Interesting commentary on the Dutch speed-skating programme:
In terms of the US and orienteering, geography is our biggest challenge. A thought: what if we tried to build our elite program on both a breadth level and a depth level. This is a rehash of ideas from many others.
1) Breadth: having regional training, introductory clinics around the country, and mechanisms to engage enthusiastic youth. Ideally we have a sufficient density of quality maps around the country (even 2-3 sq km) so that if you're a youth in Podunk Junctionville living in the vicinity of a club, you can get on maps and get training. Ideally, every interested youth would be able to interface with a coach on some level - for instance, the regional coaching that Boris and Becky do. A 10-14 year old might only need a few conversations with a coach every year and enthusiastic participation in a club's events to advance.
2) Depth: build 1-3 locations in the country where we can develop elites at the highest level. New England is one spot due to its density of universities, clubs, maps, and events. A dedicated training group of 20-30 high school and college level athletes could dramatically advance our fortunes, and there are jobs in Boston and New York that might enable promising orienteers to keep training into their 20s. DC, BAOC, and Seattle (despite meh terrain) are also interesting possibilities. That way, if you're a Kempster-esque young person thinking about college, you can know that there is a place where you can pursue competitive orienteering and get a good education in the States. Ideally, such a center would have staff - a coach or two, a few support people to help with transportation - and some money for transportation, food, etc. One full-time-equivalent salary could be adequate - pay someone like GSwede 1/2 time or 3/4 time to organize programming (possibly while also training the JWOC team), pay someone to help drive to events, and give the kids a small stipend to maximize participation in the program, help with food, equipment, and travel. A dedicated college student could easily spend $2000 on equipment, entry fees meets, and food just going to regional events.