India made its first-ever appearance in an Olympics back in 1900 with just one athlete representing the nation. It was athlete Norman Pritchard who was the only Indian to participate in the Summer Olympic Games held in Paris, France. Norman Pritchard brought 2 silver medals in athletics for India that time. In 1920, India sent its first team to the Belgium Summer Olympic Games. Talking about India’s involvement in this prestigious sports event, India first participated in the Paris Summer Olympic Games in 1900. But their regular feature started in 1920. Since then, it has been a regular feature in India’s sports calendar with the nation marking the presence in each of the editions since.
India also the debut in the Winter Olympic Games for the first time in 1964. After that India has been a regular participant of the Olympic Games event till the present. talking about India’s performance in the multi-sport Olympics even there was a time when the Indian Hockey team was no. 1 in the whole world in Hockey and also very dominant in Olympic Games. The Indian Hockey team won eleven medals in twelve Olympic Games in between 1920-1980. The count included 8 gold medals that too 6 successive gold medals from 1928–1956. So far, India has appeared in 35 Olympic Games and their appearance in the Tokyo Summer Olympics will mark their 36th appearance in the Olympic events.
India’s Achievement at the Olympics
India has seen some good performers in the Olympics, who have made us proud at the World platform. It was in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics when Abhinav Bindra bagged the first-ever individual Gold Medal for India, writing history. Here’s the list of winners that saw the emergence of India in different sports at such a prestigious event of the Olympic Games:
|Norman Pritchard||Paris||Athletics||Men’s 200 m||1900||–||1||–|
|Norman Pritchard||Paris||Athletics||Men’s 200 m hurdles||1900||–||1||–|
|National Team||Amsterdam||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1928||1||–||–|
|National Team||Los Angeles||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1932||1||–||–|
|National Team||Berlin||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1936||1||–||–|
|National Team||London||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1948||1||–||–|
|National Team||Helsinki||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1952||1||–||–|
|Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav||Helsinki||Wrestling||Men’s Freestyle bantamweight||1952||–||–||1|
|National Team||Melbourne||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1956||1||–||–|
|National Team||Rome||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1960||–||1||–|
|National Team||Tokyo||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1964||1||–||–|
|National Team||Mexico City||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1968||–||–||1|
|National Team||Munich||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1972||–||–||1|
|National Team||Moscow||Field Hockey||Men’s Competition||1980||1||–||–|
|Leander Paes||Atlanta||Tennis||Men’s Singles||1996||–||–||1|
|Karnam Malleswari||Sydney||Weightlifting||Women’s 69kgs||2000||–||–||1|
|Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore||Athens||Shooting||Men’s Double trap||2004||–||1||–|
|Abhinav Bindra||Beijing||Shooting||Men’s 10m Air rifle||2008||1||–||–|
|Sushil Kumar||Beijing||Wrestling||Men’s freestyle 66kg||2008||–||–||1|
|Vijay Kumar||London||Shooting||Men’s 25 rapid-fire Pistol||2012||–||1||–|
|Sushil Kumar||London||Wrestling||Men’s freestyle 66kg||2012||–||1||–|
|Saina Nehwal||London||Badminton||Women’s Singles||2012||–||–||1|
|Mary Kom||London||Boxing||Women’s flyweight||2012||–||–||1|
|Gagan Narang||London||Shooting||Men’s 10m Air rifle||2012||–||–||1|
|Yogeshwar Dutt||London||Wrestling||Men’s Freestyle 60kg||2012||–||–||1|
|P.V Sindhu||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Badminton||Women’s Singles||2016||–||1||–|
|Sakshi Malik||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Wrestling||Women’s freestyle 58kg||2016||–||–||1|
Flag Bearers for India in Olympics:
|Antwerp, Belgium||1920||Summer||Purma Banerjee||Athletics|
|Los Angeles||1932||Summer||Lal Shah Bhokhari||Field Hockey|
|Berlin||1936||Summer||Major Dhyanchand||Field Hockey|
|Helsinki||1952||Summer||Balbir Singh Sr.||Field Hockey|
|Melbourne||1956||Summer||Balbir Singh Sr.||Field Hockey|
|Tokyo||1964||Summer||Gurbachan Singh Randhawa||Athletics|
|Munich||1972||Summer||D.N Devine Jones||Boxing|
|Los Angeles||1984||Summer||Zafar Iqbal||Field Hockey|
|Calgary, Alberta, Canada||1988||Winter||Kishor Ratna||Alpine Skiing|
|Seoul, Korea||1988||Summer||Kartar Dhillon Singh||Wrestling|
|Barcelona, Spain||1992||Summer||Shiny Abraham Wilson||Athletics|
|Atlanta, Georgia||1996||Summer||Pargat Singh||Field Hockey|
|Nagano Japan||1998||Winter||Shiva Keshavan||Luge|
|Salt Lake, Utah||2002||Winter||Shiva Keshavan||Luge|
|Athens||2004||Summer||Anju Bobby George||Athletics|
|Turin Italy||2006||Winter||Neha Ahuja||Alpine Skiing|
|Beijing||2008||Summer||Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore||Shooting|
|Vancouver, Canada||2010||Winter||Shiva Keshavan||Luge|
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||2016||Summer||Abhinav Bindra||Shooting|
|PyeongChang, South Korea||2018||Winter||Shiva Keshavan||Luge|
Medals by Sports:
Total Medals Tally:
Hockey- India’s Rule of Gold
Hockey team of India has been the biggest contributor in earning glory for India at Olympics. It has secured 8 out of the 9 medals for India in the overall tally of Gold Medals. It was in 1928 when under manager GD Sondhi’s 14-member squad of Hockey team was sent to the Summer Olympics of 1928. During the years of 1928-1980, the team earned 8 gold medals, making India one of the toughest contenders in the sport of Hockey. The hockey team also won 1 silver and 2 Bronze medals. The fact that India was the first non-European team to be a part of the International Hockey Federation. It also went on to win its first Olympic Gold medal. Until 1960, the Indian team remained unbeaten in the Olympics. India’s hockey team is the most successful team ever in the Olympics, having won eight gold, one silver, and two bronze medals. But after winning the Gold medal in 1980, the Indian Hockey team’s performance has declined, and the team has failed to win a medal of any color, since.
Wrestling has earned India 5 of its 28 medals in Olympic Games. The medal tally in wrestling includes 1 Silver and 4 Bronze medals. In 1952 Summer Olympics, Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav was the first Indian wrestler to represent India at Olympics. He won a Bronze medal in the Men’s Freestyle Bantamweight category. There was a lull period for Wrestling in the 19th Century after 1852, but a big leap of faith moment came in 2008 when wrestler Sushil Kumar won a Bronze medal in the Men’s freestyle 66Kg category. In 2012, Sushil Kumar improved his performance by bagging a Silver medal at the London Olympics. Along with Sushil Kumar, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt obtained a Bronze medal in Men’s freestyle 60 kg category. In 2016, at Rio Summer Olympics, Wrestler Sakshi Malik made the most of the Repechage round and became the first Indian woman to win a medal in Olympics, earning a bronze medal in Women’s 58 kg category.
Indian Shooting at the Olympics has been one of the strongest suits for the nation, however, the results haven’t been as desired. Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore got India its first medal in a Shooting event when he won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the Men’s Double trap category. Just in the next Summer Olympics shooter, Abhinav Bindra created history by winning a Gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in the men’s 10 m Air rifle category. Thereby, he also became the first individual of the country to ever win a gold medal at any Olympic event. In 2012 London Olympics, shooter Vijay Kumar won a silver medal and Gagan Narang won bronze medal respectively. Till now shooting has brought India a total of 4 medals in Olympics with 1 Gold, 2 silvers and 1 bronze medal.
India’s recent performance in the Olympics:
2008 Beijing Olympics
In 2008 Summer Olympics that took place at Beijing, 57 athletes across 12 sports participated from India. For the first time since the 1928 Summer Olympics, Indian National Hockey Team was not participating in the Olympics. 2008 Beijing Olympics also saw India emerge with 1 gold and 2 Bronze medals. Shooter Abhinav Bindra set a record of being the first Indian individual to ever win a Gold medal at Olympic Event. He won the Gold medal in 10m Air Rifle shooting category. Boxer Vijender Singh represented India in the middleweight category where he won a bronze medal. He beat the former Carlos Góngora of Ecuador 9–4 in the quarterfinals on 20 August 2008 that assured him of a medal in the event. However, he lost 5–8 to Cuba’s Emilio Correa in the semi-finals on 22 August 2008 and had to settle with a bronze medal. In the same event, wrestler Sushil Kumar also won a bronze medal in Men’s freestyle 66kg category. It was the first time since 1952 when India had won more than 2 medals in a single Olympic event. All the Medal winners were given a grand welcome after return to India.
|Name||Sport||Event||Medal||No. of Medals||Date|
|Abhinav Bindra||Shooting||Men’s 10m Air Rifle||Gold||1||August 11|
|Vijender Singh||Boxing||Middleweight 75 Kg||Bronze||1||August 20|
|Sushil Kumar||Wrestling||Men’s freestyle 66 kg||Bronze||1||August 21|
2012 London Olympics
In the 2012 London Olympics, a total of 83 athletes, 60 men, and 23 women, competed in 13 sports in the Summer event. India marked its return in wrestling in the following year of Summer Olympics after the doping scandal during the Beijing Olympics that led to the suspension of two years on the Indian wrestling. Some old faces such as Sushil Kumar and Abhinav Bindra also featured in the multi-sport event. 2008 Beijing Olympics Gold medalist Abhinav Bindra failed to qualify for while wrestler Sushil Kumar went on to improve his performance and he won a silver medal 2012 London Olympics. Sushil Kumar was made the opening Flagbearer for the country. Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt won the bronze medal in the 60 kg category. he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013. He became the third wrestler after KD Jadhav and Sushil Kumar to win an Olympic medal. He defeated Ri Jong-Myong of North Korea to win the bronze medal thus winning the fifth medal for India. Later on, he was awarded Padma Shri in 2013 by the Government of India.
Shooter Vijay Kumar also won a silver medal in the Rapid Fire Pistol category. He finished with an average score of 9.767 and had a score of 293 with 7 inner 10s in the first stage. With his silver medal, he brought India its second medal at London Olympics. Shooter Gagan Narang was the second and overall third shooter to bring a medal for the country who won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics in the Men’s 10 m Air Rifle event with a final score of 701.1.
Badminton player Saina Nehwal represented India in Badminton where she won the bronze medal at the London Olympics when China’s Wang Xin retired from the match after an injury with the match at 18–21, 0–1. That marked India’s another count in the 2012 London Olympics.
Boxer Mary Kom was the first Indian woman to qualify for the Boxing event. She participated in 51kg category where she had to settle for a bronze medal after her defeat against Nicola Adams of UK. She ensured India another medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Mary Kom was also the closing flag-bearer for India at the event. Overall, it was India’s best Olympic Game in the history as they notched up their medal tally of 6 medals.
|Name||Sport||Event||Medal||No. of Medals||Date|
|Gagan Narang||Shooting||Men’s 10m Air Rifle||Bronze||1||30 July|
|Vijay Kumar||Shooting||Men’s 25 m rapid fire Pistol||Silver||1||3 August|
|Saina Nehwal||Badminton||Women’s Singles||Bronze||1||4 August|
|Mary Kom||Boxing||Women’s Flyweight||Bronze||1||8 August|
|Yogeshwar Dutt||Wrestling||Men’s freestyle 60 kg||Bronze||1||11 August|
|Sushil Kumar||Wrestling||Men’s freestyle 66 kg||Silver||1||12 August|
2016 Rio Summer Olympics
Total of 117 athletes participated in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games that included 63 men and 54 women across 15 sports. Three similar faces from 2012 London Olympics featured in the 2016 Olympic Event. Saina Nehwal, Yogeshwar Dutt, and Gagan Narang again represented India in their respective games. However, India could only win 2 medals at the event. Both the medals were silver and bronze medals respectively.
Shooter Abhinav Bindra was the opening flag bearer for India. Artistic gymnast and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Dipa Karmakar, Tennis player Sania Mirza also participated in the event although they returned empty-handed. However, that year saw two female athletes winning at the Olympics for India.
Badminton player P.V Sindhu defeated Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the semi-finals to have a final showdown with Spain’s top seed Carolina Marín. Though she lost to her in the finals settling up with a silver medal.
Wrestler Sakshi Malik bagged a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the 58kg category thereby she became the first Indian woman wrestler to do so. She was also the closing Flag-bearer for India at the Event.
|Name||Sport||Event||Medal||No. of Medals||Date|
|Sakshi Malik||Wrestling||Women’s single||Bronze||1||August 17|
|P.V Sindhu||Badminton||Women’s freestyle 58 kg||Silver||1||August 19|
India’s participation In Tokyo Olympics 2020
India will contest in next year’s Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics with currently 11 athletes qualified for the event. 7 out of 11 athletes are shooters that include 3 men shooters and 4 women shooters. Archery team includes Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai, and Praveen Jadhav.
However, Indian men’s and women’s Hockey team is yet to qualify for the next year’s Tokyo Olympics. The men’s and women’s team must reach the final of the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar and Hiroshima to play in the Olympic Qualifiers in October and November. Both the men’s and women’s teams are the favorites to win the Series Finals.