Indian Olympian Practices Luge on Open Himalayan Road to Prepare for Sochi

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 10, 2014

WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 13:  Shiva K.P. Keshavan of India competes during the Luge Men's Singles on day 2 of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler Sliding Centre on February 13, 2010 in Whistler, Canada.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

If you happen to find yourself driving up a specific Himalayan highway close to Winter Olympics time, you will have to meander around cars, trucks, a possible contingent of sheep, oh yeah, and Shiva Keshavan, who will be flying down the other way on his trusty luge.

The Aerogram's Lakshmi Gandhi spotted a captivating video with a rather odd image: the 32-year-old Indian practicing luge on an open road somewhere in the Himalayas. 

Here is that video: 

Keshavan explains, "To practice, what we do is modify the sleds. We put roller wheels on them instead of blades and go down the only place we can, which is the mountain highway."

We are just going to say the course in Sochi might seem a wee bit less interesting to the man who has to slide under trucks just to get a run in. 

It's like Grand Theft Auto: Luge Edition. 

Or, more obviously, it is life imitating art, which was previously imitating life. We are of course referencing the timeless classic that is Cool Runnings

In the same way the fictional bobsled team—based on the real 1988 Winter Olympics Jamaican bobsled team—was trying to do its best with what it had, so too is Keshavan.

If you are looking for a more in-depth look at Keshavan's amazing story, we encourage you to take a gander at a video uploaded to the Olympic YouTube channel in December. 

There, Keshavan explains how the sport has grown in his country: 

I had a lot of help initially from the International Luge Federation. Once they saw I had talent, they really promoted me in the beginning. And when I did qualify for my first Winter Olympic Games I was 16, which is the youngest ever for luge. 

I think over the years, the last 14 years that I've been representing India, I've improved tremendously. And also the situation in India, how conducive it is to do sport in my country has also been improving. 

Keshavan—who claims he was born close to the Himalayas at an altitude of 2,500 meters—states that it is that change that has brought him closer to rigorous training and actual facilities. 

He continues, "Even though we still have a long way to go, I think that we are on the right track, and I hope I can contribute to create a legacy for luge in my country."

Here he is taking in a far more ordinary training run in Nagano during the Asian Championships in 2012: 

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are less than a month away. With them come amazing shows of athleticism and remarkable stories that somehow resonate far more than any runtime could. 

Some Olympians head to multimillion-dollar facilities to prepare for the games. Keshavan's journey isn't entirely different from those athletes'. It just happens to feature a few more sheep. 


Life is but a collection of speed bumps