Last night I had dinner with Mr. Frans van Dijk of the Netherlands Olympic Committee. It was a very interesting and stimulating evening. They really have a detailed plan – the goal is to be in the top ten in the Olympic Games. This is a very lofty goal for a country of approximately 60 million people, but they have achieved that goal in Atlanta and Sydney, even though they fell short in Athens they continue to forge ahead with their plan. The conference where I am speaking, is a key part of their plan to get all the coaches on the same page. They are adding sports and have a multi tiered process to bring them up to the standard of top eight in the world. If a team or athlete is not in the top eight they will not be chosen to go to the Olympics. That is a tough standard, but unlike other small countries I have observed, they set a tough standard and do EVERYTNIG to help the teams and individuals to reach that standard. It is very apparent that this program is athlete centered, coach driven and administratively supported. The attitude is that it is not about facilities, it is about coaching. That was music to my ears
As an aside one topic discussed was China. Frans and several others had just visited and their observation was that China could dominate, because of the emphasis they are putting on medal production.