Pita Taufatofua of Tonga blew the internet in 2016 when he was spotted marching in the Opening Ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Wearing a traditional ta’ovala, slathered in coconut oil and carrying the Tongan flag, Pita Taufatofua made everyone weak in their knees looking at his ripped muscles and toned body. However, this time he will not be reprising his show-stopping attire at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea as it’s going to be freezing. The shirtless Tongan flag-bearer is going to keep himself warm and covered up and will not follow his Rio Olympics stint, but he is definitely back on the radar to keep the netizens happy.
According to PyeongChang 2018 media release he said, “I want to still be alive for my race. It’s going to be freezing, so I will be keeping nice and warm.” Pita Taufatofua wanted to become the only Tongan to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics and hence started training after returning home from Rio. He said, “After Rio, I needed a new challenge,” he said. “Could I do a new sport, the hardest I could think of, in a year?” He traveled to Isafjordur, Iceland in mid-January for his seventh and final chance at Olympic qualification in cross-country skiing, and finally managed to secure a place. Winter Olympics 2018: Google Doodle Marks The Start of PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games
Pita Taufatofua did most of his training on roller skis and paved roads and in Iceland he had his best race on snow which gave him a berth at this second Olympics. He said, “Every time I ski I feel like I die a little inside. The burn starts and then you hold the burn for an hour or more. I still haven’t had a race where I felt completely happy, in terms of no pain.” Nordic sports are not exactly a cakewalk and even top athletes cross the finishing line and collapse in a heap gasping for air. Pita Taufatofua is not someone to get deterred and he has already started thinking well past PyeongChang.
Pita Taufatofua competed in Taekwondo at the Rio Olympics and finished 11th in the men’s +80 kg. He said, “I feel I have got unfinished business with taekwondo. The goal at Rio was to win a medal, so Tokyo 2020 is on my radar. But who knows, you might see me in something else. I love all sports, it could be anything.”