The modern Olympics started in 1896. India first participated Olympics in 1900. British India sent its first and only athlete in the 1900 Paris Olympics. Calcutta born Norman Pritchard was the first British- Indian athlete to compete in the Olympics. He won two Silver medals in the Olympics and made India the first Asian nation to win an Olympic medal. India, as a team, however, first participated in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp due to Sir Dorabji Tata financial contributions and Governor of Bombay George Lloyd’s administrative help. The Indian Olympics association was formed in 1927.
India did not participate in 1896, 1904, 1908 and 1912 Olympics, and the 1916 Olympics was cancelled due to the First world war. The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled due to the Second world war. India participated in 1920, 1924, 1976, 1984, 1988 and 1992 but did not win any medal. In the last 124 years, India has won 35 medals, including 10 Golds. Thirty of them came after Independence. Let’s have a look at the medals table.
1900 – Paris Olympics – Norman Pritchard won two silver medals in athletics. In historical records, Pritchard was listed as having competed for Great Britain in 1900, but Olympic historians tend to separate Indian results from British ones despite India’s lack of Independence. Hence the medals are credited to India.
1928 – Amsterdam Olympics – It took 28 years for India to win a medal in Olympics. India won its first Gold medal in Men’s Field Hockey and started brutal domination, which lasted for six Olympics. All total, India scored 29 goals out of 69 scored in the entire tournament. Major Dhyan Chand scored 14 of them. India did not concede a single goal in that Olympics.
1932 – Los Angeles Olympics – India won only one medal, and it was the Gold medal in Men’s Field Hockey after capitulating the USA by 24 – 1. Major Dhyan Chand scored eight, and his brother scored ten goals in the same match.
1936 – Berlin Olympics – India won only one medal, and it was the Gold medal in Men’s Field Hockey after beating Germany 8 – 1. Major Dhyan Chand scored four goals in the final.
1948 – London Olympics – Newly Independent India kept its excellent form intact even though many star players moved to a new country called Pakistan. India won only one medal, and it was the Gold medal in Men’s Field Hockey by beating Great Britain 4-1.
1952 – Helsinki Olympics – India won two medals. First time in Wrestling, Khashaba Jadav won a Bronze medal. India also won the Gold medal in Men’s Field Hockey by beating Netherlands 6-1.
1956 – Melbourne Olympics – India again won a Gold medal, and it was in Men’s Field Hockey by beating Pakistan 1-0.
1960 – Rome Olympics – India’s undefeated run in Men’s Field Hockey ended in 1960. India lost the final against Pakistan; the Final score was 1-0. Silver in Filed Hockey was the only medal India won in that world cup.
1964 – Tokyo Olympics – India won only one Gold medal, and it was again in Men’s Field Hockey and that too against Pakistan. The final score was again 1-0.
1968 – Mexico Olympics – India won only one Bronze medal, and it was in Men’s Field Hockey.
1972- Munich Olympics – India won only one Bronze medal, and it was in Men’s Field Hockey.
1980 – Moscow Olympics – India won only one medal, and It was a Gold in Field Hockey, taking the tally to 8 Gold medals in Men’s Field Hockey, a record which is still unbroken today.
1996 – Atlanta Olympics – Leander Paes won India’s only medal in that Olympics. It was a Bronze medal in Tennis(Men’s singles).
2000 – Sydney Olympics – Karnam Malleswari won a Bronze medal in Weightlifting.
2004 – Athens Olympics – Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won a Silver medal in Shooting.
2008 – Beijing Olympics – India won three medals. Abhinav Bindra won the Gold medal in Shooting, making him the first Indian to win a Gold medal in Olympics in the individual category. Vijendra Singh won a Bronze in Boxing and Sushil Kumar in Wrestling.
2012 – London Olympics – India won six medals. Vijay Kumar won a Silver in Shooting, and Sushil Kumar won a Silver medal in Wrestling, making him the first Indian to win two medals in the individual category. India won four Bronze medals, Saina Nehwal in Badminton, Mary Kom in Boxing, Gagan Narang in Shooting and Yogeshwar Dutt in Wrestling.
2016 – Rio de Janeiro Olympics– PV Sindhu won a Silver medal in Badminton and Sakshi Malik a Bronze in Wrestling.
2020 – Tokyo Olympics– India sent its largest-ever contingent to the Olympics and won seven medals, including a Gold medal. India registered its first medal when Mirabai Chanu won a Silver in Weightlifting. Then P.V Sindhu won a Bronze in Badminton, making her the first Indian woman to win back-to-back medals in the Olympics. Lovlina Borgohain won Bronze in Boxing. Indian Field Hockey team won the Bronze medal, its first medal since 1980. Ravi Kumar Dahiya came close to win the Gold but had to settle for Silver in Wrestling. Bajrang Punia won a Bronze medal in Wrestling. Finally, India’s decade-old wait for Gold is over. Neeraj Chopra won India’s first Gold in athletics.