Tonga’s Popular Olympian Pita Taufatofua Returns to Tokyo

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Pita Taufatofua became an overnight sensation when she walked topless and in sneakers five years ago. a traditional Tongan costume At the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Games and again at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Taufatofua bounced back as he walked in his third Olympics in Tokyo on Friday. will compete in taekwondo. Earlier in the day, Taufatofua said she was still in shock at the response to her traditional dress.

“This was really a surprise to me,” he said in a phone call on Friday. “In one day, suddenly, social media skyrocketed. Who is your manager? We need to talk. I didn’t even know what those words meant.”

Finally, Taufatofua came to the fore. He is now a motivational speaker and UNICEF ambassador.

“To me, the Olympics are not even about athletes,” he said. “I think we’re just a representation of every single person on the planet trying to get over something.”

Taufatofua, who started taekwondo as a child, rejected the idea that he was simply trying to capitalize on his Olympic fame. He lost in the first round in Rio, but noted that half of the judo competitors at the Olympics did the same. He also had to fight a top opponent.

“It’s an honor to fight these guys,” he said. “I’m not there to be the best in the world. I’m here to be the best version of myself.”

Taufatofua was timid about what she planned to wear to the opening ceremony.

“We have to wait and see what the Olympics bring, you know?” said. “You know, the biggest show in the world we’re in.”

(She came as she did in Rio in her traditional costume. Expect her to be trending online again anytime.)

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