clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Olympic Team: What Is The Measure Of Success?

As the Olympics draw near, the time to judge the work of Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski also draws near. The first question: is a gold medal the only measure of success? The impulsive answer is yes, that nothing but gold will do. Given the tradition of American dominance and the desire to dominate again, it seems like a fair answer. But there's another way to judge, and even gold in Beijing won't fully answer the question: has the culture changed? is the U.S. building a program or trying to win a tournament?

If the U.S. plays as they played in Athens, under Larry Brown's leadership, or as they played in Indianapolis under George Karl's, either in Beijing or the 2012 games, then the culture has not significantly changed.

If, however, there is a renewal of team play, and an intelligent adaptation to international play, and an emphasis on strengths the U.S. has which no one else can answer (athleticism and a potentially extraordinary defense), then the U.S. will be highly competitive for the foreseeable future.

In other words, what Colangelo and Krzyzewski are doing is building the foundation of a program. Everyone wants gold. But gold now and bronze in four years will mean the approach failed (and needless to say, bronze/bronze would as well).