Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofua sends social media into frenzy

Pita Taukatofua of Tonga carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium. Photo / Getty Images
Pita Taukatofua of Tonga carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium. Photo / Getty Images

Of 207 athletes carrying their country's flag flag one stood out during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Tonga's Pita Nikolas Taufatofua drew a massive cheer as he entered the Maracana stadium bare-chested and wearing nothing but a ta'ovala (Tongan mat) and a lot of oil on his torso.

Taufatofua, who was born in Australia but grew up in Tonga, is Tonga's first Olympic taekwondo athlete.

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Also a part-time male model, Taufatofua is one of the seven athletes competing for the Polynesian kingdom, which has only won a medal in its history, a silver in 1996.

According to the Fiji Times on the road to Rio the athlete broke six bones, tore three ligaments, spent three months in a wheelchair, a year and a half on crutches and hundreds of hours of physiotherapy.

According to USA Today the 32-year-old had attempted to make the Olympics twice before.

He will compete in the men's +80kg division on Saturday 20 August.



- Daily Telegraph UK

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