One day during the 2012 London Olympics we found ourselves wondering how Maine held up against other states when it came to producing Olympic-medalist-caliber athletes. Of course, we were willing to set aside our state-based loyalties for the sake of chanting USA! USA! at the television (or not), but we felt compelled to see how our state stacked up against the rest.
The data didn’t exist anywhere yet, so we built what is known as a “scraper” to automatically crawl the Wikipedia website and pull out all mentions of home states from a list of U.S. Olympic medalists. The results were genuinely interesting. California is by far and away the state that most medalists call home, but the Virgin Islands and American Samoa produce the most medalists per capita by a large margin. Maine’s results were middling… about one medalist born per 150,000 people. Come on, Maine. We expect better.
HTML-based infographic, based on Olympic medalist data scraped from Wikipedia.