Written by: James R. Harrison Jr. (@TheGrandstandUS)
Canadian Olympic swimmer Santo Condorelli shoots his father the bird before every race he competes in, and has being doing so since the tender age of eight according to Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press.
I wasn’t going to write much about the Olympics in the coming weeks, but hell, this is just too great to pass up, right? The tradition started when Condorelli was eight-years-old, frustrated by having to compete against older and more talented swimmers.
“[He said] ‘You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else that you’re racing,” Santo explains. “He said ‘Every time you’re behind the blocks, give me the finger and I’ll give it back to you.”‘
Unsurprisingly, Condorelli has gotten in trouble for this pre-race ritual in the past, but expect to see it on Sunday when he takes to the blocks in Rio for the freestyle relay, and two other races taking place on Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Conderelli recalls the first time he gave his father the middle finger before a race, citing that the camera was looking directly at him, and was forced to write a written apology. Although the father and son describe their relationship as “unusual,” but tight.
“It became a good ritual for both of us. He got a lot of his aggravation out with just a really simple ‘Give it to the world’ rather than keep it internalized,” Condorelli’s dad, Joseph, said. “It calms him down on the blocks for sure.”