After Pita Taufatofua's good looks and glistening torso sent social media into a meltdown, American hosts on NBC's Today show got up close and personal with Tonga's flag bearer in Rio.

Jenna Bush Hager - former president George W. Bush's daughter - started rubbing Taufatofua down even before fellow host Hoda Kotb slathered coconut oil over his defined muscles in a segment that left onlookers green with envy.

The 32-year-old Taekwondo athlete led his country into Maracanã Stadium during Friday's opening ceremony, wearing nothing but a ta'ovala, or Tongan dress-wear.

Taukatofua struggled to maintain his composure during the interview. Photo / via Today
Taukatofua struggled to maintain his composure during the interview. Photo / via Today

Taufatofua told anchor Al Roker participating in the opening ceremony was a "surreal" experience.

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"It was crazy- it was 20 years worth of work to get me there. It was sort of surreal- it's hard to describe. It was a crazy, crazy feeling," he said.

Hager later emerged, running her hand on his shoulder and declaring, "Very oily!" as Al Roker tried to continue the interview.

Taukatofua told anchor Al Roker participating in the opening ceremony was a
Taukatofua told anchor Al Roker participating in the opening ceremony was a "surreal" experience. Photo / AP

Roker mentioned Taufatofua's setbacks on the road to Rio, which the athlete started explaining - only to be left spluttering once Kotb and Hager laid their hands on him.

Kotb said, "Go on, we're listening!" but the crowd erupted and Taufatofua struggled to maintain his composure.

Al Roker ended the segment by declaring, "There are children watching!" and Natalie Morales, who was left out in the cold, ended up rubbing the oil on her own arms.


Taufatofua stole the show when he marched into the opening ceremony proudly waving the tiny Polynesian nation's flag wearing nothing but a ta'ovala, or Tongan mat.

People watching the ceremony expressed their appreciation on social media, with Slava Malamud tweeting: "The sound you hear is your wife running away to the Tongan flag bearer."

Although Taufatofua competes for Tonga, he was born in Australia and lives in Brisbane, where he works in "homeless shelters with the underprivileged to show and teach people the power of self belief", according to his Generosity.com page.

The 32-year-old won gold competing in the 80+ kg competition at the Oceania Olympic Tournament.

After trying to make the previous two Olympics, Taufatofua became the first-ever Tongan athlete to qualify in Taekwondo in April.

But he broke six bones and tore three ligaments during his training for Rio.
As a result, he spent three months in a wheelchair, a year and a half on crutches and hundreds of hours in physiotherapy, Fiji Times reported.

But he made it to the games as a self-funded athlete, raising US$8882 on the website Generosity.com.

He has modeled since he was 18, and his Instagram account shows some of his work, including a wedding photoshoot.

Taufatofua also has a degree in engineering and is currently completing his Masters.