For Indian luger Shiva Keshavan, there is no alternative. Hurtling down Himalayan roads is the only way he can pursue his Olympic ambition.
Keshavan has just qualified for his sixth Olympic Winter Games at PyeongChang 2018 – an incredible achievement given the difficulties he faces.
Creativity was the key for him to unlock his destiny.
“We used to do a kind of roller luge when we were kids. We used to make luges with wood and use bearings as the wheels.”
But it did not take long for him to move up from a humble start. Aged just 16, the Indian became the youngest ever Olympic luger at Nagano ’98.
His best result in five Games so far is 25th place. But the 36-year-old is still dreaming of gold.
“What I need is the belief to come from India that we can do it.” affirms Shiva, “we just have one individual gold in the Olympics and I know we can do a lot better than that.”
According to Keshavan, for India to succeed on an Olympic level both courage and conviction are needed. Qualities the Indian luger shows in abundance when he takes his sport to the streets.
“It’s the highway but you are gone before the drivers even notice you. So you know, it is in your hands!”
If fortune really does favour the brave, then Keshavan can expect to be richly rewarded at PyeongChang 2018. Make sure to keep an eye out for him when the men’s heats get underway at the Olympic Sliding Centre on February 10th.