Date: August 11 2012
Australia's performance at the London Olympics, the worst result in 20 years, has cost taxpayers more than $10 million for each medal won.
Fairfax has established that arch-rival Great Britain's home Olympic effort, which has far eclipsed Australia's in Sydney in 2000, cost significantly less at $7.5 million. Great Britain is set to finish third in the medal tally. Australia's total per medal was $10.6 million.
The figures do not take into account Olympic champion Steve Hooker's pole-vault final, held overnight. Britain and Australia also have medal hopes remaining this weekend in boxing and diving - Australia's Matthew Mitcham began diving as Hooker began his event.
The data reveals a record $310 million was spent on the Australian Olympic campaign. Swimming, with one gold medal in the women's 4x100 metres freestyle relay, took nearly $39 million of that, over four years. Swimmers won six gold medals in Beijing and seven in Athens.
Swimming's budget has almost doubled since 2009, specifically for these games. The last time Australia failed to win an individual swimming gold was at Montreal in 1976. Swimming Australia has ordered a thorough review.
The known athletics medals - Sally Pearson's thrilling hurdles' gold and Mitchell Watt's gutsy long jump silver - cost the most, at $15.5 million. Cycling gets the same amount of money as athletics at $31 million. The sport's five medals came in at $6.2 million each.
The figures also show that where taxpayers' money for marquee sports such as swimming, athletics, sailing and rowing have in some cases doubled in recent years, money for less visible sports has flatlined.
Volleyball, water polo and diving get around the same as they always have, despite all showing Olympic potential. The men's volleyball team failed to advance in the competition but this week beat Poland, considered the best team in the world.
Sports are classified in ''tiers'' and ''priorities'' by the Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian Sports Commission based on factors such as participation, governance, medal potential and ''cultural relevance''.
''We aim to be a tier one sport like basketball,'' says Australian Volleyball Federation operations manager Cheryl Bollard. ''But we don't have enough money to take it to that next level of bringing home medals.''
Volleyball is given $3 million a year which is not enough for it to compete in the sport's World League. Water polo is given the same but its women's team won a bronze medal. Diving gets even less at around $2 million a year; Gold Coast schoolgirl Brittany Broben, 16, won a silver medal in the women's 10-metre platform event.
As the Olympics draw to a close, Australia's Chef de Mission Nick Green says sailing's success and Sally Pearson's four-year plan following Beijing were two good case studies that Australian sport would be investigating ''as a matter of urgency''.
''What is sailing doing right?,'' he asked. ''What did Sally Pearson do? What can we learn from those stories?''
Yet for some the message is to stop clamouring for medals and start tempering unrealistic - and unhealthy - expectations.
Geelong Football Club president Colin Carter was on the Crawford report committee in 2009 which recommended more funding for grassroots sport.
''Gold is a pretty narrow measure and it leads to unrealistic expectation,'' he says.
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