One familiar face will not be present at the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Beijing.
Tonga’s beloved flag bearer Pita Taufatofua—who has competed in both the summer and winter games for taekwando and cross-country skiing—will not be taking part in this year’s competition. He will instead be working to help victims of the tsunami and volcano eruption that hit the Pacific country.
He stated that his focus right now is to help the Tonga rebuild. “Then and then, my energies will shift back towards the Olympics.”
On Jan. 15, an underwater volcano near Tonga erupted. CNN reports that huge plumes filled with ash, steam, and gas entered the atmosphere. The eruption caused a tsunami.
Tonga’s volcano eruption leaves Tongana covered with ash, and the tsunami then hits Tonga. “It’s been a terrible last few days,” Taufatofua, an Australian Olympic reporter said. After seeing the video of the coming waves, I was stunned and realized that this would be a disaster for the island. We are going to need assistance.