A record number of women to compete on U.S. Olympic team

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The U.S. Olympic team of 554 qualified athletes includes 292 female athletes, more women than have competed for any other nation in the history of the games.

Eight athletes who consider Connecticut their home state will be competing in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The previous record for the most female competitors was held by China, which sent 289 women to the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics. China announced before those games that its team of 639 athletes included 301 women, but only 289 ended up competing.

The previous record for the most U.S. women was also at the 2008 Olympics with between 282 and 288 female athletes.

This will be the second straight Olympics at which the U.S. team will have more women than men. At the 2012 London Olympics the U.S. team was 49.4 percent male and 50.6 percent female..

At Rio, the disparity will greater, with 52.7 percent female athletes and 47.3 percent male athletes.

Even if the female-only sports of synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics are removed, the percentages vary only slightly. The team would consist of 52.2 percent female athletes and 47.8 percent male athletes.

A few more athletes could potentially join the U.S. roster before or during the Olympics based on moving quota spots and team replacements.

Of all of the states and territories in the U.S., only 38 and the District of Columbia are sending athletes of both genders.

Connecticut has the greatest disparity with seven male team members and one female team member, soccer player Alyssa Naeher.

This is also the first Olympics where transgender athletes are allowed to compete without first having gender reassignment surgery.

Transgender athletes have been able to compete in the Olympics since 2004, but only after surgery and a minimum of two years of hormone therapy and being legally recognized as their changed gender.

The International Olympic Committee ruled in January that transgender male athletes are now eligible to compete in the male category without restriction.

However, transgender female athletes must declare their gender identity as female and show that their testosterone level is below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before competing. The testosterone level must remain below that level while competing, and athletes may need to undergo testing to verify that.

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