(AP) — Three-quarters of the 613-person U.S. Olympic team competed in the American collegiate system. That's the most up-to-date number to illustrate the country’s dependence on the NCAA and other college programs to bring home medals.

The athletes heading to the Tokyo Games include 329 women and 284 men, making this the third straight Summer Games in which the U.S. is sending more women than men to the Olympics.

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But no single statistic defines the United States’ unique situation in the Olympic world better than the number of college athletes who go on to wear the red, white and blue.

Because the U.S. Olympic team does not receive government funding, it looks to universities as a major training ground and pipeline for talent.

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