A Five Time Olympian Indian Luger - The Story of Shiva Keshavan
25th August 1981
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
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Born and brought up in the state of mountain ranges of Himalayas, this young, talented and enthusiastic Luger – Shiva Keshavan, the world’s youngest person to qualify for the Olympic games and the first Indian to have won an international medal in any winter sport. He has represented India for over 20 years and competed in 5 Olympic Games and won 10 individual medals at the Asian level. The saying ‘Life is not full of Bed of Roses’ goes to Shiva’s life too as despite the lack of basic infrastructure or sport facilities, competing with a homemade set of equipment, no coach or track to train on and no funding, he rose to compete in the highest level of international sport. Shiva’s story is one of the overcoming hardships and a sole struggle against the odds to achieve a seemingly impossible dream.
Team imd1 had a chat with this talented young enthusiastic Luger. Read on to know his story!
We are really keen to know, how did your journey begin?
Journey began long before Luge discovered me. Born in the Himalayas amongst the snow, my passion for sports and adventure was always present in me. At age of 13, I was selected in a talent scout camp while I was in boarding school at The Lawrence School, Sanawar. The International Luge Federation helped me get international training and I qualified for the Olympic Games at the age of 16.
Your Quote for life
Never Give In, Higher Faster Stronger
Every person has come with positives and negatives
I get my inspiration from the actions of people around me
Food I Love
Food I Hate
Had I not been in Luge then…
I always wanted to be a martial artist
Like Vacations at
Favorite Past time
Reading, being in Nature
You can get it if you really want
What’s your success mantra?
Never Give In.
What were the hardships / hurdles your encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
My journey had as many obstacles as I had no supporters. Financial problems were always there and still existing. I never had a personal Coach and have always been competing against highly funded and advanced teams. I realized that we have to make the best of what we have.
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
Get up and go!
Do you think Luge and its learning’s can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
Definitely. Any sport, especially one which gives such an immense exposure will strongly influence your personality and therefore your life path.
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
There have been several influencers. From my family, to friends, even acquaintances and strangers. Ultimately it is up to you, not others.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I Am The 1”?
When I won the first Gold Medal for India and I was standing on the highest step of the podium, at that time if felt as “Yes, I Am The 1”
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
I never had a personal coach till now.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
Begin to practice sport at an early age is essential so that there is an all-round development and it helps to develop the aptitude for a wide range of skills. As body begins to develop from 14-18 years, it becomes easier to see the predisposition to various activities. Mindset then becomes the key factor in ensuring that a young athlete is able to commit to his or her sport.
Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in Luge. What’s your take?
Technology is intrinsic to our sport. Luge is about precision, speed and high tech equipments, where every millisecond counts. The importance of technology cannot be stressed enough. Science helps us get a deeper understanding of the sport and how we can more efficiently achieve the desired results. Often this is the key to staying ahead of the competition.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in training for Luge in India?
There is immense potential. We have 3000 kms of Himalayan mountain range in India. This is an incredible opportunity for developing winter sports, local sports and tourism related economy as well as great chance for the youth to compete internationally. The biggest opportunity is to develop natural track luge, something that can be done with minimal investment.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of Luge in remote parts of India?
Natural track luge is an easy way to develop the sport without investing millions of dollars in Infrastructure. Since we have the natural resources available, we should make use of them.
In your opinion, what are the basic key traits apart from formal training that make “imd1”?
It’s all in the mind. The real battle is against yourself.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.
Go follow your dreams! Each one of us is unique and we have to find our own way. With so many opportunities in the world around us, don’t limit yourself or your children’s possibilities to success.
How can one identify & encourage talent in the family?
Watch your kids closely and let them get exposed to things as much as possible. There is no talent that hard work cannot overcome.