There’s a new shirtless, oiled up flag bearer at this year’s Winter Olympic Games.
We all remember Pita Taufatofua of Tonga making a splash at the Rio 2016 Olympics when he served as a shirtless flag bearer for his team during the Parade of Nations. He went on to reprise his role as flag bearer for the 2018 and 2020 Olympics.
— Graeme O'Neil (@GraemeONeil) August 6, 2016
Taufatofua is not competing in Beijing as he is working to help rebuild Tonga after an off-shore volcano devastated the island country.
Meet Nathan Crumpton, who’s representing American Samoa in Beijing in the sport of skeleton. Crumpton stepped up to fill a shirtless void during Friday’s Opening Ceremonies at the Olympic Stadium. And of course, the media was more than happy to cover Crumpton’s entrance.
Born in Kenya, Crumpton graduated from Princeton where he competed in track and field. He moved to the Rocky Mountains following college where his competitive nature led him to discover the sport of skeleton.
In the fall of 2014, he qualified for his first US National Team, ranked #5 in the country at the US National Team Trials. The following year he finished ranked #2 in the USA. At the 2016 World Championships for skeleton, he finished as the top ranked American racer and #8 in the world. In the fall of 2016, he was ranked #2 in the U.S.
After spending 8 years with Team USA, he decided to embrace his Hawaiian heritage and joined the American Samoan skeleton team for the 2019-2020 season, where he’s been a team of one. He qualified for his 3rd World Championships finishing #18 in the world.
Crumpton surprised even himself, though, when he qualified for the 100m sprint at the (delayed) 2020 Summer Olympics after spending a decade focusing on skeleton.
In 2022, he qualified for the Beijing Winter Olympics after finishing the regular skeleton season ranked #26 in the world.
His participation in these Games makes him just the 140th athlete to compete in both Winter and Summer Olympics. Plus, he is American Samoa’s first Winter Olympic athlete in 28 years.
And so it was that Crumpton found himself shirtless and oiled up, in traditional American Samoa garb, proudly carrying the territory’s flag in 23 degree cold.
Taufatofua chimed in on Twitter writing “American Samoa holding the fort” with applause emojis.
— Pita Taufatofua (@pitaTofua) February 4, 2022
The men’s skeleton competition at the Beijing Games begin February 10.
It may come as no surprise that Crumpton is also a successful model in the fitness/sport sector and an accomplished photographer.
In related news, speed skater Brittany Bowe was the only out athlete to serve as a flag bearer when she led Team USA in the Parade of Nations.
Bowe, who scored a bronze medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics, is considered a favorite to win gold in the women’s 1000m race.
Among her other sporting hardware are four gold medals from the Speed Skating Championships, a gold from the Pan American Games, and eight gold medals at the Women’s World Championships for inline speed skating.
Bowe was originally selected as a backup flag bearer, but stepped up when another athlete tested positive for COVID.
Team USA shared photos on social media featuring Bowes and her fellow flag bearer, curler John Shuster.