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Tonga's Shirtless Flag Bearer Rocks Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, With 1 Difference

Is it even an Olympics ceremony now without Pita Taufatofua and his oiled-up torso?

Tonga’s flag bearer Pita Taufatofua cemented his status as a firm fan favorite at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday when he once again walked into the stadium shirtless and covered in oil.

Taufatofua, who is competing in the Taekwondo event, did the same at the opening ceremonies for the Rio summer games in 2016 and the winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, two years later, where he competed in the cross-country skiing.

This time around, though, there was one difference.

Taufatofua wore a mask, as did all athletes involved in the ceremony:

Flag bearers Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua of Team Tonga lead their team out during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020
Flag bearers Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua of Team Tonga lead their team out during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Taufatofua explained the outfit and oil after Rio 2016, saying they were in honor of his Oceanian culture.

Twitter users were delighted by his re-appearance on the world stage: