There has been no shortage of heartwarming stories coming out of the Rio Olympics (more than the scary ones, thankfully) and that doesn’t change with the story of David Katoatau from Kiribati, a small island nation, currently competing in weightlifting in Brazil. Katoatau has been breaking out in joyful dancing after every one of his lifts during the games and fans have been loving the impromptu dance parties. Whether it’s a bit of a booty shake, some overhead hand movements, or truly getting down to his own rhythm, the dancing hasn’t stopped through each of David’s competitive feats of strength.
He isn’t just dancing for the fun of it though, although Katoatau is clearly enjoying himself up on stage. He is using his irresistible radiancy and love of dancing to bring attention to the current plight of Kiribati. Due to climate change, David’s home country is slowing losing more and more homes and businesses to rising waters. Because of the size of the island, not many people know what is happening to the country so David is dedicated to raising awareness in hopes that something can be done. He tells Reuters,
“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. 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.”
The Rio Olympics opening ceremonies focused heavily on climate change and the effect it is having on the entire world, so this might be the perfect event to put this type of message out there. His dancing should draw a larger focus to this crisis, and until that happens Katoatau’s dancing will continue to put a smile on everyone’s face.