Pita Taufatofua, the shirtless, oiled-up Tongan flag bearer who went viral at the Olympics in Rio and PyeongChang, said he will announce a switch to a new sport “within the next two months” and hopes to announce it on Olympic Day on June 23 in Tonga.
“What I’m going to present is a sport that’s much more aligned with being a Tongan and being a Pacific Islander,” Taufatofua said on Australian radio Thursday. “It’s aligned with the water, the sea. So, wait and see.”
Taufatofua said in PyeongChang, after finishing in 114th place in a cross-country skiing race, that he was planning to pursue a new sport “in the water” when asked about a potential Tokyo 2020 appearance.
Taufatofua made his Olympic debut in taekwondo in Rio, losing his opening match by mercy rule.
Taufatofua also said on Australian radio on Thursday that he is coming out with a book (an ebook, according to his Instagram).
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With a bronze medal in Lake Placid earlier today, Kendall Wesenberg became the first American to reach the World Cup podium in skeleton in two years.
Wesenberg, who finished 17th at her first Olympics in PyeongChang, had a combined time of 1:51.10 in Lake Placid. Prior to today, her last podium finish at the World Cup was in St. Moritz in January 2017.
“This has never been my strongest track, so we really broke it down piece by piece, and I think it paid off,” Wesenberg said, according to USA Bobsled and Skeleton. “The second run, I kind of tried to throw it away at the top there. By the time I made it to corner 10, I was just thinking ‘build speed, build speed.”
Wesenberg, 28, grew up in California’s Central Valley, but her interest in sliding sports piqued while watching the 2010 Vancouver Games. When the commentators discussed the athletic backgrounds of the athletes, Wesenberg realized she played some of the same sports growing up. A quick Google search brought her to the USA Bobsled and Skeleton page. She told her siblings she was thinking of trying skeleton. They said she’d never do it. Challenge accepted.
Wesenberg emailed a U.S. coach and signed up for a combine and driving training in January 2011. Seven years later, she was sliding on Olympic ice.
Sliding coverage continues today on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, with women’s bobsled live at 3:15 p.m. ET and men’s bobsled live at 4:15.