Paula Radcliffe has labelled the decision to double the budget for the London 2012 opening and closing ceremonies as "frivolous" and suggested the money could have been better used elsewhere.
The Government yesterday announced that an extra £41million of public money is to be put into the ceremonies to go alongside cash from the London organising committee.
Radcliffe, 37, speaking after being selected as one of three marathon runners for Team GB for the Olympics next year, said there were better uses for the money.
She said: "I think it is a a little bit frivolous to throw a lot at it given the fact we are in a recession.
"The money could be thrown at other areas such as grass-roots sports.
"The Games are costing quite a bit as it is and it would be better off spent in ways which would give more back long term."
Radcliffe will be competing at her fifth consecutive Olympics in London next year but admitted she had yet to attend an opening ceremony for a Games.
"I've always been in team holding camps," she added.
Olympics minister Hugh Robertson described the extra funding as an investment to attract business and tourism to Britain when the eyes of the world were on London.