Athlete Profile - Pita TAUFATOFUA

Pita TAUFATOFUA
Birth Date:  05 Nov 1983
Age:  34
Gender:   Men


Events and Medals

Event Rank
Men's 15km Free 114

Pita TAUFATOFUA - Schedule

Schedule
Start Time Event Status
Fri, 16 Feb 15:00
Men's 15km Free
Finished

Biographical Information

Highlights World Championships
YearLocationSP F
2017Lahti, FIN153


Legend
SP - Sprint, C - Classic, F - Freestyle, P - Pursuit, R - Relay, TSP - Team Sprint, Overall - Final classification Stage World Cup, xkm/xkm - Skiathlon events, DNF - Did Not Finish, DNS - Did Not Start, DSQ - Disqualified
Occupation Athlete
Education Engineering
Languages spoken English
Coach Thomas Jacob, AUT, from 2017 (wsj.com, 04 Jan 2018)
Other sports He represented Tonga in taekwondo at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 15 Dec 2016)
Injuries He tore the posterior cruciate ligament [PCL] in his knee at a taekwondo tournament in Azerbaijan in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Doctors thought he would need six months of recovery, but he fought again eight weeks later. He made it to the final of the 2012 Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament but went on to lose and was unable to walk for two to three months. (thecoconet.tv, 16 Apr 2016)

He fractured a bone in his foot and sprained his ankle at a 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament in New Caledonia. Despite the injury he fought a further two rounds and burst the swelling that had formed around his injury. He was unable to walk for six months. (thecoconet.tv, 16 Apr 2016)
Start He began skiing in January 2017, having only seen snow once before in his life. (wsj.com, 04 Jan 2017)
Reason He turned his attention to cross-country skiing after competing in taekwondo at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "After Rio I decided to find the hardest sport possible, because I needed a new challenge, and the hardest sport possible was cross-country skiing." (abc.net.au, 22 Jan 2018)
Memorable Achievement Qualifying for the taekwondo tournament at the 2016 Olympic Games. It was his fourth attempt at qualifying for an Olympic Games. (Athlete, 03 Aug 2016)
Hero Martial artist Bruce Lee. (Athlete, 03 Aug 2016)
Philosophy "You cannot beat the man that never gives up." (Athlete, 03 Aug 2016)
Awards He was selected as flag bearer for Tonga at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (OIS, 09 Feb 2018)

He was the flag bearer for Tonga at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (bbc.co.uk, 06 Dec 2016)
Additional information General
NATIONAL FIRSTS
He will become the first athlete to represent Tonga at both summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games when he competes at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. His appearance at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro made him the first Tongan taekwondo athlete to have competed at the Olympic Games. (SportsDeskOnline, 22 Jan 2018; matangitonga.to, 02 Aug 2016)

LEAVING IT LATE
Having previously failed on numerous attempts, he clinched a place at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang by meeting the qualification criteria in January 2018 at an event in Isafjordur, Iceland, with one day of the qualification period left. "I gave it absolutely everything. I died at the end. This year [we've had] so many challenges, we sacrificed everything to be here. Financially I'm in the worst position ever but I'm the happiest ever." (theguardian.com, 21 Jan 2018; espn.com, 21 Jan 2018; radionz.co.nz, 21 Jan 2018)

CHOICE OF NATIONS
Born in Australia, he moved to Tonga as an infant and could have represented either Tonga [through his father] or Australia [through his mother]. He chose to compete for Tonga due to his family heritage in the country, and in order to inspire a new generation of Tongan athletes. (YouTube, 16 Apr 2016; thecoconet.tv, 16 Apr 2016)

FORMER OCCUPATION
He worked for 15 years as a youth counsellor. (gofundme.com, 06 Nov 2017)

Social Media

Legend

: This event is Live
: Gold
: Silver
: Bronze
: Gold Medal Event
: Bronze Medal Event
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