Mexican Olympic dives to Only Fans to raise money after funding cuts

May 28, 2023 - 10:58 AM
2099
Diego Balleza (diegoballezaisa/Twitter)

Mexican diver Diego Balleza launched his Only Fans account, a subscription platform where he shares exclusive content with his followers to earn a monthly income after government funding was cut in a row between the Mexican Swimming Federation (FMN) and World Aquatics.

Balleza, who finished fourth in the men’s synchronized 10m platform at the Tokyo Olympics, is facing financial difficulties ahead of the Paris 2024 Games and decided to turn to the content platform as a way to raise money to keep his training going.

“It has sparked a bit of controversy, but as they say, there is no good or bad publicity. I’m a person who likes his body that has worked for 21 years. I have no shame about my figure,” Balleza told Reuters.

“Fortunately, I have done well. The response has been very favorable. I have people supporting me and looking out for me”.

The head of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE), Ana Gabriela, announced the funding cut in January, after World Aquatics withdrew its recognition of FMF president Kiril Todorov and installed a “stabilization committee”

Todorov, who has repeatedly stated that he is innocent, is now facing a trial in Mexico on embezzlement charges.

“I hope this situation is resolved as soon as possible as it affects us the most since we are forced to look for ways to support ourselves and our families without leaving aside our daily job, which is training,” Balleza added.

Mexico’s elite aquatic athletes have been driven to create fundraising initiatives with Olympic diver Kevin Berlin launching his own brand of coffee and divers Alejandra Orozco and Gabriela Agundez considering auctioning off their Olympic medals before receiving financial aid from a Mexican airline.

The most high-profile case is the artistic swimming team, who launched a campaign to sell towels and swimming costumes and enlisted the support of billionaire businessman Carlos Slim’s philanthropic foundation, that funded the team’s trip to the World Championships in Egypt, where they won three golds and a bronze earlier this month.

—Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Pritha Sarkar