- By Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Pita Taufatofua, the oiled-up Tongan athlete who became a Rio Summer Olympics sensation with fans, is back in an Olympics opening ceremony.
Taufatofua, Tonga’s only Winter Olympics athlete, carried the country’s flag, bare-chested, wearing his country’s traditional mat called a ta’ovala.
While it was similar to the costume worn in the Summer Olympics in 2016, the difference in Friday’s ceremony was the conditions. Taufatofua carried the flag shirtless, in flip-flops, in about 25 degree weather. That’s before the wind chill.
In Rio’s Summer Games, Taufatofua competed in tae kwon do, but lost in his first match. In the Pyeongchang Olympics, he’s a cross-country skier.
While the temperature was below freezing, Taufatofua did receive a warm welcome, especially on social media where comments went something like this: