Tonga's bare-chested Olympic flag-bearer
Pita Taufatofua, Tonga's bare-chested flag-bearer for their one-man Winter Olympics team, was given a warm reception by the crowd in sub-zero temperatures at the Opening Ceremony on Friday. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua emerged from the tunnel covered in body oil and wearing a grass skirt, sandals and a huge smile as he led the Tongan delegation around the arena. REUTERS/Phil Noble
The 34-year-old Taufatofua also carried his country's flag at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (R) where he competed in taekwondo. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/Stoyan Nenov
The flag of Tonga is paraded during the Pyeongchang opening ceremony. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
The Australia-born 34-year-old had never seen snow until two years ago but will become just the second athlete from the balmy Pacific nation to qualify for a Winter Games. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Having eschewed movie offers and modelling contracts after a telegenic appearance at the Rio Olympics, taekwondo fighter Taufatofua (seen here during qualifications at the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Lahti, Finland in February 2017) will...more
Taufatofua (R, seen here competing against Iran's Sajjad Mardani in Rio) had to battle through four Olympic cycles to become Tonga's first Olympic taekwondo competitor at Rio, so making it to Pyeongchang was a doddle by comparison. REUTERS/Issei...more
"It still feels quite strange actually being here because it took me 20 years to get to Rio, (and) just one year to get here," the former youth worker told Reuters at the Pyeongchang athletes' village. "But, you know, it's just an honor. I mean, how...more
The image of Taufatofua -- oiled up, shirtless and wearing a traditional Tongan skirt at the head of the country's tiny delegation at Rio's Maracana stadium -- went viral on social media, thrusting him into minor celebrity. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
His appearance at the taekwondo tournament was over quickly, however, with a 16-1 thrashing in his first match. But in the birth country of taekwondo, he was more than happy to break out a few spinning kicks for the benefit of a scrum of South Korean...more
Offers of paid modelling gigs and film roles were swept aside after Rio, however, as Taufatofua pondered his next great challenge. The gruelling discipline of cross-country skiing proved an easy choice. It was the "hardest" thing he could think of...more
With no snow in Tonga or near his Brisbane base in Australia, Taufatofua's training regime began with running on sand dunes with wooden planks strapped to his feet. "We had to mimic being on snow while not being on snow," he said. "We'd strap pieces...more
Financing his second Olympic dream was also a constant battle and he started a crowdfunding campaign to pay for training in proper northern hemisphere snow. He failed in his first six attempts to qualify but reached the mark in his final chance, only...more
Taufatofua's cross-country skiing adventure may only be a quick diversion before he re-focuses on taekwondo, a sport that has given him six broken bones, three torn ligaments and hundreds of hours of rehabilitation. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
A third successive Olympic appearance at the 2020 summer Games in Tokyo may be on the agenda. "Taekwondo and skiing, now they're all in my blood," he said. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Pita Nikolas Taufatofua leads his contingent during the athletes' parade at the Rio 2016 opening ceremony. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
Athletes march behind their flags as the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics begin.
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A 137-strong North Korean orchestra performs in Gangneung, the first performance by North Koreans in the South since 2000.