Brazil put on a surprisingly thoughtful introduction to international competition last night, with the country’s Opening Ceremony at the 2016 Olympic Games—directed by Fernando Mereilles—refusing to shy away from the darker chapters in the country’s history. Viewers from around the world (and commenting online) were shown images representing Brazil’s history with the cruelties of slavery, the worries about the oncoming crisis of global warming, and the—wait, wait, wait a second. Who is that hot, oily dude?
Well, as it turns out, that hot, oily dude is Pita Nikolas Taufatofua, the flag bearer for the small Polynesian kingdom of Tonga, and the obvious winner of the Opening Ceremony in the eyes of the internet. (Sorry, Dame Judy Dench and supermodel Gisele Bündchen). Taufatofua, who’s technically from Australia but of Tongan descent, will be competing for the gold this year in taekwondo, which he’ll also hopefully be able to use to fight off an entire planet that is now in open, lusty revolt against him, if Twitter’s #TonganFlagBearer hashtag is to be believed.
Still, the online response to the Opening Ceremony wasn’t entirely devoted to one man’s quasi-hypnotic glisten. Online commentators also took the time to reflect on Brazil’s place in the world, our collective hopes for the future of our environment, and the life-affirming, unifying power of sport in a world that seems to be constantly on the brink of tearing itself apart:
Whoops, we seem to have just posted more tweets about the entire planet’s ongoing thirst for topless oilboys. Our bad. Let’s try that again:
Okay, there we go. After all, if there’s anything on this planet that could draw people away from lusting over (literally) slick fellas better than complaining about Matt Lauer’s tone-deaf factoids about every country in the world, and the ad-loving folks at NBC, we’re pretty sure we don’t know what it is.