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Will an Indian compete in Snowboarding in Olympics?

I am not surprised about lack of attention to India’s representation in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Most Indians aren’t interested in winter games and even amongst those who follow it, there is lesser people who actually play winter sports themselves.

Personally, I actually snowboard. Yep. Many of my Indian friends and family think, it isn’t much different from skiing. But it is not. I never skied so I wouldn’t know which one is harder or better. However, It did take a long time for me be a decent snowboarder, especially since I had not seen snow until I was 21 and started learning snowboarding only when I was about 25 or 26. I can come down the hill in most trails with no issue, but my speed and aesthetics still sucks in steeper trails.

Let me tell you my secret – just do it and don’t give up. Most newbie give up after the first day on snowboard. But the truth is you can really get a hang of it within the 3rd day of learning and rest is just showing up and mastering it.

I have been hitting the slopes at least 2 or 3 times a year for many years now though I only frequent ski resorts in NY area. I have tried out resorts in Colorado, Vermont, and Candada too (Tremblant!). There is no comparison to the quality of snow and the overall boarding experience in Vermont or Canada. The local resorts here are just easier to access but not for great snow.

In all these years, I have seen many people from India in the slopes. Almost all of them ski. However, I am yet to meet another Indian (1st generation Indian like me) who snowboards. I am sure there are many out there, it’s just that I haven’t had a way to connect with them. I continue to go all by myself, year after year. Its a great meditative feeling to snowboard down a long hill all by yourself.

Since the day I picked up boarding, I always wondered if an Indian will ever compete in Snowboarding in Winter Olympics. May be, who knows, someone might be training today for it.

Shiva Keshavan thinks we can do something about winter sports and India. From India’s standpoint, he is a veteran winter Olympian even though he is only in late 20s. He has been participating in Luge, representing India for three Olympics now. While I know nothing about Luge beyond being a spectator, I got to imagine its just as hard as any sport and at least, he finished at a decent spot, unlike his two other counterparts who literally ended up at the bottom of all participants. Sad as it is, I applaud their courage to participate (against the usual odds) and hold India’s flag in Winter Olympics. Let’s not forget that we got to start somewhere to get to the top!

I found just a few blogs or news items on Shiva Keshavan :

A Chance Interview with Indian Olympian Shiva Keshavan (btw, he speaks genuinely and very sensibly)

Kamala Bhatt (who also runs a popular Internet radio show) blogged about Shiva.

Lakshmi Gandhi pieced the ten facts about Shiva’s sojourn to Vancouver.

CNNGoAsia cribs about the beaten Indian team

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