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Pita Taufatofua, Tonga Olympic Flag-Bearer, Trades Taekwondo For Cross-Country Skiing

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He’s never skied in his life, but that little detail doesn’t matter to Tonga’s Olympic flag-bearer.

You know him. Pita Taufatofua, the summer Olympian who made headlines for his shirtless and shiny entrance at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

A self-described “complete underdog,” the taekwondo competitor announced Tuesday he wants to be the first-ever male cross-country skier to represent Tonga at the 2018 Winter Games.

pita taufatofua
Pita Taufatofua of Tonga leads his contingent during the athletes' parade at the opening ceremony. (Photo: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

“I spent my whole life chasing my Olympic dream,” the 33-year-old athlete said. After not winning a medal in Rio, Taufatofua said he wants to evolve his dream into a different season.

It’s a little bit colder,” he joked.

After bailing onto his face on a flat patch of snow, the Tongan flag-bearer said he’s not motivated by a gold medal. He just wants to inspire people.

“My goal is to let people see: if I can do it, they can do it,” he said.

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