Poor Gisele Bundchen. The supermodel strutted and showed off her long legs at the Olympics opening ceremony on Aug 5, but her thunder was stolen by a well-oiled Tongan.
When Tonga flag bearer Pita Taufatofua made his shirtless appearance, Twitter users around the world had a collective meltdown. One tweet read: “Moving to Tonga. Their national dress is a six pack covered in baby oil. #OpeningCeremony”
It helped that Pita wore only a ta’ovala (a Tongan mat), wrapped around his waist and copious amounts of oil on his torso, which provided a very glossy shine. Pita’s smile and six pack went viral, making him Insta-famous on social media.
Pita was actually born in Australia and raised in Tonga. His father is Tongan and his mother Australian-British. He began taekwondo at age five. He now lives in Brisbane, where he trains six hours a day.
A first-time Olympian, Pita, 32, is one of just seven athletes competing in Rio from the island nation of 105,000 people. He is the first in Tonga’s history to compete in taekwondo, and will be in action on Aug 19.
Pita learnt a month ago that he would be Tonga’s flag bearer and immediately decided he would walk out in a traditional dress. “For us, it was important to get our culture out to the world,’’ he said in an interview with American morning talk show TODAY. “I said to them I want to march in what our ancestors wore 200 years ago and this is what it was.”
Well, the Internet is certainly grateful he made that decision.
Here are 5 facts about Pita that will make him hotter – no oil needed:
1. He has an engineering degree and is working on his master’s degree. So, not only is he a good looker, he’s smart.
2. And he has a big … heart. Pita works at Sandgate House, training homeless children to develop independent living skills.
3. In the course of his Olympic career, Pita has experienced “six broken bones, three torn ligaments, three months in a wheelchair, a year and a half on crutches and hundreds of hours of physiotherapy.”
4. Pita raised funds for his training and trip to the Olympics via Generosity, which is part of Indiegogo. According to his Generosity page, “Pita sacrificed his whole adult life working in homeless shelters with the underprivileged to show and teach people the power of self belief.”
5. He has 112K followers on Instagram, which is no doubt increasing by the minute. His most recent posting is with Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima, now one of his many fans. Others posts include smiling selfies, cute kids and a dislike of activities that require shirts. We ain’t complaining!