UK Athletics chief David Moorcroft admits the entire 2012 Olympics will be deemed a failure if Britain's track and field team does not achieve success.
Moorcroft says athletics must adapt to be successful
Moorcroft helped launch an initiative aiming to ensure Britons reach 50% of the track and field finals in 2012.
He told BBC Sport: "This is a call to arms, a challenge to go for it.
"We could stage the greatest Olympics ever, but unless the GB athletics team is successful, it would be seen as a failure. The responsibility is huge."
Moorcroft was speaking at the unveiling of the new "Power of 10" scheme, which will strive for Britain to have at least 10 athletes in every age group achieving times, distances or heights better than predefined targets.
It is hoped this will ultimately enable Britain to achieve its goal of having athletes in 50% of finals in 2012.
We've got to adapt our sport to the way the world is, not the way we wish it was
"We've got everybody in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and across the English regions on board," the UK Athletics chief executive said.
"Now it's time to see if they can get the clubs, cities and counties on board too.
"It requires everybody to think 'how do we get somebody above the threshold?' I think they will, and 2012 gives us the best incentive.
"Maybe youngsters now are looking for more immediate success than people were in my day.
"But we've got to adapt our sport to the way the world is, not the way we wish it was."
A website will allow athletes to see how they measure up against their rivals.
"Using web enables us to connect with the athletes. With this, they can immediately see where they stand," the former 5,000m world-record holder said.
"Hopefully the 2012 dream is something the kids will want to take on. The fact the Olympics will be in their back garden will mean they really want to go for it."