OLIVIER MORIN/AFP via Getty Pita Taufatofua
Pita Taufatofua is back for the Tokyo Olympics!
Taufatofua, who first went viral for representing Tonga as a flag bearer while marching shirtless and oiled-up during the 2016 Olympic ceremony, is set to compete in his third consecutive Olympics.
Once again, the athlete has qualified to compete in Taekwondo, having secured his spot last year.
“We haven’t been able to go to any other countries to do any competition to compete against other people,” Taufatofua recently told USA Today. “There were other challenges, but there’s no victory without first going through the battles.”
However, it seems like the athlete — who also showed off his cross-country skiing skills at the 2018 Winter Olympics — will miss out on his goal of competing in three different Olympics in three different sports.
Dan Istitene/Getty Pita Taufatofua
Taufatofua, who has been training to compete in sprint kayaking since 2019, missed qualifying for the event on two occasions, first due to an injury and then due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, per USA Today. However, that didn’t stop him from traveling with his paddles.
“We need an Olympic miracle,” he told the newspaper. “I’m not sure what, but what I do know is that the Olympics is all about never giving up.”
RELATED: Sizzling Tonga Flag Bearer Goes Shirtless Again for the Olympics — This Time in Freezing Temps
Opening up about his decision to pick up a new seasonal sport for the Winter Olympics, Taufatofua previously told PEOPLE that he wanted to inspire people.
“I wanna show people who aren’t into sport or are having struggles in their life that they can do something completely new, completely out of their comfort zone, and enjoy that journey and get somewhere with it,” he said during a 2018 interview.
“People say, ‘Man you’re crazy!’ It’s like yeah, I am, but you can be crazy and you can achieve as well. And that’s what I want to show people,’ he added. “I want them to come on the journey, and I want them to be a part of this as well.”
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At both of the previous Olympics he attended, Taufatofua — who is also a UNICEF ambassador — wore traditional outfits from his nation, neither of which included tops.
As for what people can expect from this year’s Opening Ceremony, Taufatofua told USA Today last week that if ends up joining already-announced flag bearer Malia Paseka, he hasn’t ruled out another shirtless moment.
“You know what they say, ‘just keep your eyes open,’ ” he teased.