Shiva Keshavan has had an interesting ride.
Back in December, the India native was profiled in a short five-minute Olympic YouTube video that revealed his very untraditional training regimen.
The 32-year-old competes in luge men's singles, but lives in a country where there isn't a single luge track. As a result, he trains on the streets of India and competes on a modified sled with roller wheels. In the short clip of him training, Keshavan is seen flying past goat herders and in between moving cars.
Along with not having a training course or a team to compete with, Keshavan doesn't have a personal coach. As a result, he's formed a partnership with the United States Men's team, where he receives much of his training and coaching. That might explain his seemingly relaxed demeanor about the games.
"Even if I come in the top 20, I'll be quite happy," he says in his Olympic profile video.
To make things even more complicated, India isn't even technically represented in the Olympics this year. In early January the team lost all hope of competing under the Indian flag. The National Association of New Delhi had been under fire for electing some "tainted officials" into high-power positions, and as a result their membership was frozen in December of 2012 by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), per AFP.
Instead of sorting out the problem before the Olympics, the IOA decided to hold a vote to re-elect officials until yesterday, February 9th. The decision left Keshavan and three other Indian athletes competing as "independents" in this year's Sochi Games.
“It is a sad and embarrassing situation that Indian sport has been put in,” he told Mail Today newspaper, via AFP. “People around the world know about the failure of our systems and about corruption and bad governance in sports. The essence of the Olympic Games is to ‘represent’ and I feel it is shameful and pathetic for all of us Indians that athletes may not walk under the Indian flag.”
And all of this happened before Saturday, when Keshavan came around a corner in a practice run at approximately 70 miles per hour and then fell off his luge. Miraculously, in what has now earned him some internet notoriety, the 32-year-old five-time Olympian pulled himself back onto his luge and finished the run.
Even if Keshavan doesn't make his goal of coming in the top 20 at Sochi this year, his bumpy and triumphant story should still make him a household name.