In the past there was this thought that we need to justify that we have this, so everybody has to use it. I think that we have looked at it and said no more cookie cutter, no more assembly line.

We had proved that increased funding, increased support and a higher degree of planning can have an impact on the field of play. We didn't want to lose sight of that and just rest on our laurels. We wanted to put what we learned into practice for 2006 immediately.

Who can argue with the results that you're seeing from these athletes?

From our standpoint, it pays to diversify. If there is one sport that is down, the other ones can pick it up. We don't live and die off of one or two sports. There are so many wild cards, injuries, crashes. We don't put pressure on one particular athlete to come through.

We at the USOC, along with our national governing bodies, their coaches and their athletes, have a goal in mind of being the best in the world. That doesn't necessarily come with a solid, quantifiable number.

They want to be a sports superpower. That led to their pursuit of the Olympics. But they understand that to be a superpower, they have to do well in both winter and summer.

In our country there is that freedom of choice that's ingrained in people who want to have the opportunity to be able to select what's the very best for them.

They are very selective about what they devote their energy and their resources to. They seem to be wary of spreading themselves too thin.

One of the things you need to be very cautious of is to be dependent on emerging elite athletes coming from other sports because if all of a sudden that dries up, you do want to control your own destiny.