At the 17th FINA Masters World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Fernando Alvarez started one of his races a minute later than his competitors. He said it was his tribute to the 15 people killed and dozens injured during last week’s terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain.
Alvarez asked the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to hold a minute of silence before his race, according to numerous reports. When they told Alvarez they didn’t have time to spare, he decided to take matters into his own hands by standing on the block for 60 seconds while everyone else started. Alvarez dove in following his minute of silence, but his finishing time was not recorded.
“I started a minute late,” Alvarez reportedly said. “But that doesn’t matter. What I was feeling was more than if I had won all of the gold medals in the world.”
The team Alvarez swims with, Club Natacion Cadiz, confirmed the news on Facebook and said it “shows its regret and rejects the barbarity of the terrorist attack in Barcelona” in a translated post.