Before every race, Santorelli gives his dad the middle finger for good luck. People in the audience probably assume he is flipping the bird to his competitors, but the truth is that it’s his way of recognizing his dad who sits in the stands watch – also flipping him the bird back!
When Santorelli was about eight-years-old, he was consider “tiny” by competitive swimming standards and was frustrated because he kept losing.
That’s when his dad, American hero Joseph Condorelli, came up with a way to build up his son’s confidence. “I told him ‘enough is enough’,” said Joseph.
“When you get on the blocks, just put everything out of your mind and swim like there’s nobody near you. He said to me ‘how do you do that?’ and I said ‘well, you say **** it’. So he looked at me in the crowd, and we both gave each other the finger, and he started winning race after race and we never looked back.”