Athletes are notorious for having peculiar warmup routines or superstitious things that they do before they begin competition, but Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli’s pre-race staple might take the cake for the most explicit.
Simply put, Condorelli flips off his dad before every race. It started as a way for Condorelli to get pumped up when he was younger, according to Donna Spencer of the Canadian Press.
“[My dad said] ‘You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else that you’re racing,'” Santo 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.'”
It’s an interesting way of getting hyped up and has previously gotten Condorelli into a bit of trouble.
According to Spencer, Santo was once racing at junior nationals and his father was seated directly behind a TV camera, so when Santo made his customary gesture, it looked like he was giving viewers the finger. The consequences from that were that Condorelli had to write an apology letter.
Nowadays, the gesture itself hasn’t changed, but Condorelli brings the finger closer to his forehead, so as to avoid confusion that he might be flipping off some random fan.
Maybe the motivational tactic works, because Condorelli’s predicted to be in contention for a medal at the Olympics. But if that happens, what will his celebration look like?
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