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There's A Sad Reason Behind Weightlifter David Katoatau's Happy Dance At The Rio Olympics

The jolly giant from Kiribati didn't bust out his dance moves for laughs
by F. Valencia | Aug 17, 2016
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Weightlifter David Katoatau, 32, from the island nation on Kiribati didn't get any medals in the men's 105-kilogram event, but he definitely got the most cheers.

Katoatau made his first five lifts and danced after each lift. Unfortunately, he failed with the last lift. "He kissed the bar and danced off stage regardless," reports Reuters. The crowd went wild over Katoatau dance moves.

The Wide World of Sports noted that "Katoatau finished a lowly sixth in Group B but the results never deterred his joyful spirit."

But if you think Katoatau busted out his dance moves for laughs, you're wrong. He did it to raise awareness about his country.

"Most people don’t know where Kiribati is. I want people to know more about us so I use weightlifting, and my dancing, to show the world," Katoatau explained.


According to a feature on The Guardian, Kiribati, which is located in the central Pacific, is suffering "extreme coastal erosion not just of the beaches but also of the land."

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Katoatau added, "I wrote an open letter to the world last year to tell people about all the homes lost to rising sea levels. I don’t know how many years it will be before it sinks."

Despite this challenge, Katoatau remains hopeful for his country and for himself.

Katoatau won the gold in the 105-kilogram Group A event at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. It had been Kiribati’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal. He aims to defend his title in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Queensland, Australia's Gold Coast.


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