Adrian Solano made his world debut at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland and it wasn’t long before he was labeled the “world’s worst skier ever” by commentators. Solano fell multiple times and quit the 10-kilometer course after just 3.5 kilometers, which took him nearly 40 minutes (or roughly the time it took his competitors to finish all 10 kilometers.) You should see his performance for yourself.
But there’s a pretty good reason for Solano’s poor showing. Up until arriving in Finland, the 22 year old Venezuelan had never even so much as seen snow with his own eyes. All of his practice for the event was done on skies with wheels. His coach, César Baena, provided him with equipment and training in the hopes that one day Solano would represent Venezuela in the world of competitive skiing, and possibly even the Olympics. It was always his intention to practice on snow before the competition but he was turned away at a Paris airport where officials didn’t believe his story and sent him back to Venezuela. Falling back on a GoFundMe page he managed to raise enough money to fly directly to Finland. Although he had a poor showing in the event he stated: “We have a success culture that sports is only great if you succeed. I want to get rid of that. You get some wins, you get some losses. But there are so many other things in sports. It’s all about the story.”
It’s easy to make fun of a man for falling on his butt at a national competition but there’s something admirable about watching him follow his dream. And, I think he’s right, success doesn’t dictate whether an experience is worthwhile. Sometimes forcing yourself to try new things is worth risking failure.