Shirtless Tonga Olympian Pita Taufatofua Wins Olympic Opening Ceremony Again

Jamie Squire  Getty Images

Jamie Squire Getty Images

The Opening Ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea happened at the crack of dawn on Friday morning.

The 34-year-old Taufatofua also carried his country's flag at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where he competed in taekwondo.

Tonga is a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean and Taufatofua is only the second person from the country to qualify for the Winter Olympics.

Tonga flag bearer Pita Taufatofua poses with a volunteer and team-mates during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

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"After Rio I made a decision to find the hardest sport possible, because I needed a new challenge, and the hardest sport possible was cross country skiing", Taufatofua told the Olympic Channel in Jan, after qualifying.

Pita Taufatofua earned global fame when he showed up topless and covered in oil as Tonga's flagbearer in Rio.

Taufatofua trained with roller skis due to the lack of snow in Tonga. "I did my best but I fell short each time and I thought there's one race left, it's at the end of the world". Could I do a new sport, the hardest I could think of, in a year? Skiing, you have pain for an hour.

Born in Australia but raised in Tonga, Taufatofua announced his plans to try to qualify for the Winter Olympics' "most hard sport" in December 2016.

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Taufatofua qualified for cross-country skiing event at the games in PyongChang.

As the head of state, he took part in both North-South summits in Pyongyang, meeting South Korean president Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and his successor Roh Moo-hyun seven years later.

But it wasn't his athletic performance or his role as the proud pole-bearer in the opening ceremony that set tongues wagging, it was his athletic physique and boyish good looks.

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