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Swimmer's Gesture For Terror Victims Cost Him The Race, But Proved He Has The Heart Of A Champion


The world is still reeling from last week's terrorist attack in Barcelona, but no one is feeling the pain more than the people of Spain.

The Spanish royal family leave tributes for victims of the Barcelona attack.EuroNews

Since the car attack and the dramatic manhunt last week, survivors have shared their stories and tributes have poured in from around the world. More than 100 people were injured in the attacks, and so far 15 people have died.

As the Spanish remember the victims, one athlete's tribute to them is going viral today. Professional swimmer Fernando Alvarez from Cadiz, Spain was competing this week in the Masters World Championship swim meet in Budapest, Hungary.

Alvarez says he repeatedly asked International Swimming Federation officials to take a moment of silence before his final race on Saturday, but they refused because they "could not lose a minute."

Fernando AlvarezSwim Vortex

But Alvarez wouldn't let their decision stop him from paying his respects, and his tribute later that day has already been watched millions of times.

When the buzzer sounded at the start of the 200 meter breaststroke finals, the line of swimmers leaped into the pool.

Alvarez didn't swim at the start of the race.Radio NZ

Except for Alvarez, who stood on the starting block for a full minute before finally jumping into the pool. It was his own personal moment of silence, and while it cost him the race the swimmer has no regrets.

"I stayed alone. I left a minute later. But I do not care, I felt better than if I won all the gold in the world," he told El Espanol. His heartfelt tribute has been seen and shared millions of times on social media, and most viewers stand by Alvarez and his decision.

But no one is more supportive than his swimming club, Natacion Cadiz, who shared an emotional message to Alvarez on their Facebook page. "In life you have to hold values above everything else," they wrote.

"It is a great example for our swimmers. All of his peers at his club feel very proud of him. We want to congratulate him for being a great person. For us he won gold."

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