With the 2018 Winter Olympics steadily occurring at Pyeongchang, I now have another country that I will silently root for in the back of my mind, Tonga! This is the second Winter Olympics that Tonga is participating in, with the first being in 2014. However, Tonga only has one athlete participating, Pita Taufatofua, who will compete in cross-country skiing. Taufatofua was originally born in Australia, but grew up in the small country island of Tonga. He also participated in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Taekwondo. However, this time Taufatofua almost did not qualify for the Winter Olympics. After failing to qualify in seven previous cross-country skiing events, it was his eighth attempt during the final qualifying week at Iceland when he finally succeeded. Now with a year and a half of training, Taufatofua is the first ever Polynesian cross-country skier to compete in the Olympics.
“We sacrificed everything to be here. Financially I’m in the worst position ever but I’m the happiest ever”