The New Zealand team returned from the Rio Olympics with a record medal tally, but some sports performed better than others. Andrew Alderson assesses who will be in and out of favour when next year’s funding decisions are revealed tomorrow.

Santa Claus will be cranking up his sleigh to deliver a pre-Christmas cash air drop on a selection of New Zealand sports, while others will need to accept their presentations up High Performance Sport New Zealand's chimney were less compelling. Regardless, the decisions will dictate how national sports organisations structure their programmes for the next one to four years.

The completion of the Games cycle comes with the quadrennial stock take to divvy up the winners from the losers, the blue chips from the red ink, and the lemonade from the lemons.

The country's haul of 18 medals is a record, so HPSNZ are due credit for making, in the majority of cases, a prudent core investment of $112.7 million in taxpayer funds. Fourteen medals was the target after securing 13 in London but, with the addition of golf and rugby sevens, 17 appeared realistic. They exceeded expectations.

The only medal table quibble was that the team couldn't match the six golds of London. Three of the four champions were in the same events and one, 49er sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, were 2012 silver medallists.

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That was countered by diversification. Kiwis earned medals from a record nine codes, compared to six in London, five in Beijing and four in Athens.

AQUATICS
Rio core spend*: $5.6 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 5.0%
Rio dividends: No medals
Cost per medal: N/A

Prospects: Time to exit this market after no medals in 20 years. Let Sport New Zealand invest in water safety campaigns and let the hungriest athletes and coaches, a la Duncan Laing and Danyon Loader in 1992 and 1996, earn the right to funding as other minor sports do. Too much expectation was built around multi world championship medallist Lauren Boyle, who missed the 800m freestyle final by one spot.

Funding recommendation: Sell
ATHLETICS
Rio core spend*: $8.3 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 7.4%
Rio dividends: 1 silver, 3 bronze
Cost per medal: $2.1 million

Prospects: Rio medallists Val Adams (32) and Nick Willis (33) proved they're still near the top of their disciplines, while bronzes to Tom Walsh (24) and Eliza McCartney (19) means athletics will remain at the forefront of the country's Olympic sporting ambitions. Look for 21-year-old Jacko Gill to challenge in shot put and 16-year-old Olivia McTaggart to join McCartney on the world pole vault stage. McTaggart is also coached by vaulting whiz Jeremy McColl. She was the top 16-year-old in the world this year, and third in the world youth rankings.

Funding recommendation: Buy
CANOEING
(sprint and slalom)

Rio core spend*: $5.6 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 5.0%
Rio dividends: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
Cost per medal: $1.87 million

Prospects: At 27, Lisa Carrington is presumably good for another campaign. Her ascension into the triple Olympic medallist ranks ensures she remains the face of the sport. However, a fifth for the women's K4 500m crew showed diversity in the ranks. Add an unexpected highlight with Luuka Jones' silver in the canoe slalom at her third Games. A 10th place Rio finish for Mike Dawson further showcased the country's whitewater depth. Expect to see more Kiwis out paddling this summer.

Funding recommendation: Buy
CYCLING
Rio core spend*: $17.5 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 15.5%
Rio dividends: 1 silver
Cost per medal: $17.5 million

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Prospects: With a solitary silver at Rio, Cycling New Zealand faced delivering a mea culpa at the funding debate. However, their failure to reach a four-medal quota (after BMX rider Sarah Walker's injury) is hedged by the investment in Cambridge's Avantidrome and the fact there is no lack of talent with seven top-eight placings. Yes, they need a trim, but those riders cannot be ignored. In All Blacks parlance, expect some form of Graham Henry-Richie McCaw 2007 perseverance policy.

Funding recommendation: Sell

EQUESTRIAN
Rio core spend*: $7.2 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 6.4%
Rio dividends: Four rails came between gold and nothing
Cost per medal: N/A

Prospects: Need a portion of their portfolio divested to reflect the result, although Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II were on the cusp of breaking a 32-year-old eventing team gold frontier when they entered the showjumping ring. Todd is 60, but the sport is still blessed with maturing talent, notably Clarke Johnstone, who finished the best of the Kiwis in sixth, Tim and Jonelle Price and Jock Paget. Veterans Blyth Tait and Andrew Nicholson could also return to prominence.

Funding recommendation: Sell
FOOTBALL
Rio core spend*: $3.5 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 3.1%
Rio dividends: No medal, but a 1-0 win over Colombia
Cost per medal: N/A

Prospects: The Football Ferns aim was to win gold, but wanted to park the bus at making the quarter-finals in the 12-team competition. One win from three games was not enough to progress, despite the side's experience.

Funding recommendation: Sell
GOLF
Rio core spend*: $395,000
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 0.4%
Rio dividends: 1 silver
Cost per medal: $395,000

Prospects: At 19, silver medallist Lydia Ko should only maintain her status and replicate or better her feat in four years. Ryan Fox and Danny Lee have time on their side, but expect an influx of golfers, fresh from avoiding the overblown Zika virus threat, to tee up in Tokyo. Coming from a fully professional sport, funding is only likely to cover the costs of qualifying New Zealand for the next Olympics.

Funding recommendation:Hold
GYM SPORTS
Rio core spend*: $50,000
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 0.04%
Rio dividends: No medals
Cost per medal: N/A

Prospects: Dylan Schmidt boinged to seventh on the trampoline as a 19-year-old at his maiden Games. Given New Zealand's dearth of gymnasts, he deserves a chance to prove he can keep a spring in his bounce.

Funding recommendation: Hold
HOCKEY
Rio core spend*: $8.5 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 7.5%
Rio dividends: The medal hunt extends to 44 years
Cost per medal: N/A

Prospects: The women matched their world ranking, not that that will alleviate the pain. They faced the same scenario as London. Win a play-off to collect bronze. They finished fourth. The men also had a shattering conclusion, leading Germany 2-0 with five minutes left, only to concede three goals, the last in the final second. They finished seventh and their world ranking was eighth. Again, that's minimal consolation. The core of both groups are young and experienced so expect investment to be maintained.

Funding recommendation: Hold
PARALYMPICS
Rio core spend*: $6.96 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 6.2%
Rio dividends: 9 gold, 5 silver, 7 bronze
Cost per medal: $331,429

Prospects: The Paralympic team again captured the nation's consciousness. Their 21-medal tally was second only to the 1984 Games as an overall haul. Nine golds equalled the record of 1996, justifying the media coverage and investment. The maturing movement appears to be increasingly supported and embraced by the general public every four years. Sophie Pascoe again led the way on an individual level with three gold and two silver medals in the pool. The 23-year-old overtook Eve Rimmer as the country's most decorated Paralympian.

Funding recommendation: Buy
ROWING
Rio core spend*: $19.8 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 17.6%
Rio dividends: 2 gold, 1 silver
Cost per medal: $6.6 million

Prospects: As difficult to read as a gusty Karapiro. The programme's funding levels are under threat after mercurial performances in Rio and an exodus of talent on 2017 sabbaticals. Four of the five medallists were on the podium in London and the medal haul slipped from five to three. Before HPSNZ reaches for the scythe, there are mitigating circumstances. The country's proportion of high performance athletes has grown exponentially this century and the coaching base has broadened beyond Dick Tonks. In addition, the focus for the fourth-placed women's and sixth-placed men's eights has always been on Tokyo. Rowing bosses will claim a lack of medals is the sacrifice for seeking long-term success in bigger boats.

Funding recommendation: Hold
RUGBY SEVENS
Rio core spend*: $8.5 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 7.5 %
Rio dividends: 1 silver
Cost per medal: $8.5 million

The results should hasten a decision on where sevens sits as a New Zealand Rugby and HPSNZ priority. Photo / photosport
The results should hasten a decision on where sevens sits as a New Zealand Rugby and HPSNZ priority. Photo / photosport

Prospects:

A candidate for New Zealand's biggest Rio disappointment. The women delivered silver, a creditable effort against dominant Australia; the men lost three of their first four games, including their quarter-final, which ended Sir Gordon Tietjens' 22-year coaching tenure. The results should hasten a decision on where sevens sits as a New Zealand Rugby and HPSNZ priority. Rugby's the national sport and the Olympics are arguably its most prominent international stage. It's hard to argue the sport deserves more investment but, if there's less, future campaigns could suffer against bigger Games spenders.

Funding recommendation: Hold
SAILING
Rio core spend*: $12.5 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 11.1%
Rio dividends: 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze
Cost per medal: $3.1 million

Prospects: The sailing team equalled New Zealand's record yield of four medals from a Games in Barcelona. All the medallists are young enough to compete again but some, like 49er gold medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, may graduate into the fulltime America's Cup ranks. Kiwi crews featured in the medal races of all seven classes contested. The result vindicated Yachting New Zealand's selection policy, which rejected spots in three classes that they didn't consider were up to medal standard.

Funding recommendation: Buy
SHOOTING
Rio core spend*: $101,000
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 0.09%
Rio dividends: 1 silver
Cost per medal: $101,000

Prospects: Trap shooter Natalie Rooney justified shooting's drop-in-the-bucket investment by delivering the country's first Rio medal. Suddenly, people who didn't know a gun's butt from its barrel were tuning into the range. After bagging New Zealand's first medal in the sport for 48 years, Rooney can expect a boost. HPSNZ might not be so trigger-happy to fund anyone else, although Chloe Tipple in the skeet and Ryan Taylor in the 50m rifle prone both gained top-16 placings.

Funding recommendation: Buy
TRIATHLON
Rio core spend*: $5.3 million
Percentage of HPSNZ spend: 4.7%
Rio dividends: Zero medals in eight years
Cost per medal: N/A

Prospects: New Zealand once dominated this event but the world has caught up and moved on. The men's arm, with Ryan Sissons 17th and Tony Dodds 21st, must prepare for austerity. Andrea Hewitt (7th) and Nicky Samuels (13th) fared better. Athletes progress through the system but their current capability is no guarantee for a return on investment. Social media attacks by Hewitt and Sissons on departing high performance director Graeme Maw added to the turmoil.

Funding recommendation: Sell
*Core investment without Performance Enhancement Grants, Athlete Performance Support and Prime Minister's Scholarships.