Canadian Olympic Swimmer Won’t Get in the Pool Until He Gives His Dad the Middle Finger

Sports are as much about creative gesticulation as they are making lots of money and winning a few things along the way.

Take pre-game rituals, for example. Some sign the cross or point to the sky to thank God, while others unleash a cloud of chalk into the atmosphere before doing they’re thing.

No one, however, does it quite like Canadian Olympic swimmer Santo Condorelli.

Before every race, Santo Condorelli gives his onlooking father the middle finger for good luck. His father lovingly returns the favour.

Amazingly, he’s been doing it since he was eight years old. It was his father, who is also his coach, who first encouraged it.

“[He said] ‘You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else that you’re racing,” Santo explains. “He said ‘Every time you’re behind the blocks, give me the finger and I’ll give it back to you.”‘


Naturally, a few people are upset about the gesture and he’s been forced to tone it down and apologize. They obviously didn’t grow up in an Italian family, where ‘hey, pal, f*ck you’ is akin to a kiss on the cheek.

“I came from an Italian background, mother and father,” Joseph says. “My father passed away when my son was about two years old so I kind of lost the crutch of how to raise a child. I separated from his mother when he was about four and a half, five years old,” says Santo.

“Can you imagine a rough New York City greaseball raising a young man who is that sensitive?”

And as we’ve seen, swimming is no sport for the meek.

Here’s a guy who could have swam for Italy or the United States and chose Canada, and retweets Trailer Park Boys memes – let him do what he wants.