Will USA Track & Field back up the bold prediction of its new executive director and win 30 medals?

 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports

“Project 30″ sounds cool and purposeful, right? Certainly more so than, say, “Project 24″ or “Project 27.”

That was the name chosen for a report issued by the U.S. track and field federation after a disappointing 23-medals performance in the 2008 Games. The figure represented the medals goal for London established by CEO Doug Logan and colleagues. Soon after its release, Logan was fired for reasons other than excessive optimism.

His replacement, Max Siegel, vaguely portrays the number as a “reach goal.” Sounds like, “In our wildest dreams.” Tamping down expectations might be the wise course, though the U.S. could approach 30. After all, two dropped batons in relays that wiped out medal chances in Beijing surely will not be repeated. And the total of 23 is usually surpassed by the American team.

So, consider 24 as the floor. Any amount above 27 would be heaven.

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