India has only won 28 medals in the 24 Olympics that it has participated in since 1900, and nary a one in the Winter Games. Shiva Keshavan, billed as the “Fastest Man in India” is hopeful one of his students can change that goose egg into gold at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
MEET SHIVA KESHAVAN
When he was 16-years-old, Keshavan — India’s lone luger — became the youngest ever in his sport to compete at an Olympic Games. He has participated in every Olympics since then, with his highest finish to date coming at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy when he placed 25th.
As sponsorship was sparse, Keshavan built and modified his sleds in his own garage, and while they were less technologically advanced as those used by the world’s top lugers, they were still plenty fast. In 2011, he set a new Asian speed record for singles luge with a speed of 134.3 kph (83.5 mph).
FASTEST MAN IN INDIA
While India is generally thought of as a tropical country with blistering hot summers, Keshavan was born and raised in Manali which sits at 2,500 meters in the snowy Himalayas. He trained year round on curving mountain highways on a specially modified sled outfitted with rollerblade wheels.
Keshavan’s tireless training paid dividends. While he never medaled at the Olympics, he excelled at the Asia Cup where he won four gold, four silver and two bronze medals. He retired from competition after the 2018 Winter Olympics and is now coaching a new generation of sledders to compete for medals.