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Jenna Conter: Tonga steals show during parade of countries

Olympic cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua, shown in this image taken from his Facebook page, represents Tonga.
Olympic cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua, shown in this image taken from his Facebook page, represents Tonga. - Submitted

Good morning Pyeongchang! Up and at it before the sun to kick off this two-week, watch-and-comment Armchair Olympians project! Having excitedly set an alarm, tucked myself into bed nice and early, I’ve officially put more effort into the early morning dedication to watch the Olympics than I ever did for my many early morning swim practices.

My enthusiasm should make my thrice slapping of the snooze button irrelevant.

However, had there been more of a teaser about the talent coming from Tonga, I would have showered, done my hair and flown to Korea.

His name is Pita Taufatofua. He's from Tonga and he enters into Olympic Stadium leading his small but proud nation. Greased up and wearing not much more than a grass skirt and a smile, he allows everyone to truly appreciate the athleticism, grace and importance of olive oil in the lives of everyone on the planet. Taufatofua is in itself the onomatopoeia one spits out when you first see him enter the stadium. Sigh. Wait, what were we talking about?

Jenna Conter
Jenna Conter

Oh, right! Winter Olympic opening ceremonies. Quite honestly, from the introduction of the 2018 Korean version of the kids from Captain Planet to the igniting of the Olympic cauldron, the morning (their evening) displayed a wide variety of multimedia displays, Star Wars-esque hologram animations, and a menagerie of symbolic large-scale puppet animals.

The ceremonies, which shockingly only played "Gangnam Style" once, showcased and set the tone for what will hopefully remain an optimistic and unified front from the two Koreas as they host the world on live television. And though John Lennon may be rolling over in his grave after listening to a handful of Korean pop stars all but butcher his most famous song, the symbolism and statement was not lost on anyone. One can only hope that whilst U.S. President Donald Trump takes to his morning perch upon his tweeting porcelain throne, he’d take a moment of reflection to appreciate the sentiment regardless of the many opportunities to make nuclear bomb jokes with every boom and explosion of the beautiful firework displays.

Revolving around the theme of the future, there were many opportunities to paint optimistically over the political issues of North vs. South and truly unite the entire country and planet over the celebration of these games.

Except Russia. You can’t sit with us.

Enjoy all the Armchair athleticism, follow the Games here.

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