Pete Taufatofua, Tonga, which attracted 250 million Google hits when he & # 39; was lubricated and shirtless in his national costume at the Olympics in the opening of the Rio de ceremony, announced its third Olympic bid – in two different sports.
Taufatofua competed in Rio in taekwondo, crashing in the first round of the Iranian Seyzhzhed Mardan. It took 15 years of injury, frustration and determination to get to the Olympics, but he stepped global celebrity; it's just not for the glory of sport.
Less than two years later he returned to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, this time as a skier. He grew up in Tonga, lived in Brisbane, and barely seen snow when he began his training on roller skis. "I ate a lot of concrete, but I had one year to get ready," he said.
He did not actually meet the snow up to four months before the Games, where the qualifying rounds he came last in almost every race against world champion Norwegians and Scandinavians. At the 11th hour, he managed to qualify for the final race of the fjord in Iceland, and could finish only 25 minutes behind Dario Cologna of Switzerland, in Pyeongchang.
This time, he will try another new sport, sprint kayaks. "It's a brute force type of sport," said Taufatofua. He also plans to try again to qualify in taekwondo. "I do not know if the two sports are allowed," he said.
Until now, his kayak training was mostly "strength and conditioning", while he tries to find a balance in a kayak on the Brisbane River. "This is a bit of a challenge, these kayaks are very unstable, you just think about tipping, and you turn. Brisbane River strong current and bull sharks. Thus, we have to figure out ways to try to stay in a kayak and not tip over, "he said.
He frequently travels to Tonga "to do things in the lagoon."
Being Polynesian, the island of the South Pacific, Taufatofua feels deeply connected with kayaking. "This is a sport that runs in our blood," he said. "We've got a strong connection with the ocean. A thousand years before Cook and Tasman our ancestors came to the island in the outrigger canoes with nothing. "
Taufatofua was on the water with a very young age. "I would like to go fishing, canoeing, paddle to the age of seven, and put the line," he said.
But he admits that the race is a different story. "This is a very complicated and difficult sport," he said. "Just to balance and mildew requires technology that other boaters while doing all his life. For Tonga to qualify for a place where I would have to beat Australia, New Zealand and all the other islands. There is only one place for Oceania at the Olympics. It's kind of impossible, I like to pretend I have to beat Olympic medalists in the new sport. It's a pipe dream. "
With him from the very beginning was his master of taekwondo coach Paul Sitapa, who is still his coach. "[He] It gets me in a boat on the lagoon at midnight and leads me to paddle twice as fast as the next day. "
He also begins his book Motivation Station. "I wrote every word, the motivation is definitely a big thing for me," he said. He also talks about how climate change is accelerating in the Pacific Islands. Engineering graduate of the University of Queensland, who has worked with street children in Brisbane for 15 years trying to qualify for his first Olympics, Taufatofua a multifaceted athlete.
If he does not make it to the Olympics in any sport, Taufatofua, «strong" Christian said: "I'll be happy. We are talking about putting your best foot forward. My goal is to get a medal, but my plan, the plan of life and what is happening in the middle. But I hope that it will be more to my plan. "