Winter Olympics: Shirtless Tongan flagbearer Pita Taufatofua grabs attention again

Flag bearer Tucker Murphy of Bermuda and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeong Chang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Pyeong Chang Olympic Stadium

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea are in full swing and the world can't seem to get enough of the shirtless, oiled-up, Tongan flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua.

A lover of sport - and perhaps his moment in the spotlight - he chose to set his sights on the Winter Olympics.

"Every time I ski I die a little bit inside", he said recently, highlighting the grueling nature of cross country, considered to be of the most physically demanding disciplines on the Winter Games program.

"It's quite amusing because that moment was a really big thing, but it was 20 years of hard work behind that moment just to actually get there", Taufatofua told CNN ahead of the start of the Winter Olympics.

Remember Pita Taufatofua from the Summer Olympics in Rio?

"It's the hardest thing I've ever done", he said. "The goal was to do it in one year - and we did it in one year!"

The snowless, tropical nation made its Winter Games debut in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, with its only representative Bruno Banani finishing 32nd out of 39 in the men's luge event.

"This was the last day of the qualification process, this was my last race possible and we did it".

As the head of state, he took part in both North-South summits in Pyongyang, meeting South Korean president Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and his successor Roh Moo-hyun seven years later. "It is going to be freezing outside so I will be keeping nice and warm".

Taufatofua, who is to compete in cross-country skiing, raised eyebrows among spectators by appearing greased up and topless - despite freezing temperatures of -2ºC during the ceremony.

"I've come in as the last seed so I think I'm the last ranked person there - so if I get a gold medal, I'll be happy; If I come last, I'll be happy".

But it wasn't his athletic performance or his role as the proud pole-bearer in the opening ceremony that set tongues wagging, it was his athletic physique and boyish good looks.

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