by Bob Bowman
I'm sure the leadership of USATF is quite happy with the
team performance in London. 29 medals is a good performance
when compared to recent global performances. But just how
good is the 29 (15 Men, 14 Women) medal performance? If we
go back just 20 years to Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics, we
find that the U.S. Men won 20 medals (5 more than in 2012), and
the women won 10 with 4 fewer events no TJ, PV, HT or Steeple)
for a total of 30 medals.
In looking at the medal production by event we see the U.S. doing
extremely well in traditionally strong U.S. events (sprints, hurdles
& jumps), with few medals in the traditionally weak events (distances
& throws). In London, U.S. gained only one medal in the 11 distance
events (including the 3 walks) and only one medal in the 8 throwing
events. Clearly a strategic development program aimed at improving
the status of these traditionally weak events is needed. Such a program
would likely result in a total medal count around 40. This should be the
real USATF development goal, not 30.
Thirty medals is zero improvement in the last 20 years.