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4 Things You Didn’t Know About Team USA Olympians (But Data Can Tell You)

Which states have the most U.S. Olympians? How do their ages vary by sport? Dive into the answers with a fun data visualization.

The average male U.S. Olympian in equestrian is 47 years old. [Stocksy/Manu Prats]

Which sport has the oldest U.S. Olympians? Which states have the biggest representation on Team USA? This summer, you’ll be able to get the answers to these questions and many more. 

Salesforce’s new interactive data visualization, “Team USA by the Numbers,” was created in partnership with Team USA to help fans learn more about U.S. Olympic athletes and their achievements. This new interactive dashboard puts each fan in the driver’s seat, allowing them to crunch the facts and figures that interest them most.

Here are five insights we learned from a recent spin around the dashboard, which was built on Tableau, an integrated analytics platform.

1. Team USA skews female

Around 54% of U.S. Olympians this year are female, which reflects a general increase in female representation at the Olympic Games. Female athletes will not only represent the U.S. in bigger numbers – more of them will also compete alongside male athletes in the same events. Team USA will compete in nine new mixed-gender events, doubling the total held at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. 

2. Nearly every U.S. state is represented on Team USA – even the colder ones

Given the number of warm-weather, outdoor sports at the Olympic Games held in the summer, it makes sense that many members of Team USA come from the states with favorable climates for those sports. Think California, Texas, or Florida – those three are the home states of more than one-third of Team USA. But U.S. Olympians come from as far north as Alaska and Maine. In fact, members of Team USA come from 46 states and one U.S. territory, American Samoa.

3. The U.S. Olympians with the smallest feet compete in karate

It’s not hard to guess which members of Team USA have the biggest shoes. That would be the men’s basketball team, with an average shoe size of 15. But which athletes have the smallest feet, and just how low do shoe sizes go on Team USA? It’s actually a tie between women’s karate and women’s sport climbing, at size 6.

4. If you think you’re too old to make Team USA, hop on a horse

The average U.S. Olympian is 27 years old, and in most sports, the typical age isn’t dramatically higher or lower than that. But older athletes looking for inspiration can find it in one extreme outlier on the age curve: equestrian. The average male U.S. Olympian in that sport is 47 years old. The average female U.S. Olympian in equestrian is 43. The sport includes three disciplines – dressage, eventing, and jumping – and is one of the only sports at the Olympic Games in which men and women compete against each other.

All statistics mentioned above are based on self-reported data from U.S. Olympians, as of July 21, 2021.

Brian Costa is Editorial Lead for Global Brand Marketing at Salesforce. He previously spent 11 years at The Wall Street Journal, where he was a senior editor for digital platforms and, before that, an award-winning sports reporter.

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