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Pyeongchang Winter Olympics: Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua goes topless again - in icy cold

Pita Taufatofua caused a stir at the 2016 Rio Games when he oiled himself up and went topless as Tonga’s flag-bearer, and repeated his antics at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday

other sports Updated: Feb 09, 2018 21:07 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Pyeongchang
Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,Winter Olympics 2018,Pita Taufatofua
Pita Taufatofua carries the flag of Tonga during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday.(AP)

Tongan cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua stole the show at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic opening ceremony Friday when he entered the stadium bare-chested again, despite icy sub-zero temperatures.

The 34-year-old beefcake caused a stir at the 2016 Rio Games when he oiled himself up and went topless as Tonga’s flag-bearer.

With the Pyeongchang Olympics threatening to be one of the coldest Games on record, Taufatofua had said he would be keeping his clothes on for the gala opening after swapping taekwondo for a pair of skis.

But lo and behold, once more he strode into the arena glistening with oil and bare-chested, wearing just a traditional male ta’ovala skirt, his muscles rippling as he waved Tonga’s flag around like a spear.

A self-proclaimed beach bum, Taufatofua became an instant online hit in Rio, racking up 45 million mentions on Twitter and later leading to appearances on international talk shows and other lucrative opportunities.

The naked Tongan’s brave cameo at Friday’s opening ceremony, where the two Koreas marched together in a symbol of what organisers are calling the “Peace Games”, is likely to boost his celebrity still further.

If nothing else, Taufatofua, who used to strap planks of wood to his feet to recreate the rigours of cross-country skiing in sweltering Australia, will have put the South Pacific island of Tonga on the map at the Winter Games.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 20:58 IST