Adrian Solano looked every bit a skier when he lined up for a cross-country race at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Finland. But then he started moving.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan nearly fell as he tried to exit the starting gate. He wobbled again after he finally got going, only to actually topple over when he rounded one of the course’s first curves. This would happen repeatedly for the next 38 minutes or so until Solano’s time was up.
“Maybe I have fallen many times but what really counts is that I will always continue to rise,” Solano wrote on Instagram on Thursday, defending his performance, which by the way, was his first on snow.
It wasn’t intended to be his first time skiing on snow (Solano said he practices in Venezuela using modified roller blades). Last month, Solano tried to make it to Sweden to begin cold-weather training but failed after being deported from France.
“When I got to Paris on 19 January, I explained that I was on my way to Sweden to train,” Solano told the AFP this week. “They did not believe that I ski in Venezuela. I told them that we train on wheels.”
“The police laughed at him,” Solano’s trainer Cesar Baena added. “They said skiing didn’t exist in Venezuela.”
Solano said despite him having an official invitation to train in Sweden and eventually compete in Finland, the police “discriminated” against him based on his appearance and accused him of attempting to immigrate “because things were going badly in my country.”
“I missed a month of practice on the snow,” Solano said this week. “But I am still trying because this is my dream.”
Despite his troubles and less-than-perfect performance, the trip to Scandinavia proved worthwhile for Solano. While he won’t be taking home any awards, he’s made plenty of new friends.
A former liberal radio talk host who likes to ask the “follow-up question” at Democurmudgeon.blogspot.com