It sounds like you’re talking about Planet Fitness where the point free weights are DBs and they’ll kick you out for droppinf weights or grunting.
They market the shit out of their “Judgement Free Zone” while serving pizza and bagels to their members. If you work hard then you’re too hard core for them. You’ll intimidate the fatties walking on the treadmill.
Home to some of the best - correct. It’s tough to determine the other part of your statement. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the US has the most professional athletes per capita. But that’s because we probably have more sports here.
I think smaller communities might be a better environment to develop elite athletes. I grew up in a small town and it was a big deal when we won the state championship in basketball. The whole town was excited. I can remember growing up and watching the basketball team almost win state. It definitely planted the seed and gave me a desire to achieve that. I think it was largely responsible for my team’s success.
I now live in a city that’s about 20% bigger than Iceland and it’s a different atmosphere. No one cares if one of the local schools is winning (we have at least 10 high schools in town). It doesn’t have a trickle down effect.
If you changed those State Champs to Olympic Champs then you have a buzz about things and people take notice. Little kids want to be like the local champ so they start training early and actually pursue it. That creates more elite athletes and the cycle continues.