Pita Taufatofua became an overnight sensation five years ago when he marched shirtless and in a traditional Tongan outfit at the opening ceremonies in 2016 and 2018.
He repeated the performance for this year’s ceremony. Taufatofua walked alongside this year’s flag-bearer for Tonga at the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo on Friday (Jul. 23, 2021). He was once again shirtless and oiled up, which led to a lot of excitement on Twitter.
Taufatofua may have gone viral initially for his looks, but his athletic resume is also incredible. In addition to competing in Taekwando at the Summer Games, he was also Tonga’s only competitor at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He trained for just three months and had to rent equipment to compete in cross-country skiing in PyeongChang.
He initially tried to qualify for the 2020 Games in sprint canoeing but came up just short. He would later get back onto the Olympic team in taekwondo for the second time.
An engineer by academic training who lists martial arts legend Bruce Lee as one of his heroes, the 6’3″, 220-pound Taufatofua lives in Australia and also serves as an ambassador for UNICEF.