India at Olympics

India at Olympics

India’s journey at  Olympic Games in 1900, with single athelete Norman Pritchard participating and  winning two medals- both silver- in athletics. Till now, India has won 9 Gold Medals, 7 Silver Medals and 12 Bronze Medals in Olympics with maximum number of gold medals (Eight) coming from Hockey.

Brief History of Olympics

Inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, which led to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896.

Types of Olympics:

  • Summer Olympics
    • Oldest, held first in 1896, Athens.
    • Hosted by a different city every four years.  But did not take place in 1916 (World War I), 1940 and 1944 (World War II)
    • Most recent,  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2016).
    • USA – hosted maximum number of time – (4) & also won most number of medals.
    • Forthcoming – 2020: Tokyo, Japan & 2024: Paris, France.
  • Winter Olympics
    • Held first in 1924, Chamonix, France.
    • Held once every four years for sports practised on snow and ice. But did not take place in 1940 and 1944 (World War II).
    • Until 1992 the Winter and Summer Olympic Games were held in the same years but with the 1994 Games, the Winter Olympics were held every four years, two years after each Summer Olympics.
  • Paralympics
    • In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, determined to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II, organised a multi-sport event between several hospitals to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics.
    • For the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Guttmann brought 400 athletes to compete in the “Parallel Olympics”, which became known as the first Paralympics. Since then, the Paralympics have been held in every Olympic year.
  • Youth Olympic Games
    • In 2010, the Olympic Games were complemented by the Youth Games, which give athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 the chance to compete.
    • The first Summer Youth Games were held in Singapore in 2010, while the inaugural Winter Games were hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, two years later.
  • Continental Games

India’s Olympic Journey: Timeline

  • 1900 (Paris):
    • Norman Pritchard, sole athlete representing India competed in the Men’s 200 meters (Silver Medal) and 200 meters hurdles (Silver Medal).
  • 1920 (Antwerp):
    • India’s Second appearance at Olympics.
    • First time, India sent team.
  • 1924 (Paris):
    • Athletes set to represent India at the Paris 1924 Games were selected from the first ever Indian Olympic Games.
    • First time that female athletes were representing India.
    • Competed in Tennis event for the first time.
  • 1928 (Amsterdam):
    • India men’s hockey team won gold medal. Captain – Jaipal Singh Munda. Dhyan Chand in Team
  • 1932 (Los Angeles)
    • Hockey – Gold
  • 1936 (Berlin)
    • Hockey – Gold – Dhyan Chand Captain.
  • 1948 (London)
    • Hockey – Gold
  • 1952 (Helsinki)
    • Hockey – Gold
    • Freestyle Wrestling – Bronze – Khashaba Jadhav
  • 1956 (Melbourne – Stockholm)
    • Hockey – Gold
  • 1960 (Rome)
    • Hockey – Silver
    • Milkha Singh – finished 4th with a timing of 45.6, an Indian record that was unbroken till the 1984 Games.
  • Tokyo (1964)
    • Hockey – Gold
  • 1968 (Mexico)
    • Hockey – Bronze
  • 1972: (Munich)
    • Hockey – Bronze
  • 1976 (Montreal)
  • 1980 (Moscow)
    • Hockey – Gold
  • 1984 (Los Angeles)
    • P. T. Usha lost a bronze by one-hundredth of a second.
  • 1988 (Seoul)
    • Competed in Archery for the first time.
  • 1992 (Barcelona)
  • 1996 (Atlanta)
    • Leander Paes – India its first medal in Tennis – Bronze
  • 2000 (Sydney)
    • First medal won by a Woman and a first in Weightlifting – Karnam Malleswari – Bronze
  • 2004 (Athens)
    • First medal in Shooting – Silver – Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in the Men’s Double Trap Event.
  • 2008 (Beijing)
    • Abhinav Bindra –  Gold  – Shooting –  Men’s 10M Air Rifle (India’s first individual Olympic Gold medal)
    • Vijender Singh –   Bronze  –  Boxing –  Men’s Middleweight
    • Sushil Kumar –   Bronze –  Wrestling  –  66 kg
  • 2012 (London)
    • Vijay Kumar – Silver – Shooting – Men’s Rapid-Fire Pistol, 25M
    • Sushil Kumar – Silver –  Wrestling – Men’s Air Rifle, 10M
    • Saina Nehwal – Bronze – Badminton – Women’s Singles
    • Mary Kom – Bronze – Boxing – Women’s Flyweight
    • Gagan Narang –  Bronze – Shooting – Men’s Air Rifle, 10M
    • Yogeshwar Dutt – Bronze – Wrestling – Men’s Lightweight, Freestyle
  • 2016 (Rio):
    • Pusarla Sindhu – Silver – Badminton – Singles
    • Sakshi Malik – Bronze – Wrestling – Women’s Lightweight, Freestyle

Winter Olympics:

  • 1964 (Innsburk, Austria)
    • India appeared for the first time
    • Jeremy Bujakowski – sole athlete – competed in the Men’s Downhill event in Alpine Skiing
  • 1968 (Grenoble, France)
  • 1988 (Calgary, Canada)
    • India competed after a gap of 20 years.
    • Shailaja Kumar, the first female athlete representing India at Winter Olympics
  • 1992 (Albertville, France) – 1998 (Nagano, Japan) – 2002 (Salt Lake city, USA) – 2006 (Turin, Italy) – 2010 (Vancouver, Canada) – 2014 (Sochi, Russia) – 2018 (Pyeongchang County, South Korea) – Participated but did not win.

Paralympics:

  • 1968 (Tel Aviv, Isreal)
    • India made its Summer Paralympic début
  • 1972 (Heidelberg, West Germany)
    • First Gold – Murlikant Petkar swam the 50 meter freestyle in a world record time of 37.331 seconds.
  • 1984 (New York, USA)
    • Joginder Singh Bedi won Silver at the Men’s Shot Put and bronze Medals in the Discus and Javelin throws.
    • Bhimrao Kesarkar, won the Silver medal in the Javelin.
  • 2004 ( Athens, Greece)
    • Devendra Jhajharia – Javelin throw –  won Gold
    • Rajinder Singh won Bronze for powerlifting in the 56-kg category
  • 2012 (London)
    • H. N. Girisha, – Silver medal – men’s high jump F-42 category
  • 2016 (Rio)
    • Mariyappan Thangavelu – Gold– Athletics – Men’s High Jump T42
    • Devendra Jhajharia – Gold– Athletics – Men’s Javelin Throw F46
    • Deepa Malik – Silver – Athletics – Women’s Shot Put- F53
    • Varun Singh Bhati –  Bronze – Athletics – Men’s High Jump T42

Way-ahead for India at Olympics:

Few ways in which we can do better in the upcoming editions of Olympics:

  1. Focused Olympics training facilities – Establish more non-profit organisations like the Olympics Gold Quest set up by Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone. This organisation was built with a vision to provide holistic support to Olympic athletes.
  2. Make sports a viable career option for athletes – Most of the top performers in the national games in China are on government payroll and are paid to train/play sports at various competitions. A balanced approach that employs players for non-sport government jobs (with financial aid) and allows them to train properly will encourage greater participation.
  3. Grass-root level scouting and talent identification – Centralise scouting efforts among young children, nurture, and provide them with proper infrastructure, facilities, equipment. Coupled with employment opportunities from government and other institutions, this can create a positive environment for the players to push for greatness. (Ref: Impact Analysis Report)