Americans, British firming up plans for multisport event

LONDON (AP) American and British Olympic leaders will firm up plans for a multisport event between the countries at a meeting in New York later this month.

The trans-Atlantic rivals, who occupied the top two spots in the gold medal standings at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, are exploring plans for a biennial contest that will alternate between the countries featuring about a half-dozen sports. The first event could be staged in 2019 as part of preparations for the following year's Tokyo Olympics.

''The question now is to identify which sports this works best for and speaking to those sports and our stakeholders about it,'' British Olympic Association chief executive Bill Sweeney said at the organization's London headquarters.

Although the United States is strong in swimming and track, Britain is a powerhouse in cycling and rowing.

''A number of our sports have said they are interested in doing it and the concept is based around a home-and-away series, every two years, as we see in the world of golf,'' Sweeney said.

The Ryder Cup was a U.S.-Britain contest until 1979 when players from across Europe were also welcomed.

British Olympic sports have had their funding cut from UK Sport, despite the country finishing second in Rio, because of a decline in National Lottery sales.

The sports showdown with the United States could plug further funding shortfalls in the future. European Olympic rights holder Eurosport and American broadcaster NBC are involved in the planning discussions.

''(It) will give us another opportunity to generate additional revenue that we can pump back into the system,'' Sweeney said. ''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.''

The United States won 46 gold medals in Rio, while Britain collected 27 golds.

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Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

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