What is it about the Bay Area that produces so many Olympic stars?
Sixty-two of the 555 athletes making up Team U.S.A. has local ties. Legendary NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas says there are at least a couple things happening here.
“If I were to guess, I’d say part of it is at least two prestigious universities, Stanford and Cal,” Costas said.
About 11 percent –– have local ties. And this does not even include the 20 other athletes with Bay Area ties competing for other countries.
Costas has been the front man for NBC for 10 Olympics and counting. He says Bay Area universities pride themselves on non-marquee sports.
“Do they have good basketball teams and football teams? Yeah. But they also win championships in sports that don’t get as much national attention,” Costas said.
Cal’s pool has produced the likes of Nathan Adrian, Dana Vollmer, Anthony Ervin, Missy Franklin and many more.
Across the Bay, Stanford boasts diver Kristian Ipsen, beach volleyball player Keri Walsh Jennings and the first female Olympic skiff sailor Helena Scutt.
Not to forget, San Jose State University has judokas Marti Malloy and Colton Brown.
Costas says there isn’t something in the water, but there is something in our California skies.
“You’ve got weather conditions that allow for year-round training. Does it get chilly sometimes in the Bay Area, yeah it does, but still you’ve got weather conditions that allow athletes from different sports to compete year round and to train year round,” Costas said.