I have hounded a lot of sports, and people from a lot of countries. The other night, I obtained my first ever luge autograph, and my first ever autograph from someone born in India. I did both at the exact same time.
Indian luger Shiva Keshavan came thru & a small pile of media were eager to greet him, get some photos & interviews. Not knowing anything about his sport, or him, I was fascinated by the excitement of the mainly south Asian reporters who were even getting posed pictures with him afterwards.
I got him to to sign a couple Olympics postcards, just to say I got him, then went on my way looking for more athletes. I came back a few minutes later & saw he was still there, so I took the chance to snap a few pics of him before I left.
Afterwards I was more amazed to hear about the incredible journey recently for Keshevan (whose full name on the Olympic site is Shiva Keshevan Kannan Palan) just getting here. Just weeks ago he fractured a vertebrae in his back (as someone who fractured multiple vertebrae himself when he was younger, I know what an ordeal that can be) & was told by the doctors "dont race", but he told them this is what he had worked for the 4 years & was not going to miss it for anything. So he came, with a new sled as well. Another hurdle he overcame to get here was breaking his last sled recently. But thanks to the help of a few lawyers from his homeland who pooled the money together to get a new one for Shiva, he is in Vancouver & ready to compete. One of only 3 Olympians representing India at the 2010 Winter Olympic games, Shiva has been to the Olympics several times now. First competing in Nagano during the 1998 games, he was only 16 years old at the time.
I am sure at the end of the games, I will look back & think of Shiva Keshevan when people ask me if I got anyone interesting during the Olympics, because I am pretty confident I will never get an Indian luger autograph again.
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