UCLA’s athletics program has a rich history of being awesome. We lead the nation in 108 NCAA titles (most in the nation) and 129 total national titles (also No. 1 in the nation).
Of course, that means we’re good at Olympics, and this is true. Sadly, though, we get a ton of flack from fellow Angelinos and silly U$C fans that UCLA doesn’t produce as many successful Olympians as South Cal does.
And, sure, raw numbers tell us this might be true: U$C has earned 135 gold medals to UCLA’s 125, while U$C has earned 87 silver medals to UCLA’s 60. The total medal count sees U$C at 287 and UCLA’s at 250.
Of course, UCLA Associate Athletic Director Mike Sondheimer notes that UCLA has competed in four less Olympic Games than U$C based on when UCLA was founded (in 1919, when U$C was founded in 1880).
And when you consider this, on a per-Olympics basis, UCLA is actually the better school, since it seems U$C has benefited from just being around a little longer. Here’s some eye-opening and encouraging stats:
We have competed in four less Olympic Games than USC (based on when we were founded – we haven’t even hit our 100th anniversary), but heading into this year’s Games, we would rank as the 18th country in the world in overall medals (USC is 17th) and would rank #13 as a country in gold medals (USC is #12).
OK, so obviously, U$C is still ahead of us, but again, these are raw numbers. This is just to show how quickly UCLA has gotten to the position they are. Here are the per-Olympics stats:
In comparing USC and UCLA (according to statistics compiled prior to the Games from our intern Ricky Darling), UCLA has averaged 17.9 athletes per Olympics to 15.2 for USC. We have averaged 11 total medals per Olympics and 5.4 gold medals, while USC has averaged 10.1 medals and 4.7 gold medals.
And how about our recent dominance since the 1980s?
Since the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, if UCLA was its own country, we would be 5th in the world in gold medals behind the USA, China, Russia and Germany.
That’s fifth behind four of the most dominant countries in international play in the modern era.
Of course, Sondheimer has a crap-load of more statistics on UCLA’s “London Log-in,” so we suggest you read the whole thing. It’s filled with pride and assurance that we are, indeed, the best school in the United States, athletically.
We won’t bring up our academics again, of course.