Sport The shirtless Tongan flag-bearer who became a sensation at the Rio Olympics nearly completed an incredible transition to cross-country skiing and the Winter Olympics

01:40  10 january  2018
01:40  10 january  2018 Source:   Business Insider Australia

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Pita Taufatofua became a sensation at the Rio Olympics when he showed up shirtless and slathered in oil, carrying the Tonga flag at the opening ceremony. After Rio , Taufatofua transitioned to cross - country skiing to give himself a new challenge.

Tonga's Olympic flag bearer turns hand to cross - country skiing . The Guardian - 06 Dec 2016 He rose to prominence for his oiled-up, bare-chested appearances as Tonga's flag bearer at the Rio Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, but taekwondo fighter Pita Taufatofua is now

Pita taufatofua 2© Provided by Business Insider Inc Pita taufatofua 2

One of the more memorable figures of the 2016 Rio Olympics resurfaced in time for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in an attempt to compete on the world's biggest stage again.

Pita Taufatofua became a sensation at the Rio Olympics when he showed up at the opening ceremonies shirtless and slathered in oil, carrying Tonga's flag.

Taufatofua competed in taekwondo unremarkably, losing his only match in six minutes. Nonetheless, his smile and appearance made him a fun staple of the games.

However, as documented by The Wall Street Journal's Ben Cohen and Joshua Robinson, Taufatofua was not long for taekwondo. Instead, he transitioned to cross-country skiing and tried to make the Pyeongchang Olympics in one of the most unlikely - and fairly successful - sports conversions in Olympic history.

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He’s Now a Cross - Country Skier. HITTISAU, Austria—Pita Taufatofua was not the most famous or the most successful athlete in the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics . He was the most shirtless . The previously unknown flag - bearer from Tonga marched into the world’s most-watched

Tonga's Olympic flag bearer turns hand to cross - country skiing . The Guardian - 06 Dec 2016 He rose to prominence for his oiled-up, bare-chested appearances as Tonga's flag bearer at the Rio Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, but taekwondo fighter Pita Taufatofua is now

According to The Wall Street Journal, Taufatofua's motivation for switching sports and games was simple - a new challenge. He told Robinson and Cohen that he often makes impulsive decisions.

At the time of the writing of the Wall Street Journal article, Taufatofua was one race away from qualifying for the Olympics. According to the Journal, in an effort to expand the field of the sport and allow more races from warm-weather countries, the International Ski Federation began accepting points accrued in roller-skiing events (like cross-country skiing but on wheels). Racers would have to have five finishes that satisfied a points system and Taufatofua had four such finishes on roller skis before moving to cross-country skiing.

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Pita Nikolas Taufatofua, an athlete from the small island nation who qualified for the Olympics in taekwondo, became an Internet sensation during the Opening Ceremony when he came out wearing only a ta’ovala ( Tongan mat) wrapped around his waist.

January 05, 2018. Pita Taufatofua, the guy you probably know for carrying Tonga”s flag at the Rio Olympics while shirtless and dripping with coconut oil, is hoping to be at the Winter Olympics this year. Taufatofua competed in taekwondo in Rio

The only problem for Taufatofua was that he had never been on skis or been in the snow and he had little money. Instead of driving 30 hours to the nearest mountain range (Taufatofua lives in Australia), he trained on the beach on the roller skis, saying he wrecked his body trying to get a handle on it.

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