Tongan Flag-Bearer Pita Taufatofua Was Centre-Stage For Rio Closing Ceremony Too

Did some taekwondo between ceremonies.

Look who’s back?

<strong>Pita Taufatofua of Tonga jumps on stage during the closing ceremony.</strong>
Pita Taufatofua of Tonga jumps on stage during the closing ceremony.
Ezra Shaw via Getty Images

Having stolen the Olympic opening ceremony, Pita Taufatofua - or “the Tonga flag-bearer” as social media preferred to call him - did a fairly good job of repeating the feat for the closing ceremony too.

As you’ll remember, Taufatofua walked into the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony as proud as proud could be.

Shirtless, muscular and covered in coconut oil, the 32-year-old was the first viral sensation of a Games that offered more memes than many of us could have hoped for (#PhelpsFace, Bolt grinning at the finishing line, Bolt laughing at the finishing line).

<strong>Taufatofua about to go viral.</strong>
Taufatofua about to go viral.
Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

For the past two weeks, as is befitting of an internet sensation, fellow athletes and celebrities took selfies with him and the media wanted interviews. Here he is with Brazillian supermodel Adriana Lima happy to oblige.

Great day on the set of @todayshow with @adrianalima ! #brazil #tonga

A photo posted by Pita Taufatofua (@pita_tofua) on

He also took part in some sport too, losing comprehensively in the men’s taekwondo over 80 kg to Iran’s Sajjad Mardani, and was clearly as proud to represent the tiny collection of Pacific islands.

His final act was to appear on stage at the closing ceremony, with wrestler Kaori Icho of Japan, swimmer Yusra Mardini of the Refugee Olympic Team and Syria, gymnast Arthur Mariano of Brazil, and runner Shaunae Miller of Bahamas.

Bryn Lennon via Getty Images