Pita Taufatofua caught the internet's attention in 2016 for his shirtless, oiled-up flag bearing at the games' opening ceremony

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 24, 2020 09:38 AM
Pita Taufatofua at the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony
OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty

Break out the body oil — the 2016 Olympics’ hunky Tongan flag bearer is back to train fans from home.

Pita Taufatofua stole the show at the opening ceremony four years ago in Rio, when he represented Tonga, carrying the country’s flag while shirtless and lathered in muscle-accentuating oil.

Now, the two-time Olympian, 36, is set to broadcast at-home fitness routines on Instagram while people self-isolate at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s happening- I am going live on the @olympicchannel insta page for the next 5 days starting today!” Taufatofua wrote on Tuesday. “I will be delivering a short, structured 10 minute workout that anyone can follow from the comfort of your lounge room. … Be ready with your sweat band, bulging biceps and corona free water bottle!”

The workouts are set to stream live on the Olympic Channel’s Instagram page at 7 a.m. EST daily through Saturday.

Taufatofua — who qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which recently got postponed due to COVID-19 concerns — competed in taekwondo in 2016, as well as cross-country skiing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. He has also expressed interest in representing his country in the sport of kayaking, according to CNN.

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Taufatofua reprised his star-making shirtless look alongside other athletes like Lindsey Vonn while closing out the winter games in 2018. The fan-favorite Olympian donned the traditional outfit to represent his home in the winter sports competitions, unlikely for his Polynesian country.

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Pita Taufatofua, 2016
Ezra Shaw/Getty

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“It still feels quite strange actually being here, because it took me 20 years to get to Rio, and just one year to get here,” Taufatofua said of his Winter Olympics debut at the time. “It’s just an honor. I mean, how many countries in the Pacific get to go to a Winter Games?”

He told reporters of his appearance in the cross-country skiing races: “People from the Pacific, these kids who are watching now, they’ll have access to something that they never knew existed before,” according to the Huffington Post. “And to me, that’s why I’m here.”

A member of the International Olympic Committee announced on Monday that this year’s summer international event would not go on as planned.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” IOC member Dick Pound explained, according to USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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