Tonga’s Shirtless Flag Bearer Pita Taufatofua Wows Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony
Tonga’s flag bearer, fan-favorite Pita Taufatofua, returned to the Olympics again shirtless with a traditional Tupenu, which is akin to a kilt.
Who Is Pita Taufatofua?
Viewers first noticed Taufatofua when he walked in the 2016 Rio Olympics sporting the same traditional ensemble, oiled-up chest and all. There, he explained that he wore the Tupenu and oil in honor of his Oceanian culture. Taufatofua reappeared for the opening ceremony of the 2018 winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he competed in the cross-country skiing event.
There was a difference this year, though. The Taekwondo competitor donned a mask with red markings alongside all the other athletes, a reminder that the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics are being held during a state of emergency.
Fans, however, were eager to see the flag bearer’s return, taking to Twitter to share their excitement.
— Nicole Lyn Pesce (@PesceNic) July 23, 2021
— Poppy Penny (@PoppyPenny1) July 23, 2021
— Zaakir (Taylor's Version) (@himbopotamus97) July 23, 2021