Team USA and the Tokyo Olympics: By the numbers

Alyssa Hertel
USA TODAY

With less than a week until the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, the United States’ roster is being finalized. Over 600 U.S. athletes will travel to Japan in hopes of clinching a medal, but there are more to those numbers than meets the eye.

One U.S. Olympian is appearing in his seventh Games. Over 400 other athletes are competing in their first Olympics, including nearly a dozen who are high-school-aged.

At least 14 Olympians are traveling to Tokyo with a sibling while several athletes will compete in the Games alongside their partner – like married cyclists Laura and Jason Kenny, who have won a combined 10 gold medals, and engaged power couple Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, who have five Olympic golds.

Women lead the way for all returning Olympians in medals won, and they have the numbers to have continued success, with women making up over half of the U.S. Olympic roster.

A woman walks by the Olympic rings installed by the Nippon Bashi bridge in Tokyo on Thursday, July 15.

From medalists to money spent, take a look at some of the numbers surrounding the Tokyo Games: 

COVID-19 concerns

While nearly half of the United States’ population is fully vaccinated, coronavirus cases have surged to a six-month high in Tokyo a week before the Olympics. On average, there are 757 new COVID-19 cases daily as of July 12, and 80% of people in Japan want the Tokyo Games canceled or postponed until the threat of the virus subsides.

It looks like the Olympics will continue as planned but without at least one country – North Korea, which pulled out of Tokyo citing coronavirus concerns. It is estimated that Japan will spend nearly $900 million on COVID-19 countermeasures, including daily tests for over 11,000 athletes. Still, Japan could suffer catastrophic economic losses – $22 billion by one estimate – by not allowing spectators at the Games in an attempt to keep infection rates from rising even more.

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Renewable resources

As Tokyo prepares to host its second-ever Olympics, the city committed to minimizing the environmental impact of the Games. In total, 5,000 medals – for three places in 50 disciplines across 33 sports – were made out of 79,000 tons of recycled electronics. The donated devices produced 32 kg of gold, 3,500 kg of silver and 2,200 kg of bronze.

All 42 of this year’s Olympic and Paralympic venues will run on 100% renewable energy.

Team USA, by the numbers

The United States is sending 621 athletes to Tokyo, which includes the alternates for women’s soccer, men’s and women’s rugby and water polo.

Team USA returns 193 prior Olympians to this year's Games. Equestrian Phillip Dutton leads all returning Olympians with his seventh appearance at the Games. Behind Dutton are seven five-time Olympians: equestrian Steffen Peters, basketball players Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, track athletes Abdi Abdirahman and Allyson Felix, fencer Mariel Zagunis and water polo’s Jesse Smith. 

The U.S. roster boasts 100 medalists, including 54 gold medalists. 

Age is but a number

Hutton is also the United States’ oldest athlete at age 57, while swimmer Katie Grimes is the youngest at age 15. Swimming has the two youngest Olympians, with Bella Sims turning 16 on May 25.

There are 11 athletes younger than 18 on Team USA’s roster, including Grimes and Sims, archer Casey Kaufhold, canoe/kayaker Evy Leibfarth, swimmer Lydia Jacoby, swimmer Claire Curzan, tennis player Coco Gauff, track and field’s Erriyon Knighton, climber Colin Duffy, and skateboarders Brighton Zeuner and Bryce Wettstein. Four 18-year-olds – divers Tyler Downs and Hailey Hernandez, gymnast Sunisa Lee and table tennis player Nikhil Kumar – round out the youngsters.

Girl Power

This is the third straight Olympics where Team USA has more women on the roster (329) than men (284).

Of all 621 athletes on Team USA, the top nine leading medalists are all women. Felix leads the way with nine medals, including six golds. Swimmer Allison Schmitt is close behind with eight medals, including four gold. Rounding out the remaining seven leading women are swimmer Katie Ledecky (six medals), gymnast Simone Biles (five medals), and four-time medalists Bird and Taurasi, fencer Zagunis and swimming’s Simone Manuel.

Allyson Felix competes in the Women' 200 Meters Semi-Finals during day eight of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 25, 2021.

Sibling rivalry

For those that can stand their sibling in small doses, imagine competing on an Olympic team together? There are at least six sets of siblings representing the United States in Tokyo, including Jessica and Nelly Korda (golf), Henry Leverett and Jack Leverett III (shooting), Phillip and Ryan Chew (badminton), Kristie and Samantha Mewis (soccer), Erik and Kawika Shoji (volleyball), and Aria and Makenzie Fischer (water polo).

There is also one unofficial bonus set of siblings: fencer Alexander Massialas’ sister, Sabrina, joins the fencing team as an alternate.

Contact Alyssa Hertel at ahertel@usatoday.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.