Rio Olympics 2016: The oiled-up Tongan athlete who became internet sensation is single

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

It is the question on the lips of every female spectator who saw his glistening torso steal the limelight at the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The Daily Mail delivered the good news for his millions of admirers worldwide: the oiled up Tongan flag bearer is single and looking for love.

Pita Taufatofua, 32, the first Tongan to represent his country in Olympic Taekwondo, set pulses racing when he marched into the Maracana shirtless and smothered in coconut oil.
A complete unknown until Friday's curtain raiser, it has since emerged he is a part-time model and works with homeless children - only adding to his allure.

According to Takitoa Taumoepeau, Secretary General of Tonga's National Olympic Committee, there is no long-term partner on the scene.

"There are many girls but no wife or girlfriend as far as I know,' he told Daily Mail Online exclusively. "He is straight and single. The women can keep trying."

Taufatofua lives in Brisbane, Australia but chose to represent Tonga, a Polynesian island nation with a population of 105,000, because that is where his father comes from.

Great day on the set of @todayshow with @adrianalima ! #brazil #tonga

A photo posted by Pita Taufatofua (@pita_tofua) on

He has failed to qualify for three previous Olympics occasions and suffered a slate of serious injuries, including six broken bones and three torn ligaments, on the long road to Rio.

But having finally made it, he was handed the honor of carrying the Tongan flag in the parade of nations wearing nothing but a ta'ovala, or Tongan mat.

Taufatofua said the oil was part of a tradition in Tongan culture to accentuate the athlete's power and sexual prowess.

"It was very much planned and part of our culture," added Taumoepeau. "He looked very good. We are very proud of him.

"But I think for now we will tone it down and focus on the sport. We don't want to take away the fact that we are here to compete.

"As for the reaction, it's not something we can control. I'm not surprised he has become famous. I think he's enjoying the attention - what man wouldn't be?

"But he's very humble, very down to earth. He's a great guy."

Pita makes his Olympic bow later this week in the men's over-80 kg Taekwondo event, where he will likely draw an unprecedented level of interest to what is not typically a high profile event.

The 6ft 3in hunk, who trains for six hours a day, will also be back on flag-bearing duties for the August 21 Closing Ceremony.

Speaking of his sudden fame this morning on the Today show he said: 'It was important to get our culture out there to the world.

"It was what our ancestors marched to war with 200 years ago. We use it culturally for these sorts of things."

"I was walking through the opening ceremony and they were taking lots of pictures.

"Someone came up to me and said: 'You know you're trending on Twitter in every major country?''

Despite his prior global obscurity, Taufatofua has done modelling work since he was 18.
Images on his Instagram show him launching himself into the air with a flying Taekwondo kick, posing on a motorbike and working up a sweat in the gym - while shirtless, of course.

"My dream was to become a Taekwondo Olympian - I now live for that dream. We can change the world,' he declares.

There is a heart-warming snap of his niece watching him on TV during the Olympic ceremony, captioned: 'This is my niece glued to the TV screen thousands of kilometers away."

The athlete, who speaks in a broad Australian accent and has a degree in engineering, is a devout Christian who is proud of his Tongan culture and heritage.

- Daily Mail

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