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Pac-12 Conference produces Most U.S. Olympians in Olympic History According to Study

Sep 21, 2017

An study that was released today found that the Pac-12 Conference has produced significantly more U.S. Olympians than any other conference in the history of the Olympic Games.  According to the study, which covers both Summer and Winter Olympics, the Pac-12 has had 1,279 Olympians who attended Pac-12 universities, 45 percent more than the next closest conference.  STANFORD, UCLA, USC and CALIFORNIA were the top four colleges or universities to produce USA Olympians. The findings were also broken down by gender, which also had four Pac-12 universities among the top five in each category.

Stanford has produced the most U.S. Olympians, according to the study, with 289, followed by UCLA with 277, USC with 251 and Cal with 212. COLORADO was 10th on the list having produced 128 USA Olympians and WASHINGTON was 12th (122).

Broken down by season, Stanford and UCLA still led all other universities, tying for the most Summer Olympians all-time with 280. USC had the third-most with 249 and Cal was fourth with 202. Washington was ninth on the list at 115.

With a history of excellence in the winter sports, Colorado has produced the third-most USA Winter Olympians with 61, while UTAH has produced 46 for fifth on the list.

The Pac-12 has been a leader in women’s sports, producing the most NCAA team titles of any conference in the country. UCLA has produced the most female USA Olympians, with 119, while Stanford’s 110 is second-most . USC’s 71 is third and Cal is fourth with 69. Also on this list in ninth is ARIZONA with 37.

Pac-12 schools also combined for the most NCAA titles in history (501), and therefore are also prominent among U.S. male Olympians, with Stanford producing the most at 187, followed by USC with 185. UCLA is fourth with 166 and Cal is fifth with 149. Colorado’s 97 ranks 10th all-time.

According to the study, a Pac-12 school has had the most U.S. Summer Olympians every year since 1924. USC topped the list at every Summer Games from 1928 through 1964 (tied with Cal in 1948). UCLA’s run went from 1968 through 2004. Stanford had the most USA Olympians in 2008, 2012 and 2016. In the Winter Olympics, Colorado had the most in 1972 and 1998, while Utah has sent the most USA Olympians in 2002 and 2006.

The database includes only USA Olympians who competed in medal sports and who attended any known college, U.S. or otherwise. It does not include foreign athletes, alternates, demo sport athletes, coaches and affiliate personnel, Paralympians, and others.

The database for the study was compiled by Olympic historians Bill Mallon and Hillary Evans, and with the help of college and university Sports Information Directors (SIDs) from around the country with the help of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The full study can be found at

Pac-12-affiliated athletes won 55 total medals in 12 sports during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. If the Conference had been a country, it would have finished fifth among all countries behind Russia (56). Pac-12 athletes also claimed 25 gold medals during the Games, which would have ranked fourth among all nations, just behind Great Britain (27, second most) and China (26 third most).

Notables from Rio included USA’s Ashton Eaton (Oregon) tying his own Olympic record in the decathlon (8,893), winning gold for the second-straight Olympics. In the pool, Pac-12 athletes were responsible for setting or contributing to Olympic and world records, including USA’s Katie Ledecky (Stanford) who won four golds and a silver medal, becoming the third woman in history to win four gold medals in a single Olympics.

USA’s Allyson Felix (USC) became the most decorated female American track & field athlete in Olympics history, winning a record sixth gold medal in Rio. USA’s Simone Manuel (Stanford) became the first African-American woman to win individual gold at the Olympics. She, along with USA and Stanford teammate Lia Neal, became the first two African-American women to compete simultaneously on the U.S. Olympic team.

In Rio, 117 Team USA athletes were Pac-12 affiliated making up 21 percent of the U.S. roster.

For more information on the Pac-12 in the Rio Olympics, visit