Last weekend, as you may recall, Tongan athlete and flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua set our hearts aflutter when he braved freezing temperatures to show off his shirtless rig at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
He came to this year’s games to compete in cross country skiing, which is no mean feat, considering there is no bloody snow in Tonga, but as he told reporters at the time, he picked the “hardest possible sport” because he wanted a challenge.
His event, the 15-kilometer free cross-country ski, came up this past Friday, and Taufatofua ultimately placed 114th out of 119 competitors, finishing around 23 minutes behind Switzerland‘s Dario Cologna, who took home the gold.
After completing the race, he waited by the finish line with a handful of the remaining competitors to cheer on the last place-getter, Mexico‘s German Madrazo. Speaking to reporters about his experience in the event, the plucky athlete said:
“Everyone was at the front racing to come first, we were racing not to come last, but we’ll have a good laugh over dinner. I’d rather be finishing towards the end of the pack with all my friends than in the middle by myself. We fought together, we finished together.”
Before taking up cross-country skiing, Taufatofua competed taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and he went on to say that his next goal is to compete again in a different event. “Three Olympics, three different sports, let’s see if it can be done, huh?” he said to reporters.
So what sport is he planning to take on next. “Something to do with water,” he said. “We’ll see. High jumping? Whoa. Right now staying warm would be my next sport.”
Honestly, Pita Taufatofua may have placed 114th in the skiing, but he will hold the number one spot in our hearts forever more, and we cannot wait to see what he brings to Tokyo in 2020. Also, if you want to melt into a puddle, then please go ahead and watch this interview:
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Image: Getty Images / Tim Clayton