Oiled-up Olympian gets approval from legendary Tonga flag bearer

Feb 4 2022, 8:06 pm

The Olympic Opening Ceremony was missing its brightest star today.

That’s because Pita Taufatofua, the flag bearer from Tonga who has stolen the show at every Olympic Opening Ceremony since 2016, wasn’t there.

Taufatofua first captured the attention of the world at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, marching into the Opening Ceremony shirtless and oiled up. The muscular athlete, who competed for Tonga in the Summer Olympic sport of taekwondo, then made a surprise appearance at the Winter Games two years later.

Despite the chilly winter weather, Tonga’s lone Winter Olympic athlete was shirtless and oiled up as ever. Taufatofua carried Tonga’s flag at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year also, once again wearing a traditional Polynesian outfit.

But Taufatofua, who competed in cross-country skiing at the last Winter Olympics, was absent from today’s festivities in Beijing.

Fear not though, another shirtless and oiled-up Olympian was there to carry on the tradition.

There were no Winter Olympic athletes representing Tonga, but there was one from nearby American Samoa. Skeleton athlete Nathan Crumpton dressed up in a traditional Polynesian outfit as American Samoa’s flag bearer.

Despite the subzero temperatures in Beijing, Crumpton was shirtless and oiled up.

Needless to say, Taufatofua approved.

This is just the second time American Samoa has had a team at the Winter Olympics. They last sent two bobsledders to the Winter Games at Lillehammer 1994.

Taufatofua was the second athlete ever to represent Tonga at the Winter Olympics.

Neither Pacific island nation has any snow to speak of.

Like Taufatofua, Crumpton has also participated at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Crumpton represented American Samoa at the Tokyo Olympics last year in athletics, in the 100-metre sprint. He has also been modelling since 2011 according to NBC.

Tonga has been on the mind of Taufatofua, who now lives in Australia, after a volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami devastated the country he represents.

“Right now I have another task that calls me, I must answer,” said Taufatofua, who has been active on social media recently in an effort to help Tonga. The GoFundMe he started has raised over $800,000 AUD to date.

The 38-year-old athlete also hinted at a possible return to the next Summer Olympics in Paris.

“Make no mistake, my sword is sharp and my mind is ready. I am just getting started… Paris ‘we’ are coming!”


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A post shared by Pita Taufatofua (@pita_tofua)

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