The United States of America are currently on top, and they are not in anyway doubting the possibility of their finishing top of the table at the end Rio Olympics, they are indeed a nation worthy to be used as example. But then, what really makes the United States different from Nigeria?
First, the United States have a plan for Sports development, and this has helped in ensuring that the right result is gotten. For positive result to be gotten in any sport, there has to be at least a four-year plan which continues even after the Olympics. In trying to do this, athletes are made to go through a training programme that would get the best out of them.
Another important thing for positive result to be gotten is availability of funds. This is so key and important that every activity that would ensure the realization of developing an athlete need to be financed. The backroom staff (coaches, dietitian, fitness trainers etc) all need to be hired, and this is achieved when funds are made available to finance it.
In fact, the United States Olympic Commitee (USOC) has a standard for rewarding Olympians. Gold medalists get US$25,000, Silver US$15,000, while a Bronze medalist gets US$10,000. Athletes who adorn the colour of the United States know ab initio what they are about to get before setting out on the mission. The USOC do not go about preaching patriotism to them on empty stomach, but adapts a policy of welfarism, which caters for the welfare of the athletes while representing the nation and thereafter.
More importantly, the right persons need to be at the helm of affairs for the appropriate result to be gotten. The recent speech made by the Minister of Sports of Nigeria concerning the camping of the U23 Super Eagles in Atlanta USA, is a clear indication that he (Minister) Solomon Dalung, has no idea about Sports, and should have no business managing Sports. An American Sports Minister will not make such unguarded speech about a team going to protect the interest of the nation.
It is also important to note that concentrating on individual sports is key, and this is one culture that is lacking in the Nigerian style of managing Sports, but the United States gives adequate attention to that. We give serious attention to a game like football that you would need 18-man list to win a gold, and give less attention to an individual Sport like Boxing, track and field, table tennis etc that you would need an individual and win a gold.
All sports need to be given adequate attention, if we must make headway.