There are more than 10,000 babies born in the United States every day, which means during the 12 days of the 2012 Olympics, there will be more than 120,000 chances for brand new moms and dads to name their offspring after a potential gold medalist.
Parents, if you want your babies to grow up to be Olympians, choose the name wisely!
Wouldn't it be amazing if the name alone gave your baby a better chance at being an Olympian? While there is obviously no way to correlate the name of your baby to his or her future athletic prowess—as thousands of dads simultaneously cross "Usain" off their list when they read this—it is interesting to see how coincidental some names have been between Olympians.
Take this year's team. There are 530 Olympians representing America in the 2012 Summer Games in London, and more than half will be competing alongside at least one fellow American with the same name.
There are eight women named Sarah competing for the United States this summer—in everything from rowing to weightlifting to shooting to triathlon—the most of any one name representing America. That 'h' is important, as there are no women named Sara on the current Olympic roster.
There are seven names in the Kate and/or Katie family, putting two of the most common Olympic names in the fuzzy pink hospital caps not the fuzzy blue ones (do they still do that in hospitals?).
There are five Jakes listed on the U.S. team and another two Jacobs, so if all five Jakes were born Jacobs, that would make seven total Jacobs representing the United States in London. It seems like a lot, but research indicates Jacob was the fifth-most popular boys name in the United States in the late 1980s and 1990s. It makes you wonder why there aren't a few more.
Another common name in the Games will be Nick, also coming in at seven. Well, technically there are six Nicks and one Nic, making the combination the most common on the men's side, Jake notwithstanding.
While Michael Phelps swims around stealing all the U.S. headlines, there will be another five athletes named Michael/Mike—in boxing, shooting and track—representing the good ol' US of A.
Additional names with six representatives are Matthew/Matt and Ryan, while Amy, Amanda, Anthony, Eric/Erik, Jason, Jennifer, Lauren and Robert/Bob all have five competitors for America in this summer's competition.
If you are at the Opening Ceremonies, try yelling one of those names when the U.S. team walks out and see how many people turn around. What else is there to do at the Opening Ceremonies, complain about how the United States uniforms were made in China?
Now, with no Dan or Daniel representing the U.S. this Olympics—thankfully at least there is a Dana and a Danielle—I took it upon myself to expand beyond just this summer's Olympic Games*.
What is the most popular American name in the history of the Olympics?
Well, it's not Daniel, that's for certain. There have been just 25 American Dan/Danny/Daniels who have competed in the history of the Olympics. Summer and winter.
If my parents are reading this—what gives?
There are nearly as many Arthurs (22) as Daniels. There are 77 people named Charles or Charlie, 48 Davids, 57 with some long form of Ed, 47 Franks and another 15 Francises (not to be confused with Frances, as there is only one of those).
There are 34 Freds or Fredericks, 50 Georges and another 34 Harrys. There are 64 Jameses—82 if you include all the Jims. Surprisingly, there are only 14 Joes with another 29 Josephs.
Then I got to John.
An incredible 134 times, a man named John has represented the United States in the Olympics. Wow.
Sure, John is one of the most popular names in history, but that number is huge. It makes the 60 Mikes and Michaels look like your run-of-the-mill Shaquilles or Venuses.
There's really nothing that comes close to John. There are 40 Richards—43 if you include the Dicks. There are 60 Roberts, a number that leaps to 84 with Bobs in the fray. There are 32 varieties of Steve and 48 Thomases or Toms.
There are 18 Walters (and if I'm being topical for you Breaking Bad fans, just six Jesses—including Jesse Owens, the greatest American Olympian of all-time).
When you get down to it, the only name that comes close to John is William, another traditional name throughout history. William appears 73 times on the list, up to 80 when you add the Willies. If we combine all the American Bills, the number leaps to 108, good for the silver medal of American Olympic names.
For the women, the Kate/Katie/Kathryn combinations account for the most of any female name, tied with Susan/Sue at 17. Mary comes in just behind at 15, understandably miles behind the men's names.
Of course, none of this research should impact what you name your son or daughter, but if you do want to name the little one after an Olympian, there are some wonderful names from which to choose.
If you're looking gender neutral, there's always August, which has been an Olympic name seven times in American history. Plus, if your child is born during the games, it's calendar appropriate. If you are looking for girl-specific names, you can't go wrong with Hope or Summer or Diamond.
For boys, there's always Daniel. We have to build up that roster for future Olympiads.
*List of American Olympians researched via DatabaseOlympics.com