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Tonga’s Shirtless Flag Bearer Rocks Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, With 1 Difference
Is it even an Olympics ceremony now without Pita Taufatofua and his oiled-up torso?
By Lee Moran
07/23/2021 09:10 AM ET
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Updated Jul 23, 2021
Tonga’s flag bearer Pita Taufatofua cemented his status as a firm fan favorite at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday when he once again walked into the stadium shirtless and covered in oil.
Taufatofua, who is competing in the Taekwondo event, did the same at the opening ceremonies for the Rio summer games in 2016 and the winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, two years later, where he competed in the cross-country skiing.
This time around, though, there was one difference.
Taufatofua wore a mask, as did all athletes involved in the ceremony:
Flag bearers Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua of Team Tonga lead their team out during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Hannah McKay - Pool via Getty Images)
Taufatofua explained the outfit and oil after Rio 2016, saying they were in honor of his Oceanian culture.
Twitter users were delighted by his re-appearance on the world stage:
YES Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua and his oiled-up chest are back

“Let’s just take a minute” -Savannah #OpeningCeremony
— Kavitha A. Davidson (@kavithadavidson) July 23, 2021
And just like that billions of women around the world took a big breath in and decided Tonga was their second team this Olympic Games… 🔥😍
#olympics #TeamTonga​pic.twitter.com/Eu2OiGLY0i
— Poppy Penny (@PoppyPenny1) July 23, 2021
So Tonga’s flag bearer — I mean, the Tonga team — has arrived at the #TokyoOlympics Parade of Nations. https://t.co/ktUbAysKUh
— Nicole Lyn Pesce (@PesceNic) July 23, 2021
Bloke from Tonga went very hard on the hand sanitiser.​#Tokyo2020​pic.twitter.com/GB0fBohvGO
— Peter Helliar (@pjhelliar) July 23, 2021
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Lee Moran
Reporter, HuffPost
Suggest a correction by emailing us.
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Olympics
Opening Ceremony
Tonga
Pita Taufatofua
Shirtless
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