Pita Taufatofua

Tonga’s Olympic flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua sets up fundraising page

The tsunami was caused by the volcanic eruption over last weekend.

Taufatofua is currently in Australia. 

“I am mobilising all the assistance I can to send to our beloved Tonga. In the coming days, weeks we will need your help.”

“Initial priority for the funds will go towards those most in need, infrastructure and damage to schools, hospitals etc. This is an ongoing fundraiser and will be updated regularly. Your assistance and support in this time of need is greatly appreciated.”

Pita Taufatofua signs off Winter Olympics with shirtless appearance

The cross-country skier from Tonga who competed in his first Winter Games with a 114th finish out of 119 competitors in the men's 15km cross-country event, showed his star power as the event came to an end.

Taufatofua has been in the spotlight since walking in the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics all oiled up and muscles bulging. He repeated that for the Pyeongchang opening ceremony on February 9.

He then took to teasing the crowd as the exciting Winter Games drew to an end.

Taufatofua's result a success for Tonga

Competing in only his sixth major race, the 34 year-old completed his run in 56 minutes and 41 seconds.

Pita Taufatofua, who took up cross-country skiing just over a year ago, finished ahead of four other competitors in South Korea, and more than 23 minutes behind the gold medallist, Dario Cologna from Switzerland.

Head of Sport for the Royal Tonga Ski Federation, Steve Grundmann, said it was a fantastic race by the double Olympian.

He said Pita Taufatofua paced his way perfectly around a difficult course and even had a smile on his face.

From Rio Games to Winter Olympics, Pita Taufatofua takes on cross-country ski

Two years ago, he was marching into the Rio summer Games carrying the Tongan flag shirtless and sporting an oily torso - last week, at sub zero temperatures, he did the same in South Korea at the Winter Olympics.

His taekwondo dream ended in a 19-1 opening-round defeat in Brazil and having turned to the snow Taufatofua's ambitions are to "finish before they turn the lights off" and "don't ski into a tree".

Tonga's Pita Taufatofua says pressure off for Winter Olympics debut

Pita Taufatofua will compete in the men's 15 km freestyle in cross-country skiing on Friday, little over a year after putting on a pair of skis for the first time.

The 34 year old, who represented Tonga in taekwondo at the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016, only confirmed his qualification three weeks ago and said it has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make it to South Korea.

"I'll never be 100 percent ready, I don't think anyone ever is," he said.

Tonga's famous flagbearer returns to steal the show

Pita Taufatofua emerged from the tunnel covered in his trademark body oil and wearing a grass skirt, sandals and a huge smile as he led the Tongan delegation around the arena.

"I won't freeze. I am from Tonga. We sailed across the Pacific. This is nothing," Taufatofua said.

The Oceania gold medallist in taekwondo made global headlines in 2016 with a shirtless entrance as the country's flagbearer at the Rio Olympics.

The good news for his admirers is that he returned for the Winter Olympics, having switched to cross country ski-ing.

Tongan flagbearer Pita Taufatofua qualifies for Winter Olympics

Taufatofua lost 15kg as he adapted his body and learned a new sport, and is now able to compete in the Winter Olympics.

He made his name after finding recognition as the oiled flagbearer for Tonga at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The 34-year-old crashed out in the first Round at Rio, but has spoken of his pride at being able to compete again:

"After Rio I decided to find the hardest sport possible because I needed a new challenge.

"You've got to put your body through something really challenging and the goal was to do it in one year - and we did it in one year!"

Tonga's Taufatofua says Winter Olympics dream still alive

The 33-year-old made global headlines as Tonga's flagbearer at the Rio Olympics last year.

He announced in December he was taking a break from taekwondo and putting on skis in an attempt to qualify for February's Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Taufatofua finished 153rd of 156 competitors in the men's sprint qualification race at the World Championships in February.

The Oceania Championship taekwondo gold medallist said skiing was far removed from his island background.

Tongan flag bearer strips off on catwalk at Pacific Fashion show

At the Pacific Fusion Fashion Show in east Auckland last weekend, Taufatofua wore fashion pieces inspired by Pacific motifs with Western trends.

There were squeals from the crowd as he stripped off to show his rock hard abs and chiselled pecs - already beloved around the world thanks to his appearance during the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The 32-year-old Taekwondo competitor sent social media into a frenzy after his oiled-up, shirtless walk as flag bearer wowed crowds.

Tongan Olympian Taufatofua sets his sight on Tokyo 2020

Kaniva news reports instead of the black costume he wore in the opening ceremony, Taukatofua wore an outfit featuring the word ‘Tonga’ in red.

The taekwondo competitor joined Julia Michaels and Kygo’s performance of their hit “Carry Me,” dancing as rain fell on the Maracana stadium.

Taufatofua also joined fellow athletes with Japanese wrestler Kaori Icho, swimmer Yusra Mardini, representing the Refugee Olympic Team and Syria, Brazilian gymnast Arthur Mariano and runner Shaun Miller of the Bahamas.