Tokyo Olympics: Oiled-up Tonga flag bearer returns to steal spotlight at Games

The Olympics are back, and with them have come the ubiquitous oiled-up Tonga flag bearer.

After his show-stealing appearances at Rio 2016 and the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018, Pita Nikolas Taufatofua has again been given the honour of leading the team at the opening ceremony in Tokyo, his chiseled torso dripping with more coconut oil than ever before.

Taufatofua soaks it all in at Tokyo National Stadium.
Taufatofua soaks it all in at Tokyo National Stadium. Photo credit: Getty

Four years ago, Taufatofua earned cult status in Brazil, as his glistening physique captured the world's attention, so much so he was invited to make a cameo appearance during the closing ceremony, taking to the stage at dance at Maracena Stadium - lathered in oil, of course.

The 37-year-old will compete in Taekwondo He's also previously represented Tonga in cross-country skiing, becoming the nation's first ever Winter Olympian in South Korea three years ago.

"Looks like we're going to need more coconut oil," Taufatofua joked on Instagram, after qualifying back in March.

But this time around, Taufatofua had to share the limelight with a shirtless Melanesian, as rower Rillio Rii carried the flag for Vanuatu with his shiny, toned physique on full display.

Rii will compete in the single sculls as one of just three Vanuatu athletes in action at this year's Games. He finished sixth and last in his heat overnight, but will have another chance to advance in the repechage on Saturday.

Vanuatu's Riilio Rii.
Vanuatu's Riilio Rii. Photo credit: Getty

Nicknamed 'Rio', Rii won Vanuatu's first-ever gold medal at an international competition at the 2018 Commonwealth Rowing Championships.

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