When Santo Condorelli peers through his goggles in search of his father seconds before a race, he glances past the Canadian flags and cheering fans, focusing instead on a raised finger emerging from the crowd.
It’s not the predictable thumbs-up that draws attention to the Olympic swimmer and his dad, but the unmistakable, in-your-face middle digit. Joseph Condorelli said he began flipping off his son as a motivational tool when Santo was a frustrated 8-year-old trying to beat the older, bigger swimmers. With his confidence boosted, Santo sends the bird right back his father’s way. “It became a good ritual for both of us,” Joseph said. “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.”