USA Track & Field aims for “Project 30,” but they’re not the only ones

LOS ANGELES, Jul. 24, 2011 – One of the legacies of the tenure of former USA Track & Field chief executive Doug Logan was his “Project 30″ program to make the United States the runaway medal leader at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Logan’s goal was for the U.S. team to win 30 track & field medals in London, more than the Americans have won since 1992 in Barcelona. The project is ongoing, but it isn’t going to be easy. The current Track & Field News formchart suggests 25 U.S. medals in the 2011 World Championships: 14 for the men and 11 for the women.

But if you want to see another “Project 30″ in action, check out the U.S. swim team, in action this week at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, China. Check out their medal-winning resume from 2000 on:

• 2000 Olympic Games: 33, ahead of Australia (18) and Netherlands (8).

• 2001 World Champs: 26, ahead of Australia (19) and Germany (15);
• 2003 World Champs: 28, ahead of Australia (22) and Great Britain and Germany (8);
• 2004 Olympic Games: 28, ahead of Australia (15) and Japan (8).

• 2005 World Champs: 32, ahead of Australia (22) and Japan (9);
• 2007 World Champs: 36, ahead of Australia (21) and Japan (7);
• 2008 Olympic Games: 31, ahead of Australia (20) and three with six.

• 2009 World Champs: 22, ahead of Australia (16) and China (10).

By contrast, the American track & field medal performance hasn’t been quite as strong:

• 2000 Olympic Games: 16, ahead of Russia (13) and Ethiopia (8).

• 2001 World Champs: 13 (after losing seven medals to doping), behind Russia (18, lost one medal to doping) and ahead of Kenya (8);
• 2003 World Champs: 16 (after losing two medals to doping), behind Russia (19) and ahead of France (8)
• 2004 Olympic Games: 25, ahead of Russia (20) and Kenya and Ethiopia (7).

• 2005 World Champs: 25, ahead of Russia (20) and Ethiopia (9);
• 2007 World Champs: 26, ahead of Russia (14) and Kenya (13)
• 2008 Olympic Games: 23, ahead of Russia (18) and Kenya (14).

• 2009 World Champs: 22, ahead of Russia and Jamaica (13).

Who comes out better? That’s yet to be seen, but the contrast between the swimming and track squads couldn’t be bigger . . . because of the way they were selected:

• USA Swimming selected its team back in January, based on performances in the 2010 nationals and 2010 Pan Pacific Championships, both held almost a year ago in August. No trials.

• USA Track & Field selected its team in the usual cutthroat style: the top three finishers at the U.S. Nationals in June, about 10 weeks before the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea beginning August 27.

But for 2012, the swimmers will again go through the crucible of an Olympic Trials, once again in Omaha, Nebraska from June 25-July 2, just three weeks prior to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.

While the Americans and Chinese will battle it out for medal supremacy in London, the U.S. swimming and track teams will be racing to see whose “Project 30″ actually comes to pass.

(You can stay current with Rich’s technology, sports and Olympic commentaries by following him at www.twitter.com/RichPerelman.)

2 Comments

  1. All countries in the world participate in track and field. Less than half participate in swimming. Proportionate to the number of participants, I venture that the US is actually doing relatively better in track and field.

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