Olympics opening ceremony memes: Tonga doesn't give a shirt

A shirtless and greased-up Pita Taufatofua set the gold standard for meme material as the Pyeongchang games got underway.

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.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

He's baaaaack. And honestly, he doesn't give a shirt about the cold.

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, officially kicked off with an elaborate opening ceremony Friday morning, but one athlete in particular stood out. 

Pita Taufatofua, the only member of Tonga's Olympic team, won the world's attention by marching into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium shirtless despite near-freezing temperatures. Taufatofua carried his country's flag while displaying an oiled-up chest and torso, and smiling all the way. 

This was Taufatofua's second shirtless Olympic appearance. In the 2016 Rio Olympics he was competing in taekwondo, in 2018 he will be cross-country skiing.  But the temperatures at the Summer Games in Rio were a lot more bare-chest-friendly than in Pyeongchang.

Taufatofua instantly won the gold medal for online memes and jokes.

The Tongan's toughness wasn't the only opening-ceremony topic that resonated. Many were touched to see North and South Korea marching together under a unified flag. Two members of the mixed North and South Korean women's hockey team together carried the Olympic torch up to the cauldron.

Impersonators of US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un showed up, and apparently were thrown out.

And in an impressive display, more than 1,200 drones from Intel morphed into the image of a snowboarder, and then into the Olympic rings.

The Winter Olympics run through Feb. 25.