U.S. vs. Britain in Multiple Sports?


A Ryder-Cup style multi-sport contest between Great Britain and the United States remains a possibility after the British Olympic Association and United States Olympic Committee said they were in 'live' talks, according to a story in the Daily Mail.

The plan to pit the nations that came first and second in the Rio 2016 Olympic medal table against each other has advanced quickly with broadcasters in both countries keen and several sports eager to be involved. It was first mentioned by BOA chief executive Bill Sweeney in a meeting with senior USOC staff at the Rio Olympics.

The Americans won almost twice as many medals in Brazil as the British in total but the two nations did not go head-to-head in many events, with Team USA dominating in the pool and on the track, and Team GB stronger on the water and on two wheels.

“A number of our sports have said they are interested in doing it and the concept is based around a home-and-away series, as we see in the world of golf,” Sweeney said, speaking to reporters in London.

“That will give us another opportunity to generate additional revenue that we can pump back into the system.

“So I would say it's a very live conversation but like most things, when you try to set them up, there are lots of negotiations that need to happen.

“(But) I was quite surprised at how quickly (the USOC) said it was something they'd like to discuss.”

According to Sweeney, the USOC set up a 'small working group' after the Rio Games and the two parties are meeting in New York later this month to discuss the idea further.

The benefits of adding a biennial money-spinner to the calendar are clear to all concerned — including the BOA's new broadcast partner Eurosport/Discovery and the USOC's long-term media collaborator NBC — in terms of boosting Olympic sport's profile between Games and raising money.

But there is another reason, beyond money, for the BOA and USOC to work together.

Having surprised even themselves by finishing second in the Rio medal table, the BOA is eager to stay there, so any opportunity for regular competition against the best is attractive, as is the chance to work together on a project with the USOC.