Wipe away your tears at the absence of Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofu because we have a new Mr. Olympics this year! His name is Nathan Crumpton, and he and his oily torso are representing American Samoa at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Was it a mere 23 degrees Fahrenheit during the opening ceremony in Beijing? Sure, but Crumpton is dressed for the weather we want, not the weather we have.
His sport is skeleton, the most metal event at the Olympics. If you need a refresher, skeleton is one of the three “sliding sports” — yes, that is the actual category — at the Winter Games. The other two are luge and bobsleigh/bobsled. Put simply, skeleton is like bobsledding minus the protection of a bobsled. It’s luging on X Games mode. Athletes lay on their stomachs/oily abs on a thin little sled, zooming headfirst at over 80 mph down a 1,600-meter track. It looks like a sport devised by a rambunctious toddler, an activity that would make parents say, “Absolutely not.”
Crumpton has been ranked number one in skeleton in the U.S. and number eight in the world. But like his flag-bearing brethren, Crumpton is a man of many talents. In addition to competing in this year’s Games, he competed in last year’s 2020 Summer Olympics, running in the 100-meter dash. (He did not make it past the preliminary heat.) He’s one of only 140 athletes to ever compete in both the Summer and Winter Games. (Taufatofua is, of course, another one.) Crumpton is also a photographer, model, and author of the recently published nonfiction novel Alpha Status, which is described by one Amazon reviewer as The Wolf of Wall Street meets 50 Shades of Grey. Like I said, many talents.
I wish the best of luck to Crumpton and his oiled torso at this year’s Games!