Who wants to compete for a millionaire?
Imagine going through your post to discover a letter from a wealthy stranger offering you thousands of pounds, for no return, to help your career.
No catches, he writes. Just be a good role model and don't take anything illegal. Let him know what you want and, if he thinks it's a reasonable demand, it's yours.
You would need time to digest this, and you would certainly have questions. Who is he? Why choose me? What does he want back from me?
Those were the questions 15 top British athletes posed themselves when insurance entrepreneur Barrie Wells got in touch. One said it felt like "a fairytale-type scam" as her eyes glanced down the letter.
But now, her doubts brushed aside, she is "his" athlete, topping up her standard funding with up to £8,000 from his wallet each year.
Who has Wells chosen, why did he choose them, and how has one man become an Olympic cash machine for our stars?
Wells with one of the London 2012 prospects he chose to fund, 16-year-old heptathlete Katarina Thompson
This is an odd arrangement. UK Sport, the government agency which distributes sports funding, is unaware of anyone else privately backing athletes to anything like the same extent. Wells, who made his money in commercial insurance, expects to commit some £2m in total, funding both elite athletes and a charitable foundation.
UK Sport has a Team 2012 initiative encouraging individuals to donate in this way, but it has barely launched - and Wells turned down the chance to join it. Instead, he wants to go it alone and says his motivation is "being part of the journey".
"I was wondering what to do with my cash," he tells me. "Then, when I was in Beijing for the Olympics, it struck me: why don't I do something for sport, which is what I really enjoy?
"I'm a football fanatic - I'm a Liverpool supporter, I go to every home game and all the away European games - but football has enough money in it. I was interested in Olympic sports, the top one being track and field, then swimming, and also cycling."
Wells came back from China and approached the relevant British governing bodies. As you can imagine, they didn't lose much time getting back to him. "British Swimming rang me up, flew to meet me, and said 'we want our share'. They were committed from the start, so a third of my 15 athletes are swimmers," he says. "Cycling, on the other hand, didn't need the money because it was that well-run."
Wells picked a few more sports, based on no more complex a rationale than "the ones I'd be prepared to travel anywhere in the world to watch", and assembled his squad of 15.
Top of his list is Jess Ennis, the world champion heptathlete. Wells has apparently fought off the attentions of Usain Bolt to woo the 23-year-old and install her as patron of his new foundation. She is joined by top swimmers like Liam Tancock, a number of runners, two modern pentathletes and several triathletes. Wells is funding one of British Triathlon's performance programmes in its entirety, down to the house the athletes live in.
Some might argue Ennis is not the best choice for this additional funding. While she says Wells paid for her physio to travel to the World Championships, she can expect to earn far more in terms of sponsorship than many colleagues. But other beneficiaries, like 19-year-old pentathlete Freyja Prentice, are already allocating every penny.
"Pentathlon is a very expensive sport - fencing blades cost up to £100 a time and they break quite regularly - but I'm trying to put it into my swimming, which I need to work on," she says. "I've been looking at doing underwater filming and going to training camps in Hungary, which would help my fencing improve.
"You can get certain things from the governing body but the funding I get from UK Sport just covers general living. Barrie's extra money takes away the stress and pressure of worrying about the money side of things."
Again, you might suggest modern pentathlon is hardly the world's most inclusive pastime, and may not be the most deserving sport out there. So how did Wells select his athletes?
Freyja Prentice wants to use Wells' cash to improve her swimming
"I told the governing bodies I only wanted reliable role models. They gave me names and I looked at their track record, then talked to the governing body about their relationships, both with their parents and their coaches.
"I interviewed every one and asked how the money would make a difference, and it was also how they engaged with me. I told them, 'I'd expect you to text me if you break a record, I'd expect you to come back and tell me about it.' I want to be part of their journey right up until 2012."
Can that be all Wells wants, though? Whatever your thoughts on altruism, even the least cynical among us have to ask what a millionaire throwing money at top athletes, with a PR team in tow, is hoping to get out of the exercise. Where's the profit? What must the chosen few do in return?
"There are no targets at all for the athletes," he insists. "I don't want to judge on targets. The only rule is if they get bad publicity, or start not training or there is any drug abuse, I drop them right away.
"And this is of no value to me commercially. I'm not doing anything commercial any more, I'm concentrating on this. I want the publicity to attract grass-roots clubs and schools to apply to my foundation for grants. If clubs feel they are needy they can apply for funding."
He is adamant all he wants is access to athletes who might come good at London 2012. He wants the odd call during a world championship, a text when they get a medal, and a few publicity appearances a year at clubs his foundation helps.
Katarina Thompson, a 16-year-old heptathlete, is funded to the tune of £6,000 a year by Wells. As a fellow Liverpool fan, he took her to Anfield as a reward when she won world youth gold in Italy.
One of the youngest to be selected, she sounds giddy as she says: "We've written down a list of what we need - gym membership, accommodation, and travel, because my mum doesn't drive so we have to go on public transport a lot.
"He writes a cheque and says, 'Here you go, pay for your gym membership, or this and that,' and the money's there for us to use.
"I want to take him on the journey. He doesn't want to hand over the money then ignore us - I want to make him as involved as he wants, and use all this money to get good results for him."
Barrie Wells' elite team in full: Hannah Miley, Liam Tancock, Caitlin McClatchey, Lizzie Simmonds and Anne Bochmann (swimming); Sam Weale and Freyja Prentice (modern pentathlon); Jessica Ennis and Katarina Thompson (heptathlon); Michael Rimmer, Stephanie Twell and Jodie Williams (running); Adam Bowden, Charlotte Roach and Katie Ingram (triathlon).
Do you agree with his choices - and, for that matter, with the principle of what he's doing? If you were in his position, who would you pick to fund?