Tonga's Pita Taufatofua steals the show, again

Sean M. Haffey/AFP/Getty Images

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- Staying warm was the top priority at the opening ceremony on Friday night, when temperatures hovered below freezing. But athletes still found room for style, panache and some national swagger in their thick coats, scarves and hats -- with one notable exception. What is the Parade of Nations if not the world's biggest catwalk?

Here's who came out best.


The 28-degree weather didn't stop Tongan flagbearer Pita Taufatofua from reprising his shirtless, oiled-up entrance from the Rio Olympics. After his viral appearance in 2016, Taufatofua switched from taekwondo to cross-country skiing and started a fundraising campaign to get himself to Pyeongchang. Whether he'd show up in the same state of attire at the opening ceremony was one of the big questions leading up to the evening, and Taufatofua himself told reporters earlier in the week: "I want to still be alive for my race. It is going to be freezing outside, so I will be keeping nice and warm." Guess he couldn't resist another viral moment.


What's the best way to represent your country in its first-ever Winter Olympics? With class. Nigeria's four Olympians -- Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga (women's bobsled) and Simidele Adeagbo (women's skeleton) -- rocked stylish green-and-white coats as they marched into the Olympic Stadium. All four were previously track-and-field athletes in the U.S., born to Nigerian parents, and while they aren't expected to medal, they certainly have made an impression.


Cross-country skier Tucker Murphy -- the island's sole athlete -- braved the freezing temps in none other than red Bermuda shorts with knee-high socks, black blazers and red scarves. Never mind that it's 70 degrees at home.


The outfits at the Parade of Nations often look like flags turned into clothing, so it's always refreshing when a country goes totally off the color scheme. Japan made a risky choice by pairing bright orange (or was it pink?) jackets with blue pants.


As far as on-brand outfits go, Canada rocked it. With veteran ice dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue leading the charge, the Canadians marched in with matching red boots and thick red coats emblazoned with "Canada" on the front and the iconic maple leaf on the back.

Honorable mentions

The Dutch brightened up the stadium with their traditional powerhouse orange, while the Colombians brought some cultural flair with their ponchos. Team USA made a memorable appearance to "Gangnam Style," even if the big gloves made taking selfies tricky.

Dishonorable mentions

There isn't much room to go wrong in winter wear, but Germany managed with the odd tan and green color palette. New Zealand was one of several countries to go all black, which at the Olympics just seems like a letdown. This is one case where black does not go with everything.

(Update: The cold temps Friday night temporarily gave me some brain freeze. As I was reminded by many fans, I should have known this was traditional New Zealand wear. Apologies, Kiwis!)