Ivy League and Olympics

The Ivy League and Olympic ties are strong ones! But, historically, which Ivy League university do you think has produced the most Olympians? Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth? Maybe Columbia, Penn, or Brown? Yale? Going into these 2012 Olympic Games (not counting this year’s Olympic qualifiers), the answer is…Dartmouth. According to Dartmouth College, since 1924, 110 Dartmouth students have competed in the Olympic Games (although the Ivy League Sports websites asserts that this figure is actually 124)! And why do you think Dartmouth College leads its Ivy League rivals in producing Olympians? Is it because they churn out swimmers to compete against Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps? Is it because they churn out basketball players to play alongside Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade? Not exactly.

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Dartmouth College is the Ivy League college that has produced the most Olympic athletes. It's also the smallest of the Ivy League colleges. Pretty incredible, huh?

The answer lies in skiing. Dartmouth, with its very own skiway, attracts a host of phenomenal skiers. According to a 2010 “US News & World Report” article on the Ivy League and Olympic Games, “The 100-year-old [ski] program, the first of its kind in collegiate athletics, has sent—by its own count—97 skiers to the Winter Games since the inception of the Winter Olympics…A big part of that success has come from a two-feet-on-two-rafts mentality; over the years, the program’s leaders have strongly encouraged their student-athletes to focus on school while still maintaining their athletic careers, a must if a young Ivy League student-athlete wants to survive all four years. That formula has worked for the better part of a century.”

But skiing doesn’t account for all of Dartmouth College’s Olympic athletes. After all, headed to the London Olympics will be alumnus Sean Furey in javelin, alumna Evelyn Stevens in road cycling (she left Wall Street for her bicycle), alumnus Erik Storck in sailing, and alumnus Anthony Fahden in lightweight crew. Alumnus Adam Nelson, a regular Olympian, failed to qualify for the first time in a while after a disappointing Olympic Trials. So, no, skiing isn’t the only reason why Dartmouth has produced so many Olympians. There was even a Dartmouth women’s hockey team a few years back that had four Olympic athletes – three Canadian and one American. How absurd is that?

What do you think about Dartmouth’s plethora of Olympic athletes? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting below! And while you’re here, check out this post on Ivy League Athletes.

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