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It Takes 532. And It Takes You.

By Paul D. Bowker | July 03, 2014, 3:30 a.m. (ET)
John Orozco competes on the rings in the men's all-around final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on Aug. 1, 2012 in London.

The magic number is 532.

Less than two years ago, 532 Americans put on their red, white and blue to represent the United States at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Their performances were stunning. Team USA athletes combined to win 104 medals, including 46 gold medals. No other nation won more than 88.

Next up is the Rio de Janiero 2016 Olympic Games.

As Americans get ready to celebrate Independence Day with colorful fireworks, patriotic parades and Fourth of July cook-outs in their backyards, Team USA is asking for your financial help. The goal: 532 donors for Team USA before midnight July 4.

A donation of $25 makes you a part of the team, but a donation of any amount is welcome. (Click here to donate and help Team USA.)

Donations will help Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls reach the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. And what better time to reach into your pockets for a donation than the Fourth of July?

One of those 532 U.S. Olympians in 2012 was gymnast John Orozco.

“I remember watching the (2004) Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, and thinking that the most honorable thing in the world would be getting to wear USA on my chest and to compete in front of the world,” Orozco said.

“In London, that dream came true. But it wasn’t just me that got me there. It never was. It was my parents who worked extra jobs to pay for gym lessons. And it was you — the supporters who made it possible for a kid from the Bronx to even get to the Olympic Games.”

Orozco finished eighth in the men’s all-around competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games and helped the U.S. men’s team to a fifth-place finish. He went on to earn bronze on parallel bars at the 2013 World Championships and is aiming even higher for Rio.

The American spirit was on full display again this week in Brazil, when the U.S. men’s national soccer team reached the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. A record performance by goalkeeper Tim Howard nearly sent the United States to a victory over Belgium as U.S. fans, dressed in red, white and blue, supported the team not only in Brazil but at viewing parties in the United States.

According to the United States Olympic Committee, it takes $40,000 to train and send one athlete to the Olympic Games. Ninety-two percent of the USOC’s resources is used directly to benefit the athletes who are now in training and competing in international and national events leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games and 2016 Paralympic Games. Every donation, no matter the amount, makes a difference.

Unlike most other countries, U.S. athletes are not funded by the government. They rely on donations, including the effort to reach a minimum of 532 donors before Fourth of July celebrations begin.

Only 764 days remain until the start of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, which is why the donations are so important. Even a $25 donation by 532 Americans would result in a combined donation of $13,300 to fund Team USA.

“Humbled and grateful for where I am today,” Orozco said, “I want to ask for your help so that all Team USA athletes get the chance to achieve their dreams.”

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1990 and was Olympic assistant bureau chief for Morris Communications at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. He also writes about Olympic sports for the Springfield (Mass.) Republican. Bowker has written for TeamUSA.org since 2010 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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