Venezuelan skier Adrian Solano may be the butt of the world\u2019s jokes after hapless slips and falls in the Lahti Nordic World Ski Championships last week, but the 22-year-old cook who had never seen snow and practiced the sport on wheels is delighted with his \u201cmarvellous\u201d adventure. In the trails of British skier Eddie The Eagle and the 1988 Jamaican bobsleigh team, epitomised in the film \u2018Cool Runnings,\u2019 Solano\u2019s mishaps in Finland went viral, earning him the title of the world\u2019s worst skier. Video shows Solano immediately losing his balance when coming out of the gate, slipping over repeatedly and tripping over his skis. Yet, he is proud of his performance. "I fell and did not give up. Not everyone gets up but I got up more than 30 times,\u201d he said in an interview two days after his return to Venezuela. \u201cMany people don\u2019t realise that practicing on asphalt is very different to practicing on snow because the snow has a different texture.\u201d Back with his family in the sweltering city of Maracay where he learned to ski on wheels, Solano said he had long dreamed of competing abroad and that his friends and neighbours had helped him save for a flight to Europe ahead of the competition, giving him time to perfect his technique on snow rather than asphalt. You may also like to watch this video: That flight alone was near impossible in a crisis-stricken country where many, including Solano, earn the equivalent of just a few dollars a month given an economic meltdown which has left many hungry and standing in long supermarket lines. When Solano turned up with just 28 euros ($29.57) in cash at Paris\u2019 Charles de Gaulle airport late last month, however, immigration officials did not buy that he was a world-class skier. He was forced to return to Venezuela five days later, he said. His story caught the attention of Finnish TV personality Aleksi Valavuori who set up a crowdfunding campaign and raised more than 4,000 euros ($4,224) to pay for another flight via Madrid. \u201cSomething had to be done,\u201d said Valavuori, speaking from the Finnish city of Turku. \u201cI knew absolutely nothing. I\u2019d never heard of Venezuelan skiing.\u201d \u2018HOLY SHIT, HE CAN\u2019T SKI\u2019 Valavuori tracked down Solano, dejected and back in Maracay, and told him he had a second shot at the championships. \u201cAleksi was like a guardian angel,\u201d said Solano. \u201cThis was my dream.\u201d Valavuori and an interpreter drove to Helsinki airport to collect Solano, who marvelled at seeing snow for the first time. Less than 12 hours after arriving, Solano was first out of the gate for the cross-country event. \u201cIt was my first experience on skis on snow in my life,\u201d he said. \u201cI was scared.\u201d Watching from the sidelines, Valavuori began to realise something was not quite right. \u201cAt first, I was like, 'Holy shit, he can\u2019t ski,'\u201d said Valavuori, \u201cbut the longer it went on, the more he became a hero.\u201d The video went viral with both endearment and harsh criticism on social media. Some Venezuelans are fuming that he embarrassed them internationally and suspect he was promoted by the ruling Socialist Party. They point to Instagram photos of Solano with a locally-famous leftist who dresses like late Argentine guerrilla Che Guevara in military garb and posing with members of the Party\u2019s youth movement. They also note he has no photos of himself skiing. Solano says the photos are old and that he made it to the championships with zero help from authorities.