Tonga's Oiled-Up Flag Bearer Is Back and Heating Up the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony

After making quite the appearance in 2016 and 2018, Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua returns to the 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony to represent his country.

By Mike Vulpo Jul 24, 2021 1:15 AMTags
Watch: 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony: Must-See Moments

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As the Tokyo Olympic Games kicked off Friday, July 23, all eyes were on the Opening Ceremony where athletes from around the world safely participated in the Parade of Nations.

And, guys? He's baaaaaack.

Before the United States team walked around Olympic Stadium, Team Tonga took center stage thanks to flag bearer Pita Taufatofua. The Internet quickly started to buzz as the 37-year-old's oiled-up abs and impressive physique reignited memories from Olympics past. 

For those curious about the coconut oil, Pita previously revealed to the Today show that the substance has cultural roots and is considered an expression of ancestral ties to Tonga and the symmetry of the human body. 

So, what brings Pita back to the Olympics for the third time? The athlete is expected to compete in taekwondo in the weeks to come. As for all the attention surrounding his traditional outfit, the motivational speaker and UNICEF ambassador didn't expect it.

The Most Memorable Moments in Olympics History

"It was really a surprise to me," he told the New York Times this week. "All of a sudden, within a day, the social media went through the roof. Who's your manager? We need to talk. I didn't even know what those words meant."

Hannah McKay - Pool/Getty Images

Instead, the fan-favorite has tried to remain focused on representing his country and performing his absolute best when the competition begins. "It's an honor to fight these guys," he said. "I'm not out there to be the best in the world. I'm out here to be the best version of me."

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ultimately, Pita may have some competition when it comes to most impressive physique at this year's Opening Ceremony. Vanuatu's flag bearer deserves some credit for representing his country and catching the eyes of viewers around the world.

Let the games begin and keeping scrolling for more must-see Opening Ceremony moments. 

Naomi Osaka
Olympic Stadium
Olympic Rings
Boxer & Nurse Arisa Tsubata
Parade of Nations
Team USA
Flag Bearers Sue Bird & Eddy Alvarez
Tonga's Pita Taufatofua
Team Argentina
Team Japan
Team France
Team Qatar
Team Greece
Team Angola
Team Italy
Team Tuvalu
Team Netherlands
Team South Africa
Team Nigeria
Team Israel
Team Kenya
Team Haiti
Team Jamaica
Team Uganda
Team Uzbekistan
Team Belgium
Team Germany
Team Palestine
View More Photos From 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony

(This story was originally published on Friday, July 23, 2021 at 7:03 a.m. PST)

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