Among states, Minnesota sending second-highest number of athletes to winter Olympics
|Start 'em young: Pond hockey in White Bear Lake.|
The country is amping up for international competition, sure. But the team list also sparks some rivalry between states, and in that contest, Minnesota's tied for silver.
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Of the 230 athletes going to Sochi, Russia, 19 of them list a hometown in Minnesota, including four in the Twin Cities.
That's second only to California, which is sending 20 athletes, and tied with Colorado. New York's next on the list, with 18. Twelve states won't be sending any athletes at all.
Look at a map, and the states' showings make sense: The states not represented stretch across the south, while states with snow are also the ones churning out winter athletes. An exception is South Dakota, the only northern state not sending any athletes to the games.
Minnesota's showing is actually down from 2010, when the Land of 10,000 Frozen Lakes sent 22 athletes -- more than any other state -- to Vancouver.
Overall, the team comprises 105 women and 125 men, with 106 returning Olympians between them. Their high numbers mean that the U.S. will be staking a claim to all 15 disciplines in all seven sports, and to 94 of the 98 medal events.
Look out for these 19 names when your eyes are glued to the coverage in two weeks. Representing Minnesota, as well as the U.S., will be:
David Backes, Ice Hockey, Minneapolis
Jessie Diggins, Cross-Country Skiing, Afton
Justin Faulk, Ice Hockey, South St. Paul
Jeff Isaacson, Curling, Lakeland
John Landsteiner, Curling, Mapleton
Paul Martin, Ice Hockey, Elk River
Gigi Marvin, Ice Hockey, Warroad
Ryan McDonagh, Ice Hockey, St. Paul
Leif Nordgren, Biathlon, Marine on St. Croix
T.J. Oshie, Ice Hockey, Warroad
Zach Parise, Ice Hockey, Minneapolis
Allison Pottinger, Curling, Eden Prairie
Anna Ringsred, Long Track Speedskating, Duluth
Anne Schleper, Ice Hockey, St. Cloud
John Shuster, Curling, Chisholm
Lee Stecklein, Ice Hockey, Roseville
Derek Stepan, Ice Hockey, Hastings
Blake Wheeler, Ice Hockey, Robbinsdale
Jared Zezel, Curling, Hibbing
And here's how all 38 states that are home to winter athletes stack up:
New York: 18
New Hampshire: 9
New Jersey: 4
North Dakota: 2
North Carolina: 1
Rhode Island: 1
South Carolina: 1
Not represented: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
-- Tips or comments? Reach Olivia LaVecchia by email or on Twitter at @olavecchia