SPORTS

Spanish Swimmer Forfeits World Championship Race To Honor Barcelona Attack Victims

"I felt better than if I won all the gold in the world."

08/22/2017 08:22 EDT

A Spanish swimmer gave up his chance of glory at an international competition when he paid tribute to the victims of the deadly Barcelona and Cambrils terror attacks.

Fernando Álvarez, 71, was reportedly refused his request for an official minute’s silence at the FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest, Hungary, over the weekend.

So he decided to hold his own.

As video that is going viral shows, he remained on the starting block after the buzzer sounded for the start of his 200-meter breaststroke heat on Saturday.

Álvarez stood on the block for a full 60 seconds before diving in to join the race, albeit a minute behind.

FINA recorded him as finishing the event with “no time” on its official website.

But the swimmer said it was something he felt compelled to do.

It’s something that has affected us all, but maybe because of the distance and the because I have family there,” he told the El Español news website.

“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,” Álvarez added.

His swimming club, Club Natación Cádiz, shared footage of the tribute to Facebook on Saturday. It’s since garnered more than 600,000 views.

In another post, the club praised Álvarez for putting “values above everything” and described him as a “great example for our swimmers.”

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