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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Wurst makes triumphant return home

Published 11/05/2014 | 13:32

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Singer Conchita Wurst has returned to Austria following her Eurovision Song Contest victory (AP)
Wurst kept her trophy firmly by her side as she flew into Vienna airport (AP)

Bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst has made a triumphant return to Austria after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in what the country's president called a victory for tolerance in Europe.

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Wurst drew criticism from eastern Europe before last night's show, with some blasting her as an example of Western decadence. However, Austria won points even from Russia.

Wurst told a news conference after landing in Vienna that shows "you can't reduce a country to its tolerance or intolerance".

President Heinz Fischer congratulated Wurst, the alter ego of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth, telling the Austria Press Agency it was "not just a victory for Austria, but above all for diversity and tolerance in Europe".

Other political leaders joined in the congratulations today, though the right-wing Freedom Party, the biggest opposition force, did not.

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