'I won't medal on Friday, but in four years someone from Tonga might' – Tongan flagbearer aiming to create history in PyeongChang

Tongan Winter Olympics flagbearer and cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua is hoping his performances in PyeongChang will inspire athletes in not just his home nation, but all across the Pacfic for future games to come.

After making the switch from taekwando, the sport that he represented Tonga in at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Taufatofua will this year be the island nations sole participant in PyeongChang, hoping his efforts serve as an example for future Olympians.

"The truth of the matter is that I've had a short time on snow, I won't medal on Friday," he said yesterday.

"But in four years someone from Tonga might, in eight years someone from the Pacific might."

"More importantly, these kids from the Pacific who are watching now, they'll have access to something they never knew existed before, and to me, that's why I'm here."

Pita Taufatofua is hoping to inspire the next generation of Pacific athletes at the Winter Olympics. Source: 1 NEWS


'I don't know much about snow' – Tongan flagbearer breaks down his new challenge

Tonga's Winter Olympics flagbearer Pita Taufatofua opened up about his switch to cross-country skiing in order to compete at this year's games in PyeongChang.

Having competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Taufatofua jumped sports to compete at this year's Winter Olympics, this time as a cross-country skier.

Speaking to media in PyeongChang last night, Taufatofua spoke about his journey to this year's games.

"I needed this new challenge," he said.

"I'm not a distance athlete, I don't know much about snow, but I'm learning."

"I learnt on roller skis throughout the year in Australia and Tonga. We had no access to funds or equipment at that stage - but we found ways." 

Pita Taufatofua made the switch to cross country skiing to compete in PyeongChang this year. Source: 1 NEWS



'We will rebuild' - Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofua shares touching message for cyclone-hit Tonga from Winter Olympics

Tonga's Olympic flag bearer Pita Taufatofua has sent a special message to his people tonight after the Pacific nation was battered by Cyclone Gita earlier in the week.

Taufatofua represented Tonga at the 2016 Rio Olympics and is competing in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the cross-country skiing event.

"The Tongan people and Pacific Islanders have a very unique personality - they laugh at everything," said Taufatofua.

"They joke about everything, they do it in a way that they can make light of anything – it can be the most worst possible circumstance.

"They'll find some way to turn it into a positive and that is something very unique about Polynesians."

Taufatofua said the heart of the Tongan people and culture will help them get through.

"If there is a specific message to them you know we will rebuild," said Taufatofua.

"We've been rebuilding for a thousand years, we've had cyclones come before.

"What hasn't been affected is the heart of the people.

"Buildings we can repair but the core values and the core strengths of the Tongan people, no cyclone can come through and affect them – that hasn't been touched.

"And that's what is going to get our people through this."

Taufatofua says Cyclone Gita won't affect "the heart of the people". Source: 1 NEWS