Tonga's flagbearer for the Winter Olympics has turned his attention back home to his friends and families caught in the path of Cyclone Gita.

Pita Taufatofua, a cross-country skier, posted on social media he was sending out "prayers for our families in Tonga. Thinking of our Families in Samoa affected by Cyclone Gita.

"Stay safe to all our Families in the Pacific," Taufatofua said.

Prayers for our Families in Tonga πŸ™πŸΌ Thinking of our Families in Samoa affected by Cyclone Gita πŸ˜” Stay safe to all our Families in the Pacific!

Posted by Pita Taufatofua on Sunday, 11 February 2018

Taufatofua drew international attention when he was the flagbearer for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

His appearance in traditional dress, a ta'ovala, and lathered in oil at the opening ceremony attracted numerous admirers and saw him grab headlines across the globe.

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Then he was a taekwondo competitor.

"After Rio I needed a new challenge," he said. "Could I do a new sport, the hardest I could think of, in a year?

"Every time I ski I feel like I die a little inside. The burn starts and then you hold the burn for an hour or more.

"I still haven't had a race where I felt completely happy, in terms of no pain."