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Ask any Olympic athlete what they attribute their success to, and “parental support” is an answer you’re likely to hear over and over. Swimmer Santo Condorelli of Canada is no different. He just has a unique way of showing his appreciation. Before every race he looks for his father in the stands—and flips him the bird.
To be fair, his father started it. Santo began swimming when he was 8 and often faced much larger and older opponents. In order to take his mind off it, Joseph Condorelli started flipping off his young son.
“It became a good ritual for both of us,” Joseph told 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.”
You’re probably wondering if this little ritual has ever gotten the pair in trouble, and the answer is yes. Santo had to write a letter of apology after he was caught on camera at a junior national competition. Now he tries to keep the gesture a little more subtle.
“I just put it in the middle of my forehead now,” Santo said. “I’m not trying to piss people off.”
David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.