82 medals Team USA has won since the start of the Rio Olympics, Bay Area college athletes account for a whopping 37 of them—more medals than Japan's entire Olympic team has won so far. Given the prowress of Stanford-bound swimmer Katie Ledecky and Stanford's freestyle record breaker Simone Manuel, we kind of suspected the Bay Area was killing it, and now Hero Sports News made this handy chart to confirm it. (Click slideshow above.)

Much of our dominance is in the pool—in addition to the Stanford coups, Cal swimmers Kathleen Baker and incoming freshman Abbey Weitzeil were part of Team USA's gold-winning women's 4x100 medley relay crew. Cal alum Dana Vollmer was on that relay team, too; she also took bronze in the women's 100 fly. And Cal superstar Ryan Murphy is bringing home gold for the men's 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke.

As NBC Bay Area has noted, one in nine Olympians this year has ties to the Bay Area, so just on numbers alone you'd expect to see hella local representation on the podium. Our college athletes' medal haul, though, accounts for a hefty portion the total—standing for now at 45 percent.

What accounts for all this success (aside from the Bay Area's obvious superiority)? Bob Costas has some theories, ranging from the prestigiousness of Stanford and Cal to a commitment to sports that don't get much national attention (equestrian jumping, anyone?). And, yeah, the climate: "Does it get chilly sometimes in the Bay Area?" Costas said to NBC Bay Area. "Yeah, it does, but still you’ve got weather conditions that allow athletes from different sports to compete year round and to train year round.”

Says the New Yorker. Yeah, we don't expect you to understand. 


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