Bare-chested Tongan flag-bearer wins Korean hearts

Courtesy of SBS Network View View 8

Nearly every athlete, that is: Pita Taufatofua, the flag-bearer from Tonga who went viral during the 2016 Summer Olympics for arriving in Rio positively glistening with body oil, made a gold medal-worthy return to the Games by opting once again to cover himself in his trusty body oil instead of, you know, the warmest sweater he could find.

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.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Taufatofua competed in the martial art of Taekwondo, but now, he's hitting the snow as a cross-country skier. "It's going to be freezing, so I will be keeping nice and warm".

Well, he changed his mind.

But he is largely considered a figurehead whose public diplomatic role, representing the country at global events, leaves it unclear how much political power he really has.

This, of course, led to inevitable links between Tonga and Bermuda - a sign of early unity in the 2018 Winter Olympics unlike any other. "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".

"When you've got no snow, it's really hard to learn a snow sport so we looked at all the different ways I could mimic being on snow without actually being on snow", he said. Behold Bermuda's flag-bearer, Tucker Murphy, who is that one friend you have who wears shorts in freezing temperatures.

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.



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