Tonga's Pita Taufatofua repeats shirtless walk for Winter Games opener

Shirtless Tongan


Taufatofua took up cross-country skiing only a year ago. The opening ceremony saw plenty of fireworks, but one person stole the show and captured the hearts of millions around the world.

"I have just qualified Tonga for the Winter Olympics", he declared in a Facebook live interview from near the Arctic Circle.

Without his shirt off, viewers may not be as excited to see Taufatofua at the Olympics. Maybe not by name, but the image of the Tongan athlete walking out at the Maracana Stadium during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games opening ceremony went down as one of the iconic images of the XXXI Olympiad.

But that didn't stop the 34-year-old Olympian - Tonga's only athlete in these Olympics, competing as a cross-country skier - from appearing again in his signature look as the biggest Winter Games to date got underway.

Pita Taufatofua will represent Tonga at the 2018 Pyeonchang Winter Olympics. "Financially I'm in the worst position ever but I'm the happiest ever", he told the Olympic Channel. For the Winter Olympics. According to NBC Sports, he made the cut during the final qualifying weekend last month in Iceland.

"I want to still be alive for my race".

In the lead up to the ceremony, Taufatofua said that he would not repeat the stunt of walking out in traditional Tongan attire due to the cold weather, but he surprised everybody walking out shirtless.

Taufatofua, who is scheduled to compete in the 15km cross-country skiing freestyle race February 16, has detailed some of his recent training sessions on Instagram.

"The dream this year was to qualify and to qualify in the year, that was the impossible dream - I guess I'm going in without pressure", he says.

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