The Madeleine Brand Show for August 13, 2012

Californians rake in the gold at the Olympics

Beach Volleyball

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

Misty May-Treanor of the US (L) celebrates with teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings during the women's beach volleyball semi-final match US v China. Gold medal winners May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are native Californians. PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/GettyImages)

California Olympic Medals

Jessica Steffens, left with her sister Maggie Steffens of the United States pose for the cameras after winning their women's water polo gold medal match against Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London.

California Olympic Medals

United States' Jordan Larson, right, controls the ball as South Korea's Kim Hee-jin watches during a women's semifinal volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London.

California Olympic Medals

Matt Dunham/AP

United States' Will Claye competes in the men's triple jump final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.

California Olympic Medals

Carmelita Jeter, left, Allyson Felix, center, and Sanya Richards-Ross celebrate making the Olympic team after the women's 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Saturday, June 30, 2012, in Eugene, Ore.

California Olympic Medals

Jeneba Tarmoh catching her breath after a strenuous race.

California Olympic Medals

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Alyson Felix competes for gold.

California Olympic Medals

US' Keshia Baker (L) and US' Francena Mccorory compete in the women's 4 x 400m relay heats at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in London.

California Olympic Medals

David Phillip/AP

Tyler Clary dives in the men's 400-meter individual medley preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Monday, June 25, 2012, in Omaha, Neb.

California Olympic Medals

United States swim team members, from left, Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Ricky Berens pose with their gold medals after their win in the men's 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

California Olympic Medals

Jessica Hardy, of the United Sgtates, kisses the gold medal she won in the women's 50m Breaststroke final at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai, China. After missing the 2008 Olympics because of a failed drug test, no one is more eager to shine on the big stage than Hardy.

California Olympic Medals

Nathan Adrian swims his way to an Olympic gold victory.

California Olympic Medals

Dana Vollmer and the rest of the United States' Women's swim team celebrate a gold victory.

California Olympic Medals

Eric Shanteau prepares for his race by stretching.

California Olympic Medals

Alyssa Anderson smiles as she awaits the results of her race.

California Olympic Medals

Rachel Buehler is slides to get the ball in her soccer match. Yet another Olympic gold winner from California.

California Olympic Medals

Shooter, Kim Rhode, smiles as she celebrates yet another victory in the Olympics.

California Olympic Medals

U.S. rowers Mary Whipple, Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Eleanor Logan, Meghan Musnicki, Taylor Ritzel, Esther Lofgren, Zsuzsanna Francia, and Erin Cafaro celebrate after winning the gold medal for the women's rowing eight in Eton Dorney, near Windsor, England, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012.

California Olympic Medals

U.S. gymnasts McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Alexandra Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas and Jordyn Wieber bite their gold medals at the Artistic Gymnastics women's team final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in London.

California Olympic Medals

Kyla Ross competes in the floor exercise event during the women's senior division at the U.S. gymnastics championships on Sunday, June 10, 2012, in St. Louis.

California Olympic Medals

Jennie Reed, left, Dotsie Bausch, center, and Laurie Tamayo, right, of the United States show their silver medals for the track cycling women's pursuit team event during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.

California Olympic Medals

Sarah Hammer, of the United States, competes in the women's omnium flying lap event, during the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, in London.

California Olympic Medals

United States’ Kerri Walsh Jennings, left, and Misty May-Treanor, celebrate after defeating April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in a women's gold medal beach volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012.

California Olympic Medals

United States' Candace Parker bites her gold medal after beating France during the women's gold medal basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.

California Olympic Medals

Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul celebrate another victory at the 2012 Olympics.

California Olympic Medals

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

United States Jacob Wukie aims during a individual ranking round at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London.

California Olympic Medals

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

United States' Brady Ellison shoots during an elimination round of the individual archery competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, in London.


Check out KPCC’s "L.A. To London” series, exploring Southland connections to the 2012 Summer Olympics. View the series and follow it on Twitter at #latolondon.

The 2012 Olympics are over, but the state of California is still aglow from its gold medal wins. How did California stack up with other states? Well, let's just say - its athletes made a lot of trips to the podium.

Athletes that train and live in California comprise a quarter of the 530-member US delegation, and they account for about a third of its medalists.

Some sports teams were almost entirely Californian. Take the women's water polo team that took gold - almost all the players are from SoCal. The same goes for the women's 4X100 relay team that passed favored Jamaica at the finish line and broke a world record while at it. Three of the four runners are from in and around Los Angeles.

Several Californians earned multiple medals. Track star Carmelita Jeter of Glendora nabbed gold, silver and bronze. Rebecca Soni of Manhattan Beach won two gold medals, and a silver. Plus, Soni broke a world record in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Californians were also standouts in gymnastics. McKayla Maroney from Laguna Niguel and Kyla Ross from Aliso Viejo helped the women's team land gold.

California is also home to beach volleyball supernovas Misty May-Treanor of Long Beach, and her partner, Kerri Walsh Jennings of Hermosa Beach. The pair won its third team gold by beating fellow Californians April Ross and Jennifer Kessy.

This all begs the question: Why are there so many Olympians in California?

Jake Kaminski, who's on the men's archery team that won silver, says that California weather allows him and other athletes to train year-round.

"Basically, it's the best weather in the country," Kaminksi said. "Minus the sea breeze that we have, it's the best place we can possibly shoot in America."

Kaminski practices at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, a state-of-the-art training ground for athletes ranging from BMX riders to rowers and rugby players.

Many Olympians also end up in California because they get scholarships to sports powerhouses such as the University of Southern California. Twenty-five Trojans medaled in London, according to the PAC 12 athletic conference.

UC Berkeley and Stanford had 17 and 16 medalists, respectively.

Now that the Olympics are over, many of California's athletes are coming back to train for other meets and prepare for the next Olympics in Brazil.

But whether all of them will continue training in California is not clear, especially if they're not originally from here. Kaminski said he'd like to stay in California, but the cost of living is too high. He said he's paying $900 a month for a 450-sq. foot apartment, and is considering moving back home to Florida.

A bipartisan group of California lawmakers is trying to make life easier for Olympians. They've got a bill that would exempt athletes from state taxes on their Olympic winnings.

State Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat from Santa Ana, is a co-sponsor.

"If you get the $25,000 gold, you pay about $1,500," Correa said. "And a silver medal you pay about $1,000 and a bronze- about $600. This money will make their life a little bit easier. These guys are American and they are California heroes. We want to make sure that they stay here."

But even Correa says the bill's odds of passage aren't that great, given the climate of austerity that's taken hold of Sacramento.

But at the very least the bill sends the message that Californians love their Olympians. And if there is such a thing as an Olympics vote, these politicians may have that sewn up.


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