Fund of goodwill: Have all 29 sports paid their way at London 2012?

These have, by common consent, been the greatest Games. But hard decisions need to be taken if the momentum gained by British sport over the past fortnight is to last longer than a politician's promise. Elite sport is an unforgiving environment which obeys the laws of natural selection. Only the strongest, leanest and most agile survive – and thrive. Weaker sports should have their funding for Rio 2016 cut, even if they have swimming's political clout. Savings should underpin more substantial investments in breakthrough sports and beacons of excellence such as cycling. Here is Michael Calvin's guide to London's winners and losers

Archery

Funding: £4,408,000

Archers are lovely people for a country fair. Elite athletes they are not. They had an iconic venue in Lord's but when pressure was applied, they cracked. It didn't seem to bother them, unduly. Back to the world of morris men and pints of ShagNasty.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Basketball

Funding: £8,599,000

Didn't make the most of the free shot of being hosts. The women were outclassed; the men's solitary win, a 90-58 thrashing of China, hinted at unrealised potential. Basketball might be worth persevering with. NBA star Luol Deng speaks to urban youth. Use him or lose the money.

Value for money: ££

Verdict: PROTECT

Diving

Funding: £6,535,700

Team Tom was a great marketing platform but, as a one-man sport, diving belly-flopped. Britain needs to look beyond the Bieberesque cult of Tom Daley, whose failure in the men's synchro with Peter Waterfield exposed the shallowness of talent in an over-funded squad.

Value for money: ££

Verdict: CUT

Fencing

Funding: £2,529,335

Like many small sports, fencing is plagued by petty jealousies and vested interests. Performance director Alex Newton, parachuted in before the Games, deserves another Olympic cycle to implement far-reaching change. A new team needs to be created around such emerging talents as James Davis in the foil.

Value for money: £££

Verdict: PROTECT

Athletics

Funding: £25,148,000

A work in progress. Our finest hour, forever linking Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah, allows coach Charles van Commenee to complete his culture change. The failure of maverick Phillips Idowu is good news for a sport in thrall to the iconoclast.

Value for money: ££££

Verdict: PROTECT

Boxing

Funding: £9,551,400

Order is imposed on chaos with a natural leader in coach Rob McCracken, and a political street fighter in Richard Caborn. Huge scientific and medical advances, the integration of poster girls such as Nicola Adams, and a post-war record for medals.

Value for money: £££££

Verdict: REWARD

Equestrian

Funding: £13,395,100

It's doubtful Seb Coe meant to inspire a generation of dancing dressage horses, but the Barbour set were the surprise stars. This is the first time medals have been won in all three disciplines. A few brain fades aside – Nick Skelton, Tina Cook or Mary King could have won medals – the riders were exceptional.

Value for money: £££££

Verdict: REWARD

Gymnastics

Funding: £10,770,600

A breakthrough Games, the best for a century. Beth Tweddle was rewarded for a decade's dedication and Louis Smith was hugely impressive. Participation will boom. One problem: bigger sports are eyeing up performance director Tim Jones.

Value for money: £££££

Verdict: REWARD

Badminton

Funding: £7,434,900

Team GB couldn't win, even in a tournament tainted by teams trying to lose. Poor selection decisions, most notably involving doubles pair Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier, placed inordinate faith in mentally weak players who complained that Wembley Arena was too warm. The Games will haunt the sport for at least a generation.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Canoeing

Funding: £16,176,700

Ed McKeever sped to the rescue yesterday with his aquatic impression of Usain Bolt, or canoeing would have struggled to justify its budget. Perennial underdogs Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott took slalom gold to gloss over failures.

Value for money: £££

Verdict: PROTECT

Football

Funding: Official: £0;

unofficial £3bn

The Games were a great platform for womens' football, despite Hope Powell's home team flattering to deceive. By contrast, the unbalanced men's squad that was chosen by Stuart Pearce has to be one of the worst social experiments since they threw the switch on Frankenstein. Absolutely no chance of it being repeated in Rio.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Handball

Funding: £2,924,721

An instant sport – it didn't exist here before the Games. Our teams were predictably outclassed but the game, a cross between basketball, British bulldog and touch rugby, was riveting. Like a small lottery win, it was fun while it lasted.

Value for money: ££

Verdict: CUT

Hockey

Funding: £15,013,200

Team sports are, by their nature, expensive to sustain. The womens' squad won their first Olympic medal in 20 years, which was ideally timed proof that a programme which had been created from the chaos of bankuptcy and conflict, does have long-term potential. British hockey has earned the right to be taken seriously once again.

Value for money: £££

Verdict: PROTECT

Rowing

Funding: £27,287,600

If only everything in life was as reliable: all 13 boats reached finals. Intolerance of failure expains a consistently successful high performance system. The training would make a footballer whimper, but the Amateur Rowing Association is not suited to expanding the sport.

Value for money: £££££

Verdict: REWARD

Synchronised swimming

Funding: £3,398,300

Another part of swimming's empire that cannot hide the cracks. Team GB was an exercise in elegant futility, though Jenna Randall has poster girl potential. Former ice skater Robin Cousins, who advised the swimmers on lifting techniques, raves about their potential, but who will listen?

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Tennis

Funding: £0 (elite); £24,500,000 (participation)

Winning gold may be pivotal for Andy Murray, and even jolt the All England Club out of its corporate torpor, but it won't help find another home-grown Wimbledon contender. A dysfunctional LTA, sustained by unearned income, should be denied any more public money.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Water polo

Funding: £2,928,039

A pub brawl staged in a swimming pool. The cartoon violence, largely conducted underwater, makes it a captivating spectacle, but it cannot hide Britain's irrelevance on the world stage. The amateurs, recruited in hope rather than expectation, gave their all, but it was nowhere enough to justify further investment.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Judo

Funding: £7,498,000

Moderately successful, despite a lack of coherent leadership after the unnecessary departure of performance director Margaret Hicks. It was in meltdown before Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant won medals. Major change is needed at the top of a politically febrile sport.

Value for money: £££

Verdict: PROTECT

Sailing

Funding: £22,942,700

The winds in Weymouth were capricious, but Britain's sailors were consistent. They exceeded their target by producing four silvers and the gold which confirmed Ben Ainslie as the sport's greatest Olympian. The form of two new 470 crews bodes well for Rio.

Value for money: ££££

Verdict: PROTECT

Table tennis

Funding: £1,213,848

Ping pong came home, to borrow Boris Johnson's immortal line. A shame no one noticed. Invented on dining tables of 19th century England, it will return to its usual obscurity. Funding was, in relative terms, a pittance and ultimately a bit pointless.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Triathlon

Funding: £5,291,300

The Brownlee brothers, the first Britons to win triathlon medals, are more than ambassadors for the People's Republic of Yorkshire. They will galvanise Britain's fastest growing sport. Whether risking cardiac arrest in budgie smugglers and inappropriate lycra is a good thing is another matter.

Value for money: £££££

Verdict: REWARD

Weightlifting

Funding: £1,365,157

Bubbly Zoe Smith is a godsend for a sport desperate to reinvent itself. But like her less marketable team-mates, she is too far off the global pace. Weightlifting will return to the shadows, and its culture of dubious narcissism will be sustained.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Modern pentathlon

Funding: £6,288,800

A big day today for the quiet achievers. World champion Mihari Spence and Samantha Murray must keep up the record of a medal at every Games since Sydney. Jan Bartu's programme has familiar virtues despite the changes.

Value for money: £££

Verdict: PROTECT

Shooting

Funding: £2,461,866

The reality check of having funding slashed after Beijing has worked. Peter Wilson's gold will probably prevent him having to relocate permanently to Dubai, but shooting cannot afford to relapse. The elite side of a notoriously insular sport must continue to be shaped by a non-shooter, strength and conditioning specialist Tim Newenham.

Value for money: £££

Verdict: PROTECT

Taekwondo

Funding: £4,833,600

The fall-out, had Lutalo Muhammad not won bronze as a lucky loser, would have been huge. Gold medallist Jade Jones, a new breed of female athlete, will help to ease an uncomfortable inquest into the exclusion of world No 1 Aaron Cook.

Value for money: £££

Verdict: PROTECT

Volleyball

Funding: £3,536,077

In theory, there's a feelgood film in the GB womens' volleyball team: think Calendar Girls meets Dodgeball. But it is unlikely to have the requisite happy ending. They've made huge financial sacrifices, surviving on sponsored cycle rides and training sessions with the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. A first-ever Olympic win was admirable but they will have to keep relying on handouts.

Value for money: ££

Verdict: CUT

Wrestling

Funding: £1,435,210

You couldn't make it up. A tacky soap opera of mysterious marriages, drug scandals and a final scene with a solitary "Brit", Ukrainian-born Olga Butkevych, being knocked out in the first round destroyed the sport's Olympic credibility.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

Cycling

Funding: £26,032,000

Dave Brailsford is an inspirational leader but the entire athlete pathway is lined with gold. Cycling's talent development programme produces ambitious, intelligent and resilient riders, whose potential is maximised by coaches who cross-pollinate ideas across disciplines. Progress is underpinned by a brutal honesty, and the courage to look beyond sport for new ideas. Simply the best.

Value for money: £££££

Verdict: REWARD

Swimming

Funding: £25,144,600

Swimming made the Capello mistake, giving performance director Michael Scott a new four-year contract before he proved himself at the Games. Absent in his native Australia at times in the build-up, he cannot avoid responsibility for swimmers' complacency and mental weakness. Team morale plunged when chief executive David Sparkes blamed coaches and support staff. The buck should stop with him.

Value for money: £

Verdict: CUT

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