Before each race, Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli looks at his father Joseph in the crowd and flips him off.
His dad returns the favor, raising his middle finger right back at him. Joseph says the ritual started when his son was eight years old. At that age, Santo was facing swimmers who were bigger and even older than him, so in order to get him in the right mindset, Joseph would flip him off. "It became a good ritual for both of us," he said, per the New York Daily News. "He got a lot of his aggravation out with just a really simple 'Give it to the world' rather than keep it internalized. It calms him down on the blocks for sure."
Motivational or not, the gesture has gotten him in some trouble in the past. Santo was forced to write an apology letter after the TV cameras caught him fully extending his arm to deliver the middle finger salute to his dad prior to a junior national competition. Nowadays, the 21-year-old keeps it close to his forehead. Even though the finger is meant as a way of saying "eff everybody else that you’re racing," Condorelli doesn't want upset any of his competitors.
Condorelli will be going for the gold, and of course, flipping off his father in two more events in this year's Olympics: the 100-meter freestyle tomorrow, and the 100-meter butterfly on Thursday.
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