24 Feb 2017

Tongan flagbearer has tough introduction to cross country skiing

9:58 am on 24 February 2017

Tonga's famous flag bearer from the Rio Olympics has had a harsh introduction to his new sport of cross country skiing.

Pita Taufatofua who competed in taekwondo in Rio gained plenty of international attention at the Rio opening ceremony, when he oiled himself up to carry the Tongan flag bare-chested into the stadium.

Pita Taufatofua

Pita Taufatofua Photo: Supplied/Instagram

Now he's trying to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

He only took up cross country skiing a month ago and has competed at the word champs in Finland finishing 153rd in the 156 strong field.

His time in the 1.6km sprint freestyle qualification was 5 minutes 44 seconds more than two and a half minutes slower than the top qualifier.