DICK’s Sporting Goods has extended its sponsorship agreement with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) through to the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, it has been announced.
The American-based company will remain as the USOC’s official sporting goods retail sponsor, while they will also continue their support of US Olympic and Paralympic athletes through their in-store employment "Contenders" programme.
The initiative provided competitive salaries and flexible working schedules to American competitors who were employed by DICK’s in the build up to the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The company has also announced it has pledged a total $236,000 (£185,000/€210,000) to support American athletes who may go on to represent the country at international events as part of the DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation's Every Medal programme.
DICK’s donated $1,000 (£800/€900) for every medal won by the US at both the Olympics and Paralympics.
The American team claimed 121 medals at the Olympics and 115 at the Paralympics.
The money raised will be divided equally between four national governing bodies in the US - USA Diving, Fencers Club, United States Association of Blind Athletes and Ability360 – after they were selected to benefit from the scheme by DICK’s.
"As a company that truly believes sports make people better, we are extremely proud that our Team USA athletes' impressive performance is able to help the next generation of 'Contenders'," Lauren Hobart, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at DICK'S Sporting Goods, said.
"We have been committed to battling the youth sports funding crisis in America through our Sports Matter programme since its inception in 2014, and we're honoured to be able to support deserving organisations through our 'Every Medal' programme."
The "Contenders" programme also proved to be a success, with more than 15 per cent of employed athletes enrolled going on to compete for the US at Rio 2016.
A total of 42 athletes either employed or sponsored by DICK'S brought home a total of 23 Olympic and Paralympic medals between them.
"We have been so inspired by the grit, determination and the overall performance of our 'Team USA Contenders' since the outset of this partnership, that it was an easy decision to renew our commitment to the USOC," Hobart added.
"These athletes were also our coworkers and truly ignited our entire company.
"We are excited to support another generation as they pursue their Olympic and Paralympic dreams."