UPDATE: Since the time of publication, Great Britain has won three more gold medals.

The sight of Australian swimmer Emily Seebohm breaking down in a press conference after winning only silver in the 100m backstroke said much about national expectations placed on athletes as they enter the sporting arena. The twitter spat that followed between a fan seemingly criticising Seebohm’s second place finish and a member of her family was a little less dignified, but equally instructive.

emily seebohm

Seebohm kissing the silver medal - an all too familiar feeling for Australia?

Failure to win has become an emblem for the green and gold at the London Olympics, with several high-profile competitors failing to live up to their pre-Games billing as favourites.

The lacklustre performance of the Aussies is even more noticeable when contrasted with the performance of Team GB, who seem to be increasing their medal haul daily. At the time of writing, GB sat fourth in the medals table. Australia sat 17th. Yes – it’s early, but recall four years ago in Beijing GB finished fourth overall and Australia finished sixth.

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And it's not just Team GB lauding it over Australia. Team New Zealand, traditionally the little brother in any antipodean squabble, is also enjoying considerable success in London, having won three gold and two bronze medals. The Kiwis currently sit tenth in the table.

In the pool, traditionally one of the Australia's strongest disciplines, the collapse has been most noticeable, with a series of dramatic failures leaving the national press searching for answers as to the cause of the decline.

After James Magnussen placed second to Nathan Adrian from the US in the 100m freestyle on Wednesday, and failed to qualify for the final of the 50m freestyle a day later, the Australian papers were full of quotes of "mental exhaustion".

Magnussen had come into the Games as World Champion.

Earlier in the week, the Australian 4x100m freestyle relay team, which included Magnussen, placed outside the medals in the final. They were favourites to win the race.

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Rice in tears after failing to win the 200m medley

Even Stephanie Rice, a triple gold medal winner for Australia in Beijing, failed to make an impact in either the 200m or 400m medley events, a disappointment which left the former champion weeping by the side of the pool. Though injury played its part, Rice is now talking of retirement.

Australia did taste success on Saturday in the women's 4x100m freestyle. However, it remains the country's only gold of the games.

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Is it wrong for Brits to crow over Australia's sporting decline?

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Outside the pool the lack of success has continued. On Thursday in the Velodrome, Australian sprinters Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares collected only a bronze despite the fact the pair have been world champions for the past three years. They were expected to win. They didn’t even make the final.

In the rowing, Scott Brennan and David Crawshay, winners of the men’s double skulls in Beijing, looked a solid bet for a medal before the Games. Again, Australia didn’t even make the final.

On Friday in the women's double skulls, the Australian pair of Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley finished with silver in the finals. The event was won by Kath Grainger and Anna Watkins of Team GB.

james magnussen

James Magnussen rests on the ropes after finishing second in the 100m freestyle

Beyond the Olympics, a decline in Australian sorting prowess has also been evident. In one-day cricket, the Aussie’s are ranked first, but were recently drubbed 4-0 by England. In Twenty20 they are ranked fifth, and second in the five-day game.

In tennis too, the country that so recently produced Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter, have only one player in each of the top 50 for men and women. The country is ranked 20th in the world and did not qualify for the Davis Cup. Meanwhile Murray only just missed out on winning Wimbledon.

There is some hope for Australia in track and field at London 2012. Sally Pearson should place in the 100m hurdles, but she will face stiff competition for the gold from US runners Dawn Harper and Lolo Jones.

Mitchell Watt has a chance in the long jump, while on the ocean Tom Slingsby could take gold in the laser sailing.

RANKING: Click here for the current medals table

Perhaps the best bet for gold rests with the Kookaburras, the Australian men’s hockey team, who are ranked number one in the world and are favourites to win the tournament.

Yet overall, London 2012 is looking at becoming an increasingly forgettable Olympics for the Aussies, and not just for sporting failure. On Wednesday rower Josh Booth went on a drunken rampage through Egham and was consequently sent home by the AOC.

OPINION: Disagree? Leave your comments below

So with a week to go and GB playing on home soil, you won’t find many people placing bets on Australia finishing higher than the hosts in the medal ranking.

Perhaps it is finally time to admit it – Britain is just better than Australia at sport.

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  • Laura Ludwig of Germany reacts during a beach volleyball match against the other German team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

  • Netherlands' Dafne Schippers, United States' Chantae McMillan and Estonia's Grit Sadeiko, from left, compete in the 100-meter hurdles of the Women's Heptathlon during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

  • Sebastian Chevallier of Switzerland kicks sand in the air to check the wind before serving to Poland during a beach volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

  • Poland's Tomasz Majewski makes an attempt in the qualification for the men's Shot Put during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Richard Patterson of New Zealand competes during the men's 85-kg, group B, weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • China's Wang Yihan plays against India's Saina Nehwal in a women's singles badminton semifinal match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

  • Greece's Niki Panetta makes an attempt in the women's Triple Jump qualification during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

  • China's Li Zhilong competes in a men's 400-meter hurdles heat during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

  • A 50ft poster of Jessica Ennis on John Lewis building looking down on Barker's Pool, in the centre of her home town of Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 2, 2012. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Swimmers warm up before the start of the competition at the Aquatics Centre, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Equestrian jumping team (left-right) Scot Brash, Peter Charles, Ben Maher and Nick Skelton at a press conference at Greenwich Park, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Jessica Ennis on her way to setting a new life time best time as she competes in heat 5 of the 100metre hurdles in the first event of the Heptathlon at the Olympic Stadium, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Jessica Ennis (right) celebrates with Belgium's Sara Aerts after winning heat 5 of the Women's Heptathlon 100m Hurdles at the Olympic Stadium, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Jessica Ennis celebrates after winning heat 5 of the Women's Heptathlon 100m Hurdles at the Olympic Stadium, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Jessica Ennis after winning heat 5 of the Women's Heptathlon 100m Hurdles at the Olympic Stadium, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson after running in heat 4 of the Women's Heptathlon 100m Hurdles at the Olympic Stadium, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Larry Godfrey competes during the Men's Archery eliminations at Lord's Cricket Ground, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Daniel Fogg in action in his Men's 1500m Freestyle Heat at the Aquatics Centre, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Judo Player Karina Bryant on top during her win over Slovakia's Lucija Polavder during Women's +78kg category round of 16 contest at the ExCel Arena, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Dai Greene on his way to winning heat 3 of the Men's 400m Hurdles Round 1 at the Olympic Stadium, London. (Photo credit: PA)

  • Great Britain's Jessica Ennis (right) reacts after setting a new life time best time as she competes in heat 5 of the 100metre hurdles in the first event of the Heptathlon on day 7 of the Olympic Stadium, London. (Photo credit: PA)