Vanuatu’s Shirtless Riilio Rii Marches Into The Spotlight At Tokyo Olympics
Fans of the 2016 and 2018 Olympics, hosted by Rio, Brazil and Pyeongchang, South Korea respectively, eagerly awaited the return of Tongan heartthrob, Pita Taufatofua, to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While he did return, the Taekwondo star might have competition outside of the Olympic arena.
Vanuatu’s Riilio Rii turned heads as he walked in the opening ceremony for the postponed Games. Like his fellow Olympian, Rii was shirtless with his chest oiled up and wore a traditional Oceanic ensemble. Twitter users were quick to point out the similarities between the rowing competitor and fan-favorite Taufatofua, posting memes about the two.
— YortJansen (@yortjansen) July 23, 2021
*Tonga goes viral at #Olympics*
Vanuatu: "hold my flag…" pic.twitter.com/wctfqd7WkZ
— Mr Adam R (@MrAdamR) July 23, 2021
— Marieke (@Mriek_today) July 23, 2021
Rii is one of three competitors representing the Pacific archipelago to compete at the Olympics this year. The nation of Vanuatu has participated in the Summer Olympics since 1988 in Seoul. Though they have sent a total of 34 athletes to the Summer Games, the country has never been represented at the Winter Games.