Meet the Olympic swimmer who flips off his dad before every race

Santo Condorelli gestures before the race. PHOTO: REUTERS

Santo Condorelli gestures before the race. PHOTO: REUTERS

Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli might not have claimed any medals in the ongoing Rio Olympics, however, he certainly has made the headlines with his peculiar pre-swimming ritual.

The 21-year-old is famed for giving his father the finger from the start blocks, a habit he picked up from his early swimming days.

Talking to the Canadian Press, the Japan-born revealed the reason why his father, Joseph, taught him to do this.

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“When I was eight, I was frustrated getting beaten by older swimmers, so my father came up with the idea to flip him the bird before each race,” he said.

“He said ‘You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else that you’re racing.’

“‘Every time you’re behind the blocks, give me the finger and I’ll give it back to you.’”

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The pre-race ritual has received more attention during Condorelli’s ascension to Canada’s Olympic swim team. There are multiple online photos of the swimmer, with arm and middle finger fully extended.

However, the Canadian has toned it down, bringing his middle finger closer to his forehead, as he has landed in hot water for the gesture in the past, especially at the junior nationals where his father was positioned right behind television cameras.

“I was looking at my father and I gave him the finger directing it right at the camera,” he said. “I had to write an apology later.”

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