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Tonga's oiled-up, shirtless flag bearer once again captured the world's adoring gaze during the Olympics opening ceremonies — this time, in frigid winter weather.

"I won't freeze. I am from Tonga. We sailed across the Pacific. This is nothing," Pita Taufatofua told the Olympics' news service. "It's a little bit warmer being in Rio than in here ... but anytime you get to represent your country is a good time."

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.


Taufatofua, 34, became a viral sensation during the 2016 Summer Olympics, and he's doing it all over again. This time, audiences are in awe of his commitment to bearing the 32-degree weather in Pyeongchang — without the benefit of a shirt or pants.

Fans from all over the world took to Twitter to root for Taufatofua and the country he represents.

Taufatofua is, in fact, the ONLY representative for Tonga — and he had to learn a completely new sport just to compete.

Since Tonga is an island country, its Winter Olympic representation has been understandably sparse. But Taufatofua, who competed in taekwondo during the Rio Olympics, had his heart set on competing in 2018. To qualify for the Pyeongchang Games, he learned cross-country skiing in just a year, all while living in a nation where it actually doesn't snow. He said he'd never even seen snow until two years ago.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever done," he said about the sport.

But, inspiringly, all his training paid off — Taufatofua has become just the second athlete from Tonga to ever qualify for the Winter Olympics.

While U.S. athletes debate who should have carried their country's flag, Taufatofua is just happy to be here.

Tonga's inspiring story contrasts with a controversy surrounding the U.S. flag bearer. Gold-winning speed skater Shani Davis skipped the ceremony after saying he was unfairly passed over in favor of luge competitor Erin Hamlin during a tie-breaking coin toss.

Meanwhile, Taufatofua is continuing to promote the message of life-changing inspiration that has made him more than just a pretty face to millions of fans around the globe.

The Olympics are about global unity. And nothing fosters harmony like an inspiring story of overcoming adversity ... and perfectly shined pecs.  

In the rush to collect gold medals, it's easy to forget the games were created to foster peace and unity amongst the world's nations. Even as we marvel at his impressive physique, it's good to be reminded of Taufatofua's bigger message: "It's just an honour. I mean, how many countries in the Pacific get to go to a Winter Games?"

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.