Tokyo Olympics: Pita Taufatofua goes viral as Tongan athlete goes shirtless in opening ceremony

“Enough oil to fry a turkey dinner!” Taekwondo fighter Pita Taufatofua, known as the ‘Topless Tongan’, goes viral AGAIN as he walks out shirtless during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics

Tonga may only have the six athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics, but that didn’t stop them from stealing the show at the opening ceremony.

Pita Taufatofua – shirtless, ripped and seemingly saturated with baby oil – set social media on fire as he waved his country’s flag and led the team to the Japan National Stadium.

The 37-year-old, who participates in taekwondo in Tokyo, is participating in his third Olympics.

Tongan athlete Pita Taufatofua has caused another sensation after leading his country’s athletes in the Olympic opening ceremony while shirtless and smothered in baby oil

The 37-year-old taekwondo fighter went viral when he emerged as Tonga's flag bearer

The 37-year-old taekwondo fighter went viral when he emerged as Tonga’s flag bearer

It is the third Olympic Games in which Taufatofua appeared shirtless during the ceremonyceremonie

It is the third Olympic Games in which Taufatofua appeared shirtless during the ceremonyceremonie

He went viral when he also appeared shirtless at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Games and did the same at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, where he represented Tonga in cross-country skiing.

Taufatofua fans old and new took to Twitter to express their appreciation, as millions of people around the world watched Friday’s ceremony.

“There’s enough oil on the Tonga flag bearer to fry a turkey dinner, and I love it. Is this man single? Oh my God,” wrote one.

‘Tonga’s standard-bearer is heating the internet!’ said another.

“Tonga’s flag bearer wins the night for me,” another tweeter added.

There was a lot of approval on Twitter when the 'Topless Tongan' appeared

There was a lot of approval on Twitter when the ‘Topless Tongan’ appeared

Taufatofua was born in Brisbane, Australia, but grew up with his six siblings in a one-bedroom house in Tonga, which lost his family in a tropical storm.

He now splits his time between the Pacific Island and Brisbane, serving as a UNICEF ambassador, helping charities for the homeless and raising awareness about the effects of global warming.

Tonga is the second most likely country in the world to be hit by a natural disaster – after compatriot Vanuatu in the Pacific – according to the World Risk Index 2018.

Taufatofua also has an engineering degree and, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been modeling since the age of 18.

Taufatofua wears the traditional Tongan ta'ovala during the Rio Closing Ceremony in 2016

Taufatofua wears the traditional Tongan ta’ovala during the Rio Closing Ceremony in 2016

He braved the freezing temperatures and repeated the feat at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea

He braved the freezing temperatures and repeated the feat at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea

He shot to worldwide fame at the Olympic opening ceremony in Rio when, without ignoring the pleas of officials, he stripped off the official suit and walked out in nothing more than a ta’ovala. [a Tongan mat wrapped around the waist].

“I just wanted to represent my country’s culture and heritage,” he said told the BBC in 2019. ‘I had no idea it would have such an impact.’

When the television cameras focused on the ‘Topless Tongan’, it became clear that he was not sweating as previously thought, but had applied large amounts of oil to his hull and Taufatofua went viral.

Taufatofua (right) takes on Iran's Sajjad Mardani in taekwondo competition in 2016

Taufatofua (right) takes on Iran’s Sajjad Mardani in taekwondo competition in 2016

The 37-year-old has an engineering degree and works as an ambassador for Unicef

The 37-year-old has an engineering degree and works as an ambassador for Unicef

However, his taekwondo competition was not as successful as he was knocked out in his first fight.

In 2018, he became only the second Tongan to compete in the Winter Olympics, having achieved the qualifying time for cross-country skiing.

Despite freezing temperatures during the opening ceremony, he again walked away shirtless before finishing 114th out of 119 entrants in the 15km freestyle race.

Initially, Taufatofua had planned to come to the postponed 2020 Games to canoe, but he failed to qualify. Instead, he returned to taekwondo to win his place at the Games.

It came as the Covid-delayed 2020 Olympics officially opened with a symbolic display of hope and tenacity in the face of adversity at the opening ceremony.

Only 950 VIPs and world leaders attended the 68,000-seat main arena in Tokyo to see the display of light and color amid the rising number of cases in the country, forcing organizers to ban crowds.

Live stream every unmissable moment of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games discovery+, the streaming home of the Olympics.

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