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Tongan Man Becomes Olympic Cross Country Skier

Driven By Rio Olympic Loss

Tongan Man Becomes Olympic Cross Country Skier @pitatofua on Twitter

A Tongan Olympic athlete has achieved the unlikely, for a person who grew up in the tropics. The man who came to be known as the greased up flag bearer, Tongan taekwondo competitor Pita Taufatofua has qualified to compete at the Winter Olympics.

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In Rio he went on to lose his opening round taekwondo bout to Iranian Sajjad Mardani 16-1, but didn't give up on his Olympic dreams. He's since qualified for the cross country skiing event at the Winter Olympics in South Korea which start this weekend.

Tonga probably isn't the easiest place to launch a skiing career, with Taufatofua only seeing snow for the first time in his life two years ago.

Speaking with the Olympic Channel, the 34-year-old said he needed a new challenge after Rio, and decided to find the hardest sport possible.

"You know look at the conditions, it's like freezing, it's negative a million degrees, and then you've got to put your body through something really challenging," he said.

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