Pita Taufatofua has shown once again he’s willing to give the shirt off his back for Tonga in Olympic conditions, whether it be sun, snow or shine.
Less than two years after shooting to international fame at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro when he walked shirtless and oiled-up into the opening ceremony, he again bared his chest for the opener of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang on Friday.
The Olympian previously expressed worries about his turn at the games, where lows average around minus-8 degrees centigrade (17.6F), telling reporters: “I want to still be alive for my race. It’s going to be freezing, so I will be keeping nice and warm.”
I won’t freeze. I am from Tonga. We sailed across the Pacific. This is nothing
Taufatofua competed in taekwondo in Rio, and is back competing in cross-country skiing, despite representing a tropical south Pacific island nation where it doesn’t snow.
Clearly, he considers himself a well-oiled machine.
“I won’t freeze. I am from Tonga. We sailed across the Pacific. This is nothing,” he was quoted as saying by the Olympic news service.
“It’s a little bit warmer being in Rio than in here … but anytime you get to represent your country is a good time.”
Taufatofua only took up cross-country skiing last year, and left his qualifying for the Winter Olympics late.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
“Taekwondo is intense, someone’s trying to kick your head in. Skiing, you have pain for an hour. Do you like short pain or long pain? But I love them both.”