Why the Olympian — who you'll see again in next week's closing ceremony — representing Tonga is more than just his good looks
1. He holds his culture up in high regard Contrary to popular belief, Pita Taufatofua didn't get slicked up for sex appeal. According to the 32-year-old, the coconut oil was used to express ancestral ties to Tonga and highlight the symmetry of the human body. His garb is a also a nod to tradition. "I want to march in what our ancestors wore 200 years ago and this is what it was," says the Olympian, whose father is from Tonga (his mother is Australian).
2. As Tonga's first Olympian to represent the country in taekwondo, he's worked his butt off just like the best of us It took Taufatofua three tries to get to Rio. Third time's a charm for the man, who won the Oceania taekwondo qualifying tournament in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea back in February. The engineering graduate is also self-funded with a little help from crowdsourcing — he's been at it months before the Olympics began.
3. He understands the importance of inspiring children from a young age As soon as he qualified for Rio, Taufatofua returned to his alma mater Tonga High to give the kids a speech about pursuing their dreams. He's also taught local Thai kids at Sabai Sabai resort Thailand the sport — for free.