The 5-Rings Fund

The Mission Viejo Nadadores Diving program has established The 5-Rings Fund to support professional athletes in their pursuit of accomplishing their Olympic Dreams. This fund will go to support their training needs and living expenses so they can devote their attention to bringing home medals from the Olympic Games.

“The 5-Rings endowment program is a wonderful opportunity to support post-graduate divers in pursuit of their Olympic dream”
– Lee Michaud- President of USA Diving

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    Min: $10.00

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When you think of popular Olympic sports, swimming and diving immediately come to mind. In terms of the medal count, both have storied histories of success for the U.S. in the Olympic Games, yet they couldn’t be more different today. Swimming has tip-of-the-tongue promoted heroes, a professional league for athletes, huge membership numbers, and a machine-like system that generates star after star. Conversely, diving has a very small, poorly funded national governing body with few television opportunities, no real post-graduate system and Olympians who work full-time jobs between training sessions, while chasing the Olympic dream. USA Diving was once atop the Olympic medal board. The 1984 Los Angeles team was the last American diving team whose members each brought home a medal. Today there is a dearth of Olympic medals won by American divers. The first female medal won since 2000 was a bronze by Krysta Palmer in Tokyo and it was the only individual medal in 2021. Why? The short answer is global competition has gotten more focused and consequently, better. Also, most other countries financially support their divers through government funding which allows athletes to focus on training. The 5-Rings Fund is a tangible method to meaningfully alter the 2028 Los Angeles medal count for the U.S. in the sport of diving and potentially change the trajectory of diving in the U.S. from here forward. This method has worked before.


Establish a fund to support the training needs and preparation of the top American divers for the 2028 Olympics, and if possible, for future Olympic competitions.


Unlike most other countries, American athletes do not receive government funding, regardless of success. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee does not meaningfully underwrite training costs for athletes. Even an Olympic medalist does not receive monthly funding stipends that add up to more than a few thousand dollars per year. Post-graduate Olympic hopefuls are forced to connect to university programs to find pool time and coaching when the college coach isn’t focused on the NCAA team. 90% of Olympic divers are post-grads who must work full-time to support themselves while also training. In contrast, top athletes from other countries are fully supported by their governments to enable 100% focus on training in the years prior to the Olympic Games.


  • Minimum target: Fully fund 6 Olympic hopefuls for the years 2024-2028.
  • Ideal total funding = $2.1 million – $2.4 million
  • Funding supports: Monthly living stipend, travel to events, medical insurance & ancillary training costs


Mission Viejo used this model of athlete support in the 1980’s. Funding sources were different, but the model was the same with outstanding results. 100% of the donations will go directly to the athletes. Mission Viejo has no bureaucratic red tape, and no donations will be retained for “administrative costs.” The administration of this program will be efficient, accountable, and responsive – at a local level. There are only a few non-collegiate club programs in the US that can effectively host and train Olympic hopefuls on a full-time basis if those athletes were supported financially. The Mission Viejo Nadadores Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Southern California and has a 50-year history of Olympic success. The program has use of the Marguerite Aquatic Complex, 24/7, with no other activities utilizing or capitalizing the water time. The club has agreed to dedicate training time, all resources, and staff to support the drive to 2028 and beyond. The Nadadores Diving Team is coached by John Appleman, notably one of the best coaches in the country and the team is one of the best in the country, winning National Team Titles in 2021 and 2022. In 2028 the Olympic Games will be held in Los Angeles at an outdoor facility. The ideal training location in preparation for these Olympics is Mission Viejo, CA – an outdoor facility one hour south of Los Angeles.


A small committee of administrators and Olympians will be established by the Nadadores to allocate and track funding against measurable metrics. The fund will be restricted for this use only within the Nadadores budget. To properly establish an Olympic caliber training program, support funds are required to cover living expenses, travel, coaching costs, as well as ancillary medical and training services (such as strength training, physical therapy, sports psychology, basic medical etc.) A total estimate of funds needed to support one diving athlete from 2024 to the 2028 Olympic Games is $350,000-$400,000.

Major donors may receive:

  • Athlete speaking opportunities.
  • 4 tickets to the 2028 US Olympic Trials.
  • 4 tickets to the US Olympic Team send off show at Mission Viejo just weeks before the Games.
  • 4 US Olympic Trials t-shirts signed by Olympians.
  • 4 tickets to a VIP reception with the US Olympic Team – in Mission Viejo. Other memorabilia which become available.


“Funding for professional divers would be a turn of the tide for the sport in the U.S. and the battle to continue the legacy of success on the world stage. Having living expenses covered frees up the mental space to train more efficiently and brings the dream so much closer to fruition.”
– Brandon Loschiavo – 2021 Olympian

“Funding for elite athletes after college is imperative to their success. As Olympic athletes, we don’t have enough time to hold full time jobs, and we don’t get paid to train. Training and travel expenses can really add up, and without appropriate funding, many athletes are forced to retire after college.”
– Kassidy Cook – 2016 Olympian

“The 5-Rings endowment program is a wonderful opportunity to support post-graduate divers in pursuit of their Olympic dream”
– Lee Michaud- President of USA Diving