Which Sport Is Pita Taufatofua, Tonga's Shirtless Flag Bearer, Competing In?


The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, officially kicked off with an elaborate opening ceremony Friday morning, but one athlete in particular stood out.

The latter will form part of a unified women's ice hockey team in Pyeongchang, with the North sending a total of 22 athletes to compete across five different sports.

He will become just the second Tongan to compete in the Winter Olympics, following in the footsteps of for luge competitor Bruno Banani. Taufatofua shot to fame in 2016 when he entered the Maracanã Stadium for the Parade of Nations. "I mean, how many countries in the Pacific get to go to a Winter Games?" "It's just an honour". He's probably going to get more of those.

The Tongan braved freezing cold conditions at the Opening Ceremony on Friday to repeat his star turn, waving his country's flag with his torso again liberally oiled.

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Walking out into Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium, his bare, muscular torso glistening with a generous amount of oil, Pita Taufatofua's life changed in an instant. Expect Taufatofua to be dressed warmly while competing. After Rio, he rejected various offers of modelling gigs and film roles, choosing instead to ponder his next big challenge. Could I do a new sport, the hardest I could think of, in a year?

It's an unusual achievement, since there is no snow in Tonga. For the first time, TV viewers in all U.S. time zones will have access to live coverage of the Games, instead of a delayed replay. Every day, we'll award medals for standout achievements at (and around) Pyeongchang 2018 and achievements that may or may not be recognized on the podium (and may or may not even be of an athletic nature).

Taufatofua, who is scheduled to compete in the 15km cross-country skiing freestyle race February 16, has detailed some of his recent training sessions on Instagram.

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