The phrase “points for effort” must have been invented with Adrian Solano in mind. The Venezuelan skier is becoming a quick viral sensation after video of his unfortunately terrible performance at the Lahti2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland made the rounds this week.
The aspiring skier had never gotten a chance to practice his craft on actual snow, which helps explain his uncoordinated journey through the 10-kilometer cross country course. Solano was planning to go to Sweden to prepare for the World Championships, but due to a visa issue in France (immigration did not believe he was a legitimate skier), he was re-routed back to his homeland. Instead of actual snow, his training came in the form of practicing on wheels in Venezuela, a country known for a lot of things but definitely not for having snowy alpine climates.
Needless to say, Solano finished in last place.
The Venezuelan government took the deportation from France as an insult to the entire nation, and foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez wrote in a tweet on Wednesday that the government “will issue a strong statement to the French government for their affront against a Venezuelan athlete.” For their part, Solano’s fans in his home country took a more decisive action, starting a GoFundMe to get him to Finland in time for the World Championships.
Regardless of the hardships and global mocking that’s sure to follow him, Solano appears to be upbeat about the whole adventure. Speaking with Norwegian outlet Dagbladet after his event, Solano cheerfully exclaimed that he’s going to go “from here to the Olympics!” He also went on to say that he has no regrets about becoming the supposed worst skier ever: “I achieved a dream. This pushes me to try more every day.”
We’ll keep our eye on Solano ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea; hopefully, he’ll be able to get on real snow before then.