18-06 Segment 2: Norwich, Vermont’s Olympic Formula

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During the Olympics, most of the focus is on the talent and success of the individual athletes. Yet, Karen Crouse, a writer for the New York Times and author of Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence, believes that one small town deserves the same attention.

Norwich, Vermont, a town with a population of 3,000, has produced eleven Olympians since 1984. Inspired by the instant connection she felt with the tiny town because of her personal experiences as a swimmer in Santa Clara, California, another Olympic powerhouse, Crouse wanted to discover just what it was that was helping Norwich become so successful.

After talking with the athletes and their families, she noticed two factors that contributed to these athletes’ successes. The first was a domino effect, when one individual witnesses the excellence of another, it normalizes the experience and allows the goal to appear more attainable. Another reason Crouse attributes to Norwich’s success is the role that the adults play in the athletes lives. They do not tell them what to do, but rather, encourage them to make their own choices. These practices have allowed Norwich to create a community that promotes a healthy environment that breeds future success.


  • Karen Crouse, writer for New York Times and author of Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence

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