GB's have-nots are broke but not broken
There's a lot of talk at the moment about rock bottoms. I don't mean the Suzi Quatro in leather or anything by Limp Bizkit type of rock bottom - I mean the "is this rock bottom for house prices/consumer confidence/Southend United's season?" variety.
I think it would be safer to assume the answer is no to all of the above, particularly the latter, no matter how much we want the answer to be otherwise, particularly the latter.
But there is a group of Brits that can stop worrying about how bad it is going to get and start thinking about how it will be better tomorrow and the day after.
Because last Thursday's confirmation that eight Olympic sports would have to make do with only a third to a quarter of what they hoped to spend pre-London 2012 was rock bottom. The uncertainty is over. Now they must get on with the job or go home, literally for many of them.
Having been told in early December that there isn't enough money in Team GB's kitty for everybody, the likes of handball and water polo have finally learned just how much money there is for them to spend on fripperies like away matches, kit and decent coaches.
The news, when it came, hit hard. And that was with nearly two months to prepare for it.
One performance director told me he wanted to cry when he heard his allocation, another was said to be lying down in a dark room after hearing hers. But my favourite response came when I asked one what he would do next: he said he was going to the pub - it was four in the afternoon.
But we all deal with setbacks differently. I like to lie down in dark pubs and cry.
What was more interesting was how each sport - and different people within each sport - reacted to the initial shock of being told Christmas has been cancelled and you might have to rethink your summer plans for 2012 too.
Some of the damned, unable to comprehend why their medal chances were considered to be smaller than (let's say) basketball's, hit out at the saved. Some froze, paralysed by the unfairness of it all.
But others were spurred into action. British Handball's chiefs, for example, toured north Europe's handball hotspots looking for homes for their soon-to-be homeless Olympic wannabes.
It is to their credit that they have largely pulled it off. The women's squad move en masse from the Danish academy in Aarhus to a new, Norwegian abode in Asker, and half a dozen from the men's squad are Bundesliga-bound, with high hopes that more will follow.
But even amongst the proactive, there was still that most false of friends, hope, ahead of last week's announcement.
The anxious eight knew there was only £11.2m left in the budget after athletics, cycling, rowing, sailing and swimming took a combined £130m - and they knew they were going to have to share those scraps with four Paralympic sports - but until they heard for sure, some harboured hopes of a haircut, albeit a severe one, as opposed to a scalping.
But 12 into 11.2 doesn't go, particularly when three of those four Paralympic sports got themselves worried for no reason - they were getting big increases on their Beijing allocations, and the fourth was getting away with just a trim.
So there was anger from shooting, a recent medal-winner which saw its budget cut by nearly £4m, dismay from volleyball, which will now have to fund the beach and indoor teams on about 30% of what they've had since 2006, and resignation from wrestling, a sport so underground it should really be fashionable.
These emotions were shared, to varying degrees, by fencing, handball, table tennis, water polo and weightlifting, the other sports deemed by UK Sport, the funding agency, to be shots too long for backing in these straitened times.
But the key questions for these sports now is not "what happened?" or "why us?"
The missing £100m of private-sector cash that caused this crunch is not suddenly going to arrive - the usual suspects have been asked and they're all battening down the hatches - and UK Sport has made its "no compromise" call with characteristic firmness.
But each of those eight sports can still get their most talented athletes to London if they start asking the right questions.
Each of them needs to ask themselves about the size of their programmes. Shooting has already signalled it will reduce its pool of athletes from a staggering 46 to a more credible 10. It could, and probably will, concentrate that money even further.
Water polo, on the other hand, has said it would drop its men's team if it got less than £2.5m. Well, it got much less than that but must think long and hard before it pulls the plug on the two dozen players and coaches who have given up jobs, degree courses and relationships to move to the sport's Manchester base.
Perhaps the first question the sports need to answer is how they would like to receive their reduced rations: two lumps or four?
UK Sport, mindful of the need to "stay in the race", has offered to frontload the cash in two payments, the last coming in 2010, as opposed to spreading it over four years. It's a risk, of course, they could be left with nothing 18 months out from the Games, but it's a roll of the dice they should take. This recession can't last forever, can it?
But the sports should also be looking at sharing costs for admin, equipment, travel and so on. There are synergies to be had and they should not really impact on performance.
Savings could also be made within the sports. English table tennis, for example, was recently given £9.3m to invest in grassroots projects. Might some of this money also help the elite too?
And some fund-raising would not go amiss. Locog, London 2012's organising committee, has pledged to help pass the bucket around, as has the British Olympic Association. But the sports themselves can do more and there are encouraging signs that some have started.
Locog's promise of help is particularly promising. It is also a no-brainer as the sports and London 2012 want the same thing: British teams competing in every event.
A volleyball tournament without a GB presence would be a less well attended, less vibrant event. That's something the international federations would be keen to avoid too, so I would think about tapping them up for assistance as well.
And there is one other revenue stream that was mentioned in the small print of last week's press release, £1.8m of "realigned" money from the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, a pot of cash intended to support developing talent still in education.
That scheme is operated by SportsAid, a charity with expertise in fund-raising and a track record in backing talent. The sports should cosy up to them.
So the message is that the eight sports with reduced funding packages have options. Their situation is difficult but not impossible. And who knows, some of the money given to other sports could be reallocated. The UK Sport system does allow for that.
I have already blogged about the rights and wrongs of bidding for something as expensive as an Olympics and then penny-pinching on the important stuff, like what happens afterwards, so I won't spin that record again.
We are where we are: £257m of public money has been allocated to 27 different sports and that is £22m more than those sports had to spend in the build-up to Beijing. And we didn't do so badly there. We can, and should, do just as well on our own patch.
How well Britain does in Olympics to come will depend on how much bang we get for our bucks over the next few years. Medals from each of the anxious eight in 2016 would be a great return on investment.