India’s first debut at the Summer Olympics was in 1900, and the country has won 28 medals at the quadrennial event since then, in both individual and team competitions.
Let’s look back at all the times India has finished on the podium in the quadrennial showcase.
Norman Pritchard (Silver, Paris 1900, Men’s 200m):
India’s first Olympic medal came in athletics; courtesy of British-Indian athlete Pritchard, who earned a silver medal in the 200m category during the country’s inaugural appearance at the famous tournament long before independence.
Norman Pritchard (Silver, Paris 1900, Men’s 200m hurdles):
Pritchard won another silver medal at the same event, this time in the 200m hurdles, coming second.
Pritchard’s two medals at those games helped India finish sixth in the overall medal standings.
India (Gold, Amsterdam 1928, Men’s field hockey):
Third medal for India, this time in a team event, when the men’s hockey team. Led by Jaipal Singh Munda, won gold by defeating the Netherlands 3–0 in the final.
India (Gold, Los Angeles 1932, Men’s field hockey)
Four years later, Lal Shah Bokhari and his teammates successfully defended India’s gold medal by defeating Japan 11–1 in the final.
India (Gold, Berlin 1936, Men’s field hockey)
The men’s hockey team completed a hat-trick of gold medals by thrashing every team on its path to the final in 1936, defeating host Germany 8–1 in the summit game.
India (Gold, London 1948, Men’s field hockey)
The Olympics were interrupted for 12 years due to the Second World War, but they were resurrected in 1948 in London, where India, then free of British dominion and playing as an independent nation, won its fourth consecutive gold medal in men’s field hockey.
The team, led by Kishan Lal, breezed through the group stage, advanced to the semifinals by defeating the Netherlands 2–1 before defeating host Great Britain 4–0 in the final to retain the championship.
India (Gold, Helsinki 1952, Men’s field hockey)
In the title match, Kunwar Digvijay Singh’s men overcame the Netherlands 6–1 to keep the gold rush going for the side at the quadrennial event.
KD Jadhav (Bronze, Helsinki 1952, Men’s Freestyle bantamweight wrestling)
In each of the previous four tournaments, India had only one medal to show for it.
A second came in the form of Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, who made history by becoming independent India’s first-ever individual medalist, winning bronze in the freestyle bantamweight wrestling event at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
India ( Gold, Melbourne 1956, Men’s field hockey)
The Indian men’s field hockey team continued to dominate at the Olympics, with a six-year winning streak in 1956, when the squad coached by Balbir Singh Sr. stood atop the podium after defeating Pakistan 1-0 in the final.
India (Silver, Rome 1960, Men’s field hockey)
In 1960, India suffered its first defeat in an Olympic final, losing 1-0 against Pakistan. This was perhaps the first blemish in India’s golden run at the Summer Games.
India (Gold, Tokyo 1964, Men’s field hockey)
After missing out on the gold in the Italian capital, India returned to winning ways in Tokyo.
The men’s hockey team won gold in the final, defeating Pakistan 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mohinder Lal.
India (Bronze, Mexico 1968, Men’s field hockey)
The first time India did not win a gold or silver medal in men’s hockey occurred at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, when it won bronze after defeating West Germany 2-1 in a playoff match.
India (Bronze, Munich 1972, Men’s field hockey)
The men’s team won a second consecutive bronze medal after defeating the Netherlands 2-1 in the playoff.
Vece Paes, the father of perhaps India’s greatest Olympian Leander, was also a member of this squad.
India (Gold, Moscow 1980 Men’s field hockey)
India did not finish on the podium in hockey in Montreal 1976 for the first time since winning the 1900 Olympics in Paris.
In 1980, Vasudevan Bhaskaran’s team reversed an eight-year winless streak by winning gold in Moscow, defeating Spain 1-0 in the final.
Leander Peas (Bronze, Atlanta 1996, Tennis)
Leander earned the bronze medal at the 1996 Games, defeating Brazil’s Fernando Meligeni 7-6, 6-3 in the playoff round, bringing India’s dry streak to an end after 16 years.
Karnam Malleswari (Bronze, Sydney 2000, Women’s weightlifting)
Malleswari earned bronze in weightlifting in the women’s 69kg division at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, making her India’s first female Olympic medalist.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (Silver, Athens 2004, Men’s double trap)
Rathore earned silver in the men’s double trap event at the 2004 Athens Olympics, giving India its first Olympic shooting medal.
Abhinav Bindra (Gold, Beijing 2008, Men’s 10m Air Rifle)
On July 11, Bindra became the first-ever Indian athlete to win Gold in an individual event at the Olympics, bagging the yellow metal in the 10m Air Rifle event.
Sushil Kumar (Bronze, Beijing 2008, Men’s 66kg freestyle wrestling)
A 56-year wait for a medal in wrestling ended in 2008, when Sushil won bronze in the 66kg freestyle event.
Vijender Singh (Bronze, Beijing 2008, Men’s middleweight boxing)
Singh brought India more joy in contact sports in 2008, when he won the bronze medal in the boxing middleweight category.
Vijay Kumar (Silver, London 2012, Rapid fire Pistol)
Vijay won silver in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event, continuing India’s shooting success from Beijing to London.
Gagan Narang (Bronze, London 2012, Men’s 10m Air Rifle)
After Bindra’s win at the 2008 Games, Narang also won India’s second Olympic medal in 10m air rifle at the 2012 Olympics.
Saina Nehwal (Bronze, London 2012, Women’s singles badminton)
12 years after Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal, Saina also joined her on the list, winning the bronze in the women’s singles event in badminton.
MC Mary Kom (Bronze, London 2012, Flyweight boxing)
An already stellar career had another memorable moment added to it when Mary Kom won the bronze medal in the women’s flyweight category in boxing at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sushil Kumar (Silver, London 2012, Men’s freestyle wrestling)
Sushil won silver in the 66kg freestyle category at the 2012 London Olympics. He becomes the first Indian athlete to win two individual Olympic medals since independence.
Yogeshwar Dutt (Bronze, London 2012, Men’s Freestyle Wrestling)
Wrestling, like shooting, had a second medalist at the London Olympics in 2012. As Yogeshwar wins bronze in the men’s 60kg freestyle wrestling.
Sakshi Malik (Bronze, Rio 2016, Women’s freestyle wrestling )
Sakshi Malik became India’s first female wrestler to earn a medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; taking bronze in the women’s 58kg freestyle wrestling event.
PV Sindhu (Silver, Rio 2016, Badminton)
Sindhu finally made it to the podium after Saina in 2012; winning a silver medal in women’s singles badminton, finishing second behind Carolina Marin in the final.
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