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Tonga's famous flagbearer returns to steal the show

 Tonga's flagbearer Pita Taufatofua leads his country's delegation. [Photo: AFP via RNZI]

Tonga's bare-chested flagbearer for its one-man Winter Olympics team was given a warm reception by the opening ceremony crowd in sub-zero temperatures.

Pita Taufatofua emerged from the tunnel covered in his trademark body oil and wearing a grass skirt, sandals and a huge smile as he led the Tongan delegation around the arena.

"I won't freeze. I am from Tonga. We sailed across the Pacific. This is nothing," Taufatofua said.

The Oceania gold medallist in taekwondo made global headlines in 2016 with a shirtless entrance as the country's flagbearer at the Rio Olympics.

The good news for his admirers is that he returned for the Winter Olympics, having switched to cross country ski-ing.

And Taufatofua is again creating headlines, featuring as one of the BBC's eight reasons you'll end up watching the Winter Olympics "This is a man who knows how to make an entrance", it said. "Don't expect big things on the slopes - Taufatofua only saw snow for the first time a couple of years ago."

And the athlete inspired an extended profile on CNN, telling the story of the "sacrifice and determination" behind his Olympic dream.

The 34 year old is the second Tongan athlete ever to qualify for the Winter Olympics.