Spiro Pina grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he earned nine varsity letters at St. Paul Central High School. He took luge when he was 16 when US recruiters were looking for sliders for the national team. When he realized he had little chance to make the American team, he used his dual Greek citizenship to compete for Greece at the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics. Pina graduated from the University of Minnesota and earned a Masters’ degree in public policy and economics. He was fluent in six languages – English, Spanish, Norwegian, Greek, French, and German. While training for the Olympics he taught French in public schools in the Twin Cities area. He died quite young from a brain tumor.