AP Photo/Michael Sohn
Just to be clear, Canadian Olympic swimmer Santo Condorelli isn't giving you the finger from the start blocks. He's giving it to his father.
An eight-year-old Santo was frustrated racing against, and getting beat by, older swimmers. So his father and coach Joseph Condorelli came up with the idea for the son to flip dad the bird before each race.
"(He said) 'You've got to build your confidence yourself and say eff everybody else that you're racing," Santo told 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 a pre-race ritual that has received more attention during Santo's ascension to Canada's Olympic swim team.
The 21-year-old raced in the the 100-meter freestyle Tuesday and will swim the 50-meterfree Thursday.
He's had to tone it down — bringing his middle finger closer to his forehead — as he's landed in hot water for the gesture in the past.
"Oh, have I," Santo said.
There was the time racing at junior nationals where Joseph was positioned right behind the television cameras.
"I was looking at my father and I gave him the finger . . . directing it right at the camera," he recalls "I had to write an apology."