The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced today DICK'S Sporting Goods as its latest sponsor.

The Pittsburgh-based sports company will provide Team USA athletes with sportswear and will also donate sporting goods to US Olympic Training Centres ahead of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Perhaps the most innovative part of the deal is the Team USA Store Ambassador Programme, where DICK's will offer employment to budding Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls in one of its more than 550 shops in 46 states.

DICK's, founded in 1948 in Binghamton, New York, will accommodate the needs of the athletes by fitting their working pattern around their training schedules, and they hope the participants will be able to share their passion with customers.

"We believe in the spirit of athletes and the power of their dreams," Lauren Hobart,  senior vice-president and chief marketing officer of DICK's.

"We plan to be there to support the athletes who need it most, in a way that no other sporting goods retailer possibly can."

Kerri Walsh Jennings, the three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medallist, also heralded the agreement between USOC and DICK's and claimed the deal will be of great benefit to American athletes.

"A lot of us have to work as well as compete so the help DICK's will provide us with is amazing," she said.

"It's great to be here today and I want to welcome DICK's to the team.

"Get ready to win gold."

"I don't think about winning bronze or silver and I know we're going to achieve great things."

The agreement, effective from today, is the first time DICK's have been involved in sponsorship in sport and USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird echoed the sentiments of Jennings.

"We are thrilled to welcome DICK'S Sporting Goods to our great family of USOC partners," she added.

"DICK'S support of Team USA athletes, including opportunities for employment in the communities where they live and train, opens up new pathways for America's elite athletes to achieve their dream of competing on the biggest stage in sport."