Why we all lose in the 2012 funding lottery
Having scaled the heights in Beijing on the back of lavish public funding, Britain's finest have an additional £39m to spend on their preparations and home advantage to exploit.
So why am I disappointed? Let me number the ways.
First, £304m over four years is very generous, particularly in the current climate, but it's not nearly as generous as the £354m that was promised by our Prime Minister in his final budget as Chancellor, when the economic going was considerably better.
Second, those Olympic and Paralympic competitors are likely to be missing a hundred or so team-mates from sports that have just seen their funding slashed.
Third, the vast majority of those "missing" competitors have done everything asked of them and deserve better than the shabby treatment they were given when UK Sport, the agency that funds elite sport, announced its spending plans for 2012.
And finally, while I enjoy watching Britons winning things on the world stage as much as the next bloke draped in red, white and blue, there is more at stake for us in London than just medals.
So how did we get to a situation that sees most of Team GB looking forward to new kit, great coaches and warm-weather training, but a sizeable minority regretting swapping those tracksuits at the last European championships and wondering if it's possible to become a world-class athlete in your lunch hour?
In the immediate fallout of Wednesday's announcement, the temptation for those who found themselves "below the line" will be to blame UK Sport.
But holding the funding agency responsible for their straitened circumstances is a bit like blaming a shark for biting a surfer. You can quibble with why it was your leg that got bit but you cannot get too shirty with a fish doing what it is designed to do.
UK Sport has always said it pursues a "no compromise" approach to funding: now we know it means it. You take £50m from its budget at your peril.
Faced with an annual shortfall of 14%, UK Sport did not do the mealy-mouthed thing and knock a sixth off everybody's allocation. No, it stuck to its principles and moved the bar up until enough sports were below it - and therefore not worth funding - to make good its revised budget.
Hard on those below the line? Absolutely, it's almost brutal.
Where do the likes of handball and volleyball - two programmes that started from scratch after London won the right to host the Games - go from here? Not back to their overseas training camps, they can't afford them anymore.
What about an emerging sport like table tennis? Its boss told me a funding cut would signal the end of Britain's international ambitions in the sport. At least he won't have to worry about his carbon footprint anymore.
And how do traditional Olympic sports like fencing and shooting recover from what is likely to be at least a few years in mothballs? Our best young fencers already work part-time at B&Q and our shooters will struggle to find the £3,000 they need for ammunition every year.
These sports, and seven others from the Olympic and Paralympic families, have £11.5m to share over the next four years.
But the UK Sport way is accountable and transparent. It also works, as our best performance at an Olympics in a century would suggest.
But the game is different when you're at home. Having been given this unique opportunity, we should be trying to do more than win as many golds as possible.
I have every confidence in cycling, rowing and sailing maintaining their sides of the bargain by delivering a lorry load of medals in London. I'm not sure we can actually win more medals in the velodrome without prompting the French to change the rules but we can probably use that £27m to win more medals on the road, at the BMX track and in the mountains of Essex. I also think athletics will do much better than it did in Beijing, despite seeing 5% snipped from its budget, and swimming will go from strength to strength.
But can we think about what happens after the five-ringed circus leaves town? Can we contemplate making good on our promise to change the sporting landscape forever? Can we properly cost a plan to get our bored and increasingly obese youngsters off the sofa and back into sport?
None of that is UK Sport's job and it should never have been placed in this emperor-at-the-coliseum position. It just isn't cut out for that kind of thing.
It is also not built for fundraising. But that is exactly what it was asked to do when Gordon Brown said the following in March 2006:
"We will invest now in our 2012 Olympic champions. For training and facilities for world-class athletes of the future, I can announce £200 million of public money to be matched by raising £100 million in sponsorship, and, with another £300 million from the lottery, over £600 million will be available in total as world-class funding for world-class athletes in our country."
He "announced" it, so it's got to happen, right? Apparently not, because while it was nice of him to give our athletes £100m of somebody else's money (and yes, I know, strictly speaking, it's all somebody else's money) he and his advisors failed to grasp a golden rule of sponsorship: the sponsors want something in return.
For most of the last two and a half years almost nothing was done to find the cash. It was only when UK Sport started making nervous noises about the hole in its budget that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) called in the cavalry in the shape of sports marketing firm Fast Track.
Six months later and they are no nearer the £100m but they do at least have a neat tagline for this Grail-like quest, "Medal Hopes". Still haven't got anything tangible to sell, though, not that anybody would be buying at the moment, what with the economy going south. As plans go, it's up there with Baldrick's finest.
Oh, and to make matters worse, UK Sport has just been given this hospital pass one more time - DCMS has cleaned its hands of Medal Hopes and told UK Sport to get back out there with the collection bucket.
It should never have come to this. A modest sum of public money should have been set aside in 2006 for Team GB's "development" sports. That money should have been ring-fenced to get those sports to London. They should also have been encouraged to pool resources and given practical advice on how to raise additional funds themselves.
Giving them access to UK Sport money only to then expose them to UK Sport logic when the money became tight was cruel. It has also possibly caused more damage to their long-term prospects than if they had just been left alone - what leading international coach will believe their promises next time they come calling with offers of four-year contracts?
The best that can be said of Government's involvement in this mess is it had the decency to feel ashamed enough of breaking its word to squeeze an extra £21m out of the lottery and find £29m down the back of the Treasury's sofas. Basketball and hockey should feel especially grateful as it was the £29m that lifted them over the "no compromise" bar.
In some ways the real culprit here is not too much politics, it's not enough politics.
What this smacks of is complacency and an arrogant belief the corporate sector will come to the rescue because the corporate sector likes sport, doesn't it?
But what do we expect when sport's voice at Government's top table is a junior partner in the easiest-to-ignore department?
Bodge jobs, broken promises and missed opportunities will be British sport's lot until we as a society take it - and its potential - more seriously. And that means a sports minister, in the cabinet, with access to health, community and development budgets.
If we are going to take on billion-pound projects like the Olympics we should stop trying to do them on the cheap.