10+ Olympians Connected to Wyoming – Born, Raised, and Beyond.
Recently, Wyoming native and Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner announced his return to wrestling with the goal of heading to the 2024 Olympics. Rulon's story is one of remarkable fortitude and national prestige, and naturally, it got me wondering how many times a Wyomingite has been represented at the games.
The first modern Olympic Games took place on April 6, 1896. At the time, Wyoming was only six years into its statehood status. Only fourteen U.S. citizens competed at the 1896 Olympic Games, and not a single one was from Wyoming.
Even today, when you hear "U.S. Olympians," most folks don't think of Wyoming. We're a small state with only a handful of Olympians to our name. But apparently, the Cowboy State has a leg up on the competition when it comes to producing Olympians based on population size.
Wyoming Stands Tall at the Olympics
Last year, Stacker reported that the Cowboy State ranks 8th in the U.S. for producing Olympians based on per capita since 2014. Wyoming averaged 6.9 competing athletes per million people - not bad, considering our population is under a million.
Wyoming's Olympic accolades were even more impressive back in 2012 when the London Times reported that "all states should bow down to Wyoming" because our state had "one athlete for every 284,079 people living in the state" competing at the 2012 Olympic Games. That data was based on the 2011 population of Wyoming and though outdated, emphasizes the quality of our Wyoming athletes!
At the time, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead attributed our impressive Olympian stats to Wyoming's clean air and "outdoor ethos," telling the Times, "It's just part of what we do."
And clearly, we're doing something right. Olympian athletes have represented Wyoming since 1932.