The Tongan flag bearer is back!
For several years now, and several Olympic competitions, Pita Taufatofua has been known around the world as the Shirtless Tongan or the Tongan flag bearer. In fact, this is the third time that Taufatofua has appeared at the opening ceremonies for the Olympics. The first time was in 2016 for the Rio Games and then again in 2018 for the Winter Games in Peyongchang, South Korea.
Given the fact this year’s Olympics have been largely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the opening ceremony had a different feel than usual. The team in charge of running the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan chose not to have spectators from the stadium. (This is due to Japan recently having a state of emergency due to the virus). Instead, only the athletes were present to cheer on their teammates and competitors. Meanwhile, crowds gathered outside the arena.
But even without a physical audience, Pita Taufatofua showed up and impressed everyone who watched him. And he did so alongside fellow flag bearer Malia Paseka. From the stadium and from their computer screens, many people watched in excitement as Taufatofua entered the arena. And many talked about the moment over social media (including himself!).
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 23, 2021
— Kaitlin Urka (@kaitlinurka) July 23, 2021
— GontseLeroleFan (@FanGontse) July 23, 2021
— Jamie Blynn (@jamieblynn) July 23, 2021
— Gabe (@gabethefaun) July 23, 2021
Bless Tonga and Pita Taufatofua!