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Sport The shirtless Tongan flag-bearer who became a sensation at the Rio Olympics nearly completed an incredible transition to cross-country skiing and the Winter Olympics

01:40  10 january  2018
01:40  10 january  2018 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

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Pita Taufatofua, the shirtless Tongan who 's become an internet sensation , is at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, this time as a cross - country skier. Taufatofua completed a remarkable transition from taekwondo to cross - country skiing , learning to snow ski in just three months.

The shirtless Tongan flag - bearer who became a sensation at the Rio Olympics nearly completed an incredible transition to cross - country skiing and the Winter Olympics .

Pita taufatofua 2© Provided by Business Insider Inc Pita taufatofua 2

One of the more memorable figures of the 2016 Rio Olympics resurfaced in time for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in an attempt to compete on the world's biggest stage again.

Pita Taufatofua became a sensation at the Rio Olympics when he showed up at the opening ceremonies shirtless and slathered in oil, carrying Tonga's flag.

Taufatofua competed in taekwondo unremarkably, losing his only match in six minutes. Nonetheless, his smile and appearance made him a fun staple of the games.

However, as documented by The Wall Street Journal's Ben Cohen and Joshua Robinson, Taufatofua was not long for taekwondo. Instead, he transitioned to cross-country skiing and tried to make the Pyeongchang Olympics in one of the most unlikely - and fairly successful - sports conversions in Olympic history.

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The Shirtless , Oiled Up Tongan Flag Bearer is Back at the Winter Olympics . It featured the normal fanfare, some awesome visual art and the usual assortment of inspiring videos/productions. On the outfit front, as you might expect, pretty much every country wore the same thing—thick coats and

On Friday, Tonga's Pita Taufatofua, who became an instant international star at the Rio Olympics when he walked into the opening ceremony shirtless , did it

According to The Wall Street Journal, Taufatofua's motivation for switching sports and games was simple - a new challenge. He told Robinson and Cohen that he often makes impulsive decisions.

At the time of the writing of the Wall Street Journal article, Taufatofua was one race away from qualifying for the Olympics. According to the Journal, in an effort to expand the field of the sport and allow more races from warm-weather countries, the International Ski Federation began accepting points accrued in roller-skiing events (like cross-country skiing but on wheels). Racers would have to have five finishes that satisfied a points system and Taufatofua had four such finishes on roller skis before moving to cross-country skiing.

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oiled-up flag bearer who became a viral sensation during the Rio 2016 Summer Games, were not disappointed during the opening ceremony of 2018 Winter because I needed a new challenge, and the hardest sport possible was cross country skiing ,” Taufatofua told the Olympic Channel in Jan

Other Tongan skiers to aim for the winter Olympics have included Fuahea Semi, also known as Bruno Banani, who represented the Royal Tonga Ski Federation at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Shirtless Tongan flag - bearer might not qualify for the Winter Olympics after all.

The only problem for Taufatofua was that he had never been on skis or been in the snow and he had little money. Instead of driving 30 hours to the nearest mountain range (Taufatofua lives in Australia), he trained on the beach on the roller skis, saying he wrecked his body trying to get a handle on it.

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