Although a jovial sight, the dancing was to make a point about climate change – currently destroying the Pacific island nation of Kiribati.
“Most people don’t know where Kiribati is,” Katoatau, who lost his family’s house in a cyclone, told Reuters. “I want people to know more about us so I use weightlifting, and my dancing, to show the world. We don’t have the resources to save ourselves.”
Katoatau wrote an open letter “to tell people about all the homes lost to rising sea levels”, which was distributed at a Commonwealth Games Federation meeting by his coach, Paul Coffa.
His dance moves became his trademark in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014, where he won gold in the 105 kg Group A – Kiribati’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal.
Despite finishing in sixth place in Rio in Group B with 349 kg, Katoatau kissed the bar and danced off stage to the cheers of the crowd, saying “I’ll be dancing again tonight”.