Spanish swimmer Fernando Alvarez was in Budapest this past weekend for the Masters World Championships, and before he swam in a 200-meter breaststroke heat, he asked swimming’s governing body (FINA) to hold a minute of silence in tribute to the 15 people who were killed last Thursday in a terrorist attack in Barcelona. FINA officials apparently declined to do so, which left the 71-year-old Alvarez to commemorate the event on his own.
He says that FINA personnel told him that they didn’t have an extra minute to spare for a tribute, so he chose to take the minute of silence himself as his race started, remaining on his starting block and sacrificing any chance he had at winning.
Alvarez did eventually finish, although he was so far behind that the official results list no time for him. As he later told El Español, “But I do not care, it was [more important] than if I won all the gold in the world.”