A GOLD medal contains just 6g of gold and a large chunk of silver and costs £450 to make.

But the true cost of securing Team GB's running total of 61 medals is estimated at around £4.3 million for every gold, silver and bronze disc.

This is based on UK Sport funding, which has helped to train and develop Britain's top athletes, ensuring they reached their peak for London 2012.

Team GB's impressive tally has been linked to a massive cash injection in sport after London won its bid to host the games. UK sport's funding increased from £70m for the 2004 games in Athens to £235m for Beijing.

And this year, the sporting body received £264m, largely from the National Lottery, which accounts for about 60% of investment.

Stefan Szymanski, professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, said Lottery funding has a lot to do with Britain's recent success.

He said: "That devotion of financial resources, particularly on building up elite teams, has had a big effect on Britain."

Almost 90% of Britain's 542 competitors have benefited from Lottery funding and gymnast Beth Tweddle, who won bronze, credited the National Lottery's backing with the team's success.

The 27-year-old, who became the first British woman to win an Olympic medal in the individual women's gymnastics, said the funding made a massive difference.

The rest of the money came directly from the Government, meaning that each Team GB medal cost taxpayers less than 10p.

Cycling has proved to be the best-value sport, with each medal costing an estimated £2.1m. Swimming was among those sports offering the worst value, with medals costing an average of £8.4m.

Elsewhere, Team GB rowing medals cost £3.03m each, athletics cost £4.2m each and sailing £4.6m each.

Figures from UK Sport showed rowing received the most funding at £27.3m followed by cycling (£26m), swimming and athletics (both £25.1m).

The least money was devoted to table tennis (£1.2m), wrestling (£1.4m) and weightlifting (£1.37m).