Britain has gone from 1 gold in 1996 to 19 in 2008 by this method - ruthless, scientific - it can't be gainsaid - but there is a clear tension with a broader sport for all mentality within that.
The truth is, in our modern political word - continued funding has to be continually defended - and the best way to defend it is international success, with a compelling narrative. Can you imagine trying to slash rowing funding, and betraying the legacy of Resgrave and Pinsent - Can you imagine crushing cycling funding in the era of Hoy, Wiggins, Cavendish etc - all our sports (save self funders like football and tennis) crave that success, and the financial stability that comes with them. But that requires sacrifices, and seriously scientific ruthless dedication.
And then along come these heart warming 'narrative heavy' RG girls with their little faces and their self funding, and maybe BG wasn't quite supple enough to evolve and attach itself to a different narrative.
Look at Basketball and Luol Deng - we probably have a*** squared chance of winning a medal, but the profile of the sport is raised on the back of Deng's stardom and wonderful story; and so we move heaven and earth to get team GB in, even though they too were not really 'up to standard'.
there's a fine balance to be maintained on the assymetric bars of statistic and narrative. BG ell off this time. Thank goodness for the mat (or safety net) provided by the appeal, no?
I think Ollie is quite right to smell something muscine here, and equally correct about why we can't locate the source. I think we maybe disagree on the why's and wherefores - Ollie suspects incompetence, i suspect arrogance followed by some sleight of hand, but the result is the same.
As to the Artistic guys being favoured, well, no surprise; higher profile sport, and genuine medal shots - in line with overall BOA 'ruthless' policy - I suspect your acrobatic and tumbling gymanasts share some gripes with Compound archers. 1m divers and other 'non-olympic' sports...
But legacy also needs green shoots on previously barren ground; hence the Handball guys (whom I appalud), the fencing politics (which I find confusing) and the wrestling debacle (which worries me) - in my completely subjective view the RG girls are a great advertisement for their sport, and they now have their 'narrative'.
Wildly out of context, has BBC ever given some consideration to the "World Games", or are they just too wild and woolly?