Amongst all the traditions that dominate the world of sport, this has to be the most unique of them all. It isn't often that we see sportspersons showing disrespectful signs on a public forum. And it is even rare to see signs of disrespect being shown before an event begins.
Santo Condorelli has put all such stigma aside and makes it a point to show his dad the middle finger before every swimming event begins.
Condorelli grew up in New York and had a rough start to his life when his parents separated. His dad helped fuel his talent for swimming by building a pool all by himself. This helped him immensely and honed his amazing speed in the pool.
As the years went by, he grew in height and in stature around the swimming circuit. He was beating competitors who were elder to him despite his short height. The intimidation however still continued as the starting blocks of swimming were always a problem for Condorelli.
As a measure to counter the slight hesitancy and fear that he felt, his Dad gave him a piece of advice that stuck by him. It was about not caring whom or what was around the swimmer so long as he was ready to compete when he was behind the starting blocks.
Essentially, Santo Condorelli was told not to give a ****. This is when he began making it a point to show his middle finger to his dad no matter where he was. It could be in the audience or to the camera but it was Santo's point to the world that he didn't care about the intimidation of others.
At the Speedo junior Championships in the USA, 17 year old Santo was caught off guard when the camera filmed him showing the middle finger. It was meant for his dad but the issue spiralled into a major breach of sporting integrity and Santo was forced to state a public apology in that regard.
His father however knew how and where his son was coming from and the two of them just modified the tradition to suit their own needs.
Santo has also switched citizenship this time and will be representing Italy at the Tokyo Olympics instead of Canada like he did at Rio in 2016. He has qualified to represent Italy as one of the top ranked freestyle swimmers and we will all be keenly awaiting his signature move prior to every event.