Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images
A new shirtless athlete is making waves at the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Bobsleigh and skeleton star Nathan Crumpton appeared at the Opening Ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Friday in traditional American Samoa garments — sans a shirt — as he carried the territory's flag around the stadium.
"I'm honored to have qualified for the Winter Olympics and to represent American Samoa, as well as a region of the world that does not often participate in the Winter Games," Crumpton said after qualifying for the Olympics, per Inside the Games.
"This has been a long journey, over a decade in the making, with many setbacks, financial constraints, and injuries along the way," he added, according to Inside the Games. "But I'm excited to see it through to the finish line."
Crumpton is the sole athlete representing American Samoa at the Winter Games. He is the first athlete to do so in the last 28 years. Crumpton qualified for the Winter Games by ranking 26th on this season's International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation's men's skeleton ranking.
Having participated in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Crumpton is slated to be the first American Samoa athlete to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games.
"While qualification for Nathan was last-minute, he has raced internationally at an elite level for years as a benefactor of an IOC [International Olympic Committee] Olympic Solidarity Scholarship through the ASNOC," said American Samoa's Beijing 2022 Chef de Mission Ryan Leong, per Inside the Games.
According to his website, Crumpton is also a model and has worked with Brooks Running and Saucony, among other brands. He also works as a photographer. He was born in Kenya, and grew up around the world before graduating from high school in Virginia. Crumpton previously competed for Team USA but opted to honor his Polynesian heritage by switching to American Samoa in 2019.
"Three Olympics in a row I have been blessed with all of your kindness. The last two years, competition and travel has been non-existent," he wrote in his announcement on Instagram. "Not everything is in our control. That said I embrace both the good and the bad as part of life, and I do so with a smile."
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"This time I will not be sharing the Beijing Olympic Games with you all," he continued. "But I continue with joy as I prepare to support all the Olympians who have worked so hard to represent their countries."
Taufatofua issued his approval for Crumpton, tweeting, "American Samoa holding the fort."
— Pita Taufatofua (@pitaTofua) February 4, 2022
The men's skeleton competition will take place on Feb. 10 and 11 at the National Sliding Centre in Yanqing.
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning Feb 3, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.