April 19, 2018

Pita Taufatofua, Shirtless Tongan, Makes Freezing Olympics Return

10 February 2018, 02:07 | Rufus Hill

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More than 1,200 people including 1,000 residents of Gangwon Province form the shape of a dove out of candlelight during the opening ceremony

Taufatofua is literally the only competitor from his country at this year's Winter Olympics.

Pita Taufatofua is back, shiny and topless as ever, despite the 32-degree Fahrenheit temperature during Friday's Opening Ceremonies.

Taufatofua competed in taekwondo in Rio.

"Every time I ski I die a little bit inside", he said recently, highlighting the grueling nature of cross country, considered to be of the most physically demanding disciplines on the Winter Games program.

But of the millions watching around the world, few had any idea of the sacrifice and determination behind Taufatofua's dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. When he qualified to compete in cross country skiing for the games in Pyeongchang, there was plenty of talk as to whether or not he would do it again.

Pita Taufatofua will represent Tonga at the 2018 Pyeonchang Winter Olympics. For the Winter Olympics.

At the time that he made a decision to pursue his Winter Olympics goal, according to Grand Stand Central, Taufatofua had under a year until the 2018 Opening Ceremonies. "The goal was to do it in one year - and we did it in one year!"

"It's the hardest thing I've ever done", he said.

Prince Henrik was hospitalised for a lung infection last month, but his condition has "seriously worsened", as his son, who is an International Olympic Committee member, made the dash home. Bermuda also turned up in their shorts and everyone was just as willing to show them the same love they had given to Tonga. "It's going to be freezing, so I will be keeping nice and warm", at the time.

As for his Opening Ceremony attire - or rather lack of it - Taufatofua admitted the freezing temperatures were very much on his mind.

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