The "Shirtless Tonga Guy" Was At The 2018 Olympic Closing Ceremony Because Of Course He Was
The 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang are officially over, but they didn't end before "Shirtless Tonga Guy" Pita Taufatofua appeared at the closing ceremony —once again shirtless and oiled up. After charming the world in 2016 at the Rio Olympic opening ceremony — where he ALSO appeared shirtless and oiled up — Taufatofua clearly decided if it's not broken, there's no need to fix it.
To recap: He first appeared is all his oily glory at the Rio closing ceremony. Then, he did it again at the PyeongChang opening ceremony. And, once more, for good measure, he rocked the same look at the 2018 closing ceremony. The latter two took real commitment on his part because it was freezing in that arena — 31 degrees on closing ceremony day. But, Taufatofua claimed after the opening ceremony that, despite having no shirt, he was just fine. (OK, buddy. Sure.) "I wasn't cold at all," he told Today. "When you're from Polynesia, the warmth comes from inside-out, not outside-in."
Perhaps he used some of the inside-out warmth again on Sunday when he appeared at the closing ceremony sans shirt. He was part of a small delegation of athletes from around the world to represent the coming-together aspect of the games and the future places it could be held in. It's not that surprising that he was shirtless once more. But, what is surprising is that he initially walked the closing ceremony parade in a shirt. A lot of shirts, actually. He was super bundled up.
Hey, can't blame him for not wanting to spend the whole ceremony without a shield from the freezing air. Still, he ended up changing for his close-up and was way more recognizable that way.
Unsurprisingly, Twitter users had a lot to say about his closing ceremony appearance. (Don't they always?)
People Were Thrilled To See Him
He's a staple of the games at this point.
But People Were Also Worried About Him Being Cold
It's below freezing there, right now, but OK.
But, Mostly, People Were Just Glad That He Was Wearing Gloves This Time
Gotta protect those hands.
Taufatofua had a blast throughout the games, in which he competed as a cross-country skier. If you're wondering how he managed to attend both the summer and the winter olympics, you're not alone. As it turns out, he had such a great time in Rio, where he competed in Taekwondo, that he decided to take the internet by storm for round two in PyeongChang. According to NBC Sports, he decided in December 2016 that he'd give cross-country skiing a shot. He was Tonga's only representative at the winter games, but boy did he represent them well (and often).
He ultimately came in 114th in his cross-country event, but winning isn't everything. As he told NBC, "I didn’t fall," which is an achievement in itself. He continued, "I was coming into the last lap thinking, ‘Please God, not in front of everyone, don’t give me my first fall. Let me finishing strong.'"
He did finish strong, and didn't even come in last. That's pretty impressive for someone who just decided to give a completely new sport a try and made the Olympics for it. And, his spirit after his race ended only proved how much fun he's having just being there. “I’d rather be finishing toward the end of the pack with all my friends than in the middle by myself. We fought together. We finished together," he told NBC.
After how popular he's gotten, Taufatofua has no desire to throw in the towel. He told NBC that he's looking ahead to Tokyo in 2020 for "something to do with water" and Beijing in 2022. “This is only just starting,” he said.
So, expect to see Taufatofua back on your TV soon — probably shirtless. It's just how he rolls.