Long live those chiseled, oiled-up, glistening Tongan abs. [Takes deep breath.] Pita Taufatofua, a taekwondo athlete who was propelled into the international spotlight at the 2016 Olympics thanks to his above-satisfactory chest region and flag-waving skills, made his valiant Olympiad return with the Winter Games. He earned a spot to compete for his home nation in the 15k cross-country ski race on Friday — despite never training for the sport, or laying eyes on snow, until a few months ago. In a pleasant surprise to everyone, including himself, Taufatofua managed not to finish dead last in the rigorous race, instead placing 114th out of the 119 total competitors. He ended about 22 minutes behind the race’s winner.
“Everyone was at the front racing to come first, we were racing not to come last, but we’ll have a good laugh over dinner,” Taufatofua joked after the race with his fellow stragglers. “I’d rather be finishing towards the end of the pack with all my friends than in the middle by myself. We fought together, we finished together.” He also teased a return to a future Olympic Games, likely with a new event: “Three Olympics, three different sports, let’s see if it can be done, huh?”
No complaints from us.