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

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

Taufatofua tried to qualify for the Olympics two times before finally making the team in 2016.

The Tongan's toughness wasn't the only opening-ceremony topic that resonated.

In 2016, the athlete competed in taekwondo.

"I have just qualified Tonga for the Winter Olympics", he declared in a Facebook live interview from near the Arctic Circle.

Taufatofua was later seen posing for photos in the stands with a warm jacket across his oiled shoulders.

As he did in Rio, Taufatofua will carry Tonga's flag at the Opening Ceremony as the country's sole athlete at the Games.

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Taufatofua competed in taekwondo in Rio, and is back competing in cross-country skiing.

"When you've got no snow, it's really hard to learn a snow sport so we looked at all the different ways I could mimic being on snow without actually being on snow", he said.

A lover of sport - and perhaps his moment in the spotlight - he made a decision to set his sights on the Winter Olympics.

Pita, the only Tongan athlete in Pyeongchang this year and the Pacific island's second ever competitor at a Winter Games, strutted into the opening ceremony with a tiny posse of three (appropriately bundled-up) fellow Tongans. "I did my best but I fell short each time but I thought there's one race left, it's at the end of the world...in the Arctic Circle in Iceland and I thought I have to give it all".

Prince Henrik was hospitalised for a lung infection last month, but his condition has "seriously worsened", as his son, who is an International Olympic Committee member, made the dash home.

That nearly wasn't the case, however, as Taufatofua said ahead of the ceremony that he didn't plan on going topless again because of the extreme temperatures expected in South Korea, The Independent reports.


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