Syndicated — In just a few days, more than 10,000 competitors from 204 countries will gather in London to kick off the 2012 Olympics. Over the course of the games, athletes will participate in 302 events in 32 sports.
For the first time in history, the U.S. is sending more female athletes than male athletes to the Olympics. According to data from the Team USA website, 269 women and 261 men from nearly as many cities and towns are heading to London to represent the red, white and blue. We're taking a look at a few of those Olympians' hometowns.
Olympics: 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000
Medals: 14 Olympic gold, 2 Olympic bronze
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
A phenomenon since childhood, Phelps began swimming at age 7 in Towson, MD, a northwest suburb of Baltimore. During his teenage years, Phelps attended the local public school, Towson High, and swam for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under the coaching of Bob Bowman. Phelps' small childhood community is home to around 50,000 people and has current median home values of $270,000, higher than the national median of $148,000.
Sport: Track and Field
Olympics: 2012, 2008, 2004
Medals: 1 Olympic gold, 2 Olympic silver
Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA
Growing up in Santa Clarita, Felix tried out for track in the ninth grade and has been running ever since. Despite being nicknamed "Chicken Legs" by her teammates, Felix credits much of her success to her high school training and coach, Wes Smith. Her hometown of Santa Clarita is the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County. More affordable than other Los Angeles-area communities, Santa Clarita home values hover around $308,000.
Olympics: 2012, 2008
Medals: 1 Olympic silver, 1 Olympic bronze
Hometown: Houston, TX
Horton, a self-proclaimed "wild child," began gymnastics as a way to channel his boundless energy and fearlessness. As a teen he competed for Cypress Academy of Gymnastics in Houston and was recruited by the University of Oklahoma. The largest city in Texas, and one of the fastest growing metros in the country, Houston homes are remarkably affordable with a median list price of $168,000.