13 Top Colleges for Olympians

13 Top Colleges for Olympians

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On the Westminster campus just outside Salt Lake City, many students schedule their classes around time on the slopes. The flexibility and mere half-hour drive to world-class skiing are some of the reasons why 41 U.S. ski and snowboard team members including Morgan Arritola, pictured, choose to attend. The ratio of Olympians here is exceptionally high. Although there are just 2,600 students on campus, 14 were chosen to represent the United States at the Vancouver Olympics.

Dartmouth

When it comes to Ivy Leagues, Dartmouth dominates the Winter Olympic Games. In 2010, the school was the best represented of any of these prestigious universities, and also claimed the title for most athletes ever to represent an Ivy League in a single Winter Olympic Games. Since 1924, 110 Darmouth-affiliated athletes have competed, in no small part thanks to the school’s 100-year-old ski program. The first of its kind in college athletics, the ski team has sent 97 skiers to the Olympic Games since the Winter Olympics began.

The university also has a presence at the summer Olympics. In 2012, alumni competed in the sports of road cycling, sailing, javelin and lightweight crew.

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Thanks to its powerful ice hockey teams made up of top national and international athletes, the University of Minnesota Duluth was well represented in the 2010 Olympics. During the games, 14 current and former women’s hockey players, including six from Sweden and three from Finland, made an appearance. The strength of UM’s program dates back to 1998, when Coach Shannon Miller used her notes from the 1998 Nagano Olympics to recruit a team for the school’s nascent program. 

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Athletes affiliated with the University of Arizona have won at least one medal in every Olympiad since 1968. As of 2012, the school can claim 61 medals. 

Andre Iguodala, pictured, helped the United States take gold in men's basketball in London. That year, athletes also won silver and gold in track & field, swimming and high jump.

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In London, UGA was represented by 27 athletes affiliated with the school, including swimmer Allison Schmitt (left) who brought home five medals. UGA athletes not only competed in events ranging from tennis to women’s gymnastics, but also played important administrative roles. For instance, former women’s basketball star and five-time Olympic medalist Teresa Edwards served as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Chef de Mission. University of Georgia athletes brought home three gold, one silver and three bronze medals that year.

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At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Bill Forrester won Auburn its first medal. Since that time, the team has become a powerhouse in swimming. 

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Auburn won 18 medals in swimming, more than any other school in the United States. In the 2012 Games, 24 current and former Tigers–including four coaches–represented 13 different countries and brought home four more medals. Among these players was Eric Shanteau (pictured), who missed the finals in the 2008 Games, but returned to win gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay.

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Since the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Gators representing 37 different countries have won a total of 109 Olympic medals in baseball, basketball, bobsled, soccer, tennis, track & field and swimming. Swimming is undoubtedly Florida's strongest sport. At the 2012 Games, 19 Gator swimmers representing 13 countries participated. The school's best known competitors are Dara Torres and Ryan Lochte (left).

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In London, the Longhorns won 13 medals in disciplines ranging from decathlon to diving. The school's athletes have won a total of 130 medals (73 gold, 37 silver and 20 bronze) since 1936. Sanya Richards-Ross, pictured, won Olympic medals in track & field while she attended the University of Texas and after her graduation. 

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For the second modern Olympics in Paris in 1910, the United States did not have an organized team. Instead, universities around the country sponsored squads. Among the first competitors were four students from the University of Michigan. The athletes performed well, winning medals in the pole vault and hurdles. Since that time, the university has maintained a strong presence at the Games.

To date, Michigan athletes have won 150 medals–72 gold, 39 silver and 39 bronze–with medal winners in every Summer Olympics except 1896 and gold medalists in all but four Summer Olympiads. Michael Phelps, who graduated from Michigan in 2008, is the most decorated Olympian of all time. He won a total of 22 medals in various swimming events.

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With athletes like 12-time-Olympic-medalist Natalie Coughlin, it's no surprise that Berkeley has made its mark on the Olympic Games. In both Beijing and London, Golden Bear athletes earned 17 medals between men’s swimming, women’s swimming, women’s rowing, women’s soccer, men’s water polo and women’s water polo. With eleven gold medals, athletes from Berkeley brought home the top prize as often as athletes from France and Germany.

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Close behind UCLA is Stanford, a school that can claim 224 medals by affiliated athletes.

At the 2008 Games in Beijing, Stanford had one of its best years, winning 25 medals–eight gold, 13 silver and four bronze. Stanford alumna Kerri Walsh-Jennings was one of the darlings of this event. She and her partner Misty May-Treanor beat out the Chinese team to take gold in beach volleyball. 

Walsh-Jennings and May-Treanor won the event again at the 2012 Olympic Games, where Stanford athletes claimed a total of 16 medals, including gold in women’s rowing, women’s soccer, men’s tennis and women’s water polo. The school tied with USC for the highest number of gold medals earned by athletes from an American university that year.

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Since its founding in 1919, UCLA has sent athletes to every Olympic Games with just one exception in 1924. The school’s total medal count now sits at 250, half of which are gold. 

At the 2012 Games in London, UCLA claimed 12 medals, including six golds across three sports: women’s soccer (alumna Lauren Cheney is pictured on the left), women’s water polo and men’s basketball. 

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USC's Olympic history dates back to the 1904 Games in St. Louis, when Emil Breitkreutz (class of 1906) became the first USC student to compete. He won a bronze medal in the 800-meter event, setting the stage for USC's domination. Today the school can claim more Olympians, overall medalists and gold medalists than any other American university. In total, 418 Trojans have represented the United States across 28 different sports and won 258 medals.

At the 2012 London Games, USC won 25 Olympic medals—more than any other university in the United States–thanks to athletes such as track and field star Allyson Felix (pictured on the left) and swimmer Rebecca Soni. The showing was the best in the school’s history and included 12 gold, nine silver and four bronze medals. Gold medals were won in swimming, track and field, water polo, basketball and soccer.

13 Top Colleges for Olympians