At the Beijing Winter Olympics, American Samoa’s Nathan Crumpton upheld the shirtless, oiled flagbearer tradition pioneered by Brisbane’s Pita Taufatofua.
Pita Taufatofua, a constant presence at recent Olympic Games is currently busy on relief efforts for Tonga following the devastating January 15 volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami.
He, of course, stole the opening ceremony at the 2016 Rio Games. When he carried the Tongan flag into the stadium wearing a traditional Tongan tupenu wrap, and an ocean of coconut oil, the world went wild.
Pita repeated the performance for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and Vanuatu joined in. Rillio Rii carried the Vanuatu flag into the stadium also dressed in traditional costume and a litres of oil.
But would we see a shirtless flagbearer in Beijing with the temperature below -5 degrees Celcius?
Yes. The shirtless, oiled Pacific flagbearer tradition indeed endured.
American Samoa’s Nathan Crumpton braved the frigid temperature in traditional costume, oil and thongs. Nathan Crumpton is a skeleton sledder and the only athlete from American Samoa competing at the Beijing Winter Olympics. He normally lives in the United States and works as a professional model and photographer.
Pita Taufatofua took time out from Tongan relief efforts to tweet a shoutout. “American Samoa holding the fort 🙌🏽🙌🏽😅😁 #StrongerTogether” he tweeted, along with a pic of Nathan Crumpton carrying the flag.
— Pita Taufatofua (@pitaTofua) February 4, 2022
Now it seems the shirtless Pacific flagbearer tradition will continue as an integral component of Olympic opening ceremonies. But there are a lot of other countries out there in that big blue ocean. Do we dare hope that one day, shirtless flagbearing may be included as an official sport?