Tonga is not expected to make a lot of noise in the 2016 Rio Olympics but one of their athletes became the talk of the town during the opening ceremony in Brazil on Friday night.
Tonga immediately became a popular topic on social media because of one of their representatives in the Rio Games. The Tonga flag bearer drew shrieks in a positive way because of his outfit, well, sort of.
Who Is The Shirtless Tonga Flag Bearer?
According to Yahoo Sports, the now-popular Tonga flag bearer is Pita Taufatofua. Taufatofua became an instant star online after he carried their flag shirtless, with just classic Tongan mat known as ta’ovala, and all oiled up. Check out one of the viral photos below.
Who Is Tonga Flag Bearer Pita Taufatofua?
Taufatofua is a 32-year-old Athlete who is making his Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro. He was born in Australia but is representing Tonga, who only sent seven athletes to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
For those who are eager to watch him compete, well, he will not be shirtless and oiled up anymore. Taufatofua will compete in the men’s over 80 kg Taekwondo competition. His Olympic debut date is yet to be determined but it will surely be one of the most watched Taekwondo matches in the 2016 Summer Games.
The flag bearer’s friend, Jacinta Sitapa, told USA Today that Taufatofua really wanted to showcase Tonga’s culture to honor his father’s heritage. Even before he was selected as flag bearer, Taufatofua was already determined to steal the show with his rare appearance in the opening ceremony.
“He is very patriotic and loves Tongan culture,” Sitapa said. “He didn’t know if he was going to be picked to carry the flag, but if he did he strongly felt that it should be something that represented the country.”
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