This Canadian swimmer flips his father the bird before every race

This Canadian swimmer flips his father the bird before every race

It's for luck!

A lot of athletes have their superstitious rituals. Michael Jordan wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform in every game. Serena Williams has to tie her shoelaces a specific way, and bounces her ball a certain number of times before her first and second serves.

One athlete at the Rio Olympics has a strange ritual that has caught the attention of the international media. Before every race, Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli flips his father the bird, and his father flips it back.

Condorelli and his dad began this unorthodox tradition when he was just 8 years old. “[Dad sad] ‘You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else that you’re racing,'” the 21-year-old swimmer told The Canadian Press. “He said, ‘Every time you’re behind the blocks, give me the finger and I’ll give it back to you.'”

Understandably, plenty of people have been offended by this gesture. Click to the next page to read how Condorelli has responded.

"I'm not trying to piss people off."

The gesture has landed Santo in hot water, understandably. When Condorelli was racing at junior nationals, his dad was positioned right behind the television cameras. "I was looking at my father and I gave him the finger . . . directing it right at the camera," he recalls "I had to write an apology."

Now, he's toned it down by bringing his middle finger closer to his forehead.

A photo posted by @mikeerh1028 on


"Athletes always have that one thing that gets them going that they need to do," he said. "That happens to be mine and still is. Seeing everybody's reaction to it has been interesting.

"I'm not trying to piss people off. I just put it in the middle of my forehead now. My dad is definitely giving it to me and I can see him from a mile away."

READ: Doctors urge postponing Rio Olympics over worldwide Zika epidemic

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