Canadian swimmer flips his father the middle finger before every race

© USA Swimming
Some athletes have a good luck charm or ritual, and Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli is no exception: Every time he participates in a race, he gives his father the middle finger.

While his father, Joseph Condorelli, responds by flipping his son back, there is a reason for this middle finger gesture and it dates back to when the swimmer was eight-years-old.

😂 love the fact that wherever I go, everyone knows #🖕 #teampeluk #toogood #roadtorio

A photo posted by Santo Condorelli (@santo_condorelli) on

As the child swimmer was frustrated during races and getting beaten by older swimmers, Joseph Condorelli suggested his son should flip the bird as a means to “build confidence” before every race.

“You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else you’re racing,” Santo told CBC. “[My father] said ‘every time you’re behind the blocks, give the finger and I’ll give it back to you.’”

Now, the pre-race ritual has received more attention after Santo’s ascension to Canada’s Olympic team.

The 21-year-old will participate in three events at Rio, including the freestyle relay and the 50 and 100-meter freestyle.

But the father-son flipping has also landed Santo in trouble. At one point when he was racing at the junior nationals, his dad happened to be seated directly behind the television camera, so when the middle finger went in the air, it looked like the swimmer was flipping off the viewing audience.

He had to write a letter of apology for unintentional offense.

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