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The shirtless flagbearer tradition continues at Winter Olympics

Another Olympic athlete stepped up to continue the tradition of the shirtless flagbearer with Tonga's Pita Taufatofua not attending the Winter Games.

WASHINGTON — With Tonga out of the Winter Olympics, American Samoa stepped up to keep the tradition of the "shirtless flagbearer" alive for the fourth competition in a row at this year's Games. 

Earlier this week, Pita Taufatofua, who went viral for being shirtless and oiled-up during the 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony and during the freezing cold 2018 Winter Olympics, confirmed he would not be competing at the Winter Olympics. It is the first Olympic Games he has missed since 2016. 

Taufatofua said in an Instagram post he has another "task" that needs his attention, helping his home country of Tonga recover from the recent tsunami.

So with Taufatofua out, most assumed that would be the end of the shirtless flagbearer. But American Samoa skeleton racer Nathan Crumpton had another thing in mind. 

With temperatures in China in the teens, Crumpton carried American Samoa's national flag while shirtless during the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

Credit: AP
Nathan Crumpton, of American Samoa, carries his national flag into the stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Crumpton, like Taufatofua, also competed in the Tokyo Summer Olympics just six months ago.  

Credit: AP
Nathan Crumpton, of American Samoa, carries his country flag during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Social media reacted with delight at the sight of another shirtless flag bearer.

Taufatofua tweeted: "American Samoa holding the fort" 

"Whatever happens from here, American Samoa have won the opening ceremony. It's -5 degrees Celsius and Nathan Crumpton is shirtless. Hope he's got a nice hot cup of tea waiting for him after this...," Jonathan Crane tweeted

"American Samoa stepping in to fill the Tonga shaped hole in our hearts," another Twitter user tweeted

"Omg the American Samoa flag bearer is legit bare-chested in Beijing in February hard respect right there," Cheryl Teh tweeted

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