Taekwondo athlete Pita Taufatofua (TON) becomes social media sensation after Rio 2016 OC
Of the 207 athletes carrying their country’s flag, one stood out on Friday night 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.
He is one of the seven athletes competing for the Polynesian kingdom, which has only won one 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 on physiotherapy.