'Oily Tongan' flagbearer Pita Nikolas Taufatofua qualifies for Winter Olympics

Annette Crawford
January 21, 2018

The name Pita Taufatofua may not mean much to you but the image of Pita Taufatofua will probably have stuck in your mind.

Tonga's topless, oil slathered flag-bearer became a viral sensation during Rio's opening ceremony.

He left it late to qualify for Pyeongchang, leaving it to his last race in Iceland to collect the points he needed.

The Winter Olympics will be contested between February 9 and February 25.

"After Rio I chose to find the hardest sport possible because I needed a new challenge", he said.

Pita Taufatofua has qualified as cross-country skier in the 2018 Winter Olympics
Pita Taufatofua has qualified as cross-country skier in the 2018 Winter Olympics

"I have just qualified Tonga for the Winter Olympics, the first time in history", a beaming Taufatofua told the Olympic Channel.

Pita Taufatofua took up the brutal cross-country skiing after losing his first-round taekwondo match at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He announced four months later that he was giving cross-country skiing a shot with the hope of qualifying for the Pyeongchang games.

Taufatofua's journey to the Winter Olympics has been eventful, from using roller skis in South America to failed runs in eastern Europe.

Taufatofuaeven drove more than two hours through a blizzard in the Arctic Circle to get to the final race attempt in Isafjordur, Iceland. I thought, "I have to give it my all".


Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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