Hunky Tongan Flag-Bearer From Rio Qualifies For Winter Olympics

Better stock up on body oil, Pyeongchang.

Pita Taufatofua, the swooned-over shirtless Tongan flag-bearer from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, qualified for the Winter Olympics in cross-country skiing over the weekend.

“A miracle happened,” he wrote on his Instagram.

After failed bids in Poland and Armenia in the last few weeks, he barely beat Sunday’s deadline for qualifying, the Wall Street Journal reported. Taufatofua earned his Olympic berth at an event in Isafjordur, Iceland.

“I gave it absolutely everything,” he told the Journal. “I died at the end.”

Taufatofua was able to meet a five-race standard with the help of four roller-skiing events on dry land prior to his successful snow trial, the Journal noted. 

Taufatofua was a bigger hit in the opening and closing ceremonies in Rio than he was in his sport, taekwondo. He lost in the first round.

Given that his first skiing lesson was in January of last year, according to CNN, his presence will likely give the games more of a PR jolt than anything.

He told the Journal he is planning his games entrance, if he can round up the funding to get there. A parka won’t make quite the splash his coconut-oil-slathered torso did during the last go-round, so it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with.

OLIVIER MORIN via Getty Images

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