U.S. and international Olympic leaders announced agreement Thursday on a key financial issue that has divided the two organizations for years and contributed to American isolation from the global Olympic movement.
The USOC and International Olympic Committee said in a joint statement they had reached an accord on a "significant financial contribution" from the American body to resolve the dispute over administrative costs of staging the games.
Financial terms were not released.
USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun told The Associated Press the agreement was a "milestone" in relationship between the two sides.
The deal clears the way for the two sides to open negotiations on a more substantial long-term revenue-sharing agreement.
"I am pleased that our relationship has progressed to the point where we can begin to make significant headway on a number of issues that have been a point of contention between the USOC and the IOC," USOC chairman Larry Probst said in a statement.
The deal followed meetings between USOC and IOC delegations last month at the Youth Olympics. Talks began last year in Denver and continued at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February.
"The IOC and USOC delegations have pledged to continue working in a constructive manner and in a spirit of good faith and cooperation," the joint statement said.
The agreement is considered vital to the USOC's efforts of rebuilding relations with the international Olympic world. The USOC's troubled standing was illustrated last year when Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting for the 2016 Games. That followed New York's humbling defeat in 2005 for the 2012 Olympics.
Crucial to the agreement was the addition of Dow Chemical Co. as a global Olympic sponsorship in a 10-year, multi-million-dollar deal announced in July. The USOC received a share of millions of dollars from the deal, which made it easier to compromise on the games costs.
The games-time money _ paid by all national Olympic committees _ goes toward the cost of anti-doping operations, the running of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and other operational matters.
Still pending is the more significant revenue-sharing issue. The sides agreed last year to begin negotiations in 2013 on a new revenue formula to go into effect in 2020, but the games-cost agreement allows them to start those talks as soon as possible.
Currently, the USOC gets a 20 percent share of global sponsorship revenue and a 12.75 percent share of U.S. broadcast rights deals. Many international officials feel the U.S. share is too high _ some have even called it "immoral."
"I am very pleased that we can put the issue of games' costs behind us for the time being so that we can pursue a broader discussion," Blackmun said in a statement. "That discussion will be difficult and complicated, but we will be aided by the fact that we can have a constructive dialogue, and that would not have been possible just a few months ago."