Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies: There's a new shirtless flagbearer
Tonga's Pita Taufatofua isn't there, but Nathan Crumpton, competing for American Samoa, marched in shirtless despite wintery temperatures.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
The complicated and controversial Beijing Olympics began on Friday with the traditional opening ceremonies (spoilers ahead for those to want to watch in US prime time). These Olympics look different from a non-pandemic event in numerous ways. One tradition from the last three Olympic Games, however, has continued: Viewers will still spot a shirtless, oiled-up flagbearer. But it's not the same athlete as in past years.
Nathan Crumpton, the only member of American Samoa's Olympic team, carried on the shirtless-flagbearer tradition created by Tonga's Pita Taufatofua. And his predecessor applauded him. "American Samoa holding the fort," tweeted Taufatofua.
Crumpton is competing in skeleton for American Samoa. He has an international background. Born in Kenya and trained in the US, just six months ago, he ran track for American Samoa at the Tokyo Olympics.
His appearance at the 2022 Games delighted social media. Crumpton went shirtless in 21 F (-6 C) weather, but didn't seem to feel the cold.
"Oh hello. American Samoa taking over from Tonga," one person tweeted.
"Someone tell American Samoa that it's winter," wrote another person.