Athens, Greece hosted the first modern Olympics back in 1896. In 1900, India won its first medal etching its name on the Olympics medal table. Then came the golden era of Indian hockey bagging several medals for almost half a decade. Since then India has clinched a total of 28 medals in the Olympics. With the Tokyo Olympics ready to roll, let’s glance upon every medal won by India to date.
1900 Paris Olympics
Norman Pritchard opened the medal tally for India winning not just one but two silver medals in athletic competitions (200m and 200m hurdles). The Indian Olympic committee recognizes Pritchard as the first Indian to win an Olympic medal.
1928 Amsterdam Olympics
A 28-year-long wait to win an Olympic medal was ended by the golden era of Indian hockey. A team consisting of both British and Indian players won its first Olympic gold medal in Amsterdam. Dhyan Chand hit the headlines scoring 14 goals, the highest in the tournament. Historic!
1932 Los Angeles Olympics
India still holds the record for most goals scored and the most considerable win margin in a hockey match that they made in Los Angeles. A 24-1 victory against the USA was and is huge to date. This edition brought the Indian hockey team their second gold medal.
1936 Berlin Olympics
The Indian Hockey team completed its hat-trick of gold medals at Berlin. Interestingly, Hitler was so impressed by the skills of Dhyan Chand, that he ended up offering him a place in the German Army.
1948 London Olympics
The London Olympics marked India’s debut as an independent nation. The hockey finals saw India battle it out against their former colonizers, Great Britain. India defeated Great Britain 4-0 winning its fourth gold.
1952 Helsinki Olympics
- Wrestling: After a wait of 50 years, India’s individual Olympic medal draught was ended by wrestler Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav. He won bronze in the freestyle bantamweight category which is regarded as Independent India’s first individual medal.
- Hockey: The Indian hockey team also defeated the Netherlands to clinch the gold for the fifth time.
1956 Melbourne Olympics
India defeated Pakistan in a hard-fought hockey final to win their sixth successive gold medal.
1960 Rome Olympics
Pakistan stopped India from winning its seventh successive gold medal in Hockey as they defeated India in the final clash. India had to settle for silver.
1964 Tokyo Olympics
For the third time, the Olympics had an Indo-Pak final in hockey. This time India defeated Pakistan to clinch the gold medal.
1968 Mexico Olympic
The Indian hockey team for the bronze medal after losing out to Australia in the extra time and winning the bronze medal match against West Germany.
1972 Munich Olympics
For the second time in a row, the Indian hockey team settled for the bronze after being beaten by Pakistan (yet again!) in the semi-final.
1980 Montreal Olympics
The last time the Indian hockey team won a medal was at the 1980 Montreal Olympics. The team defeated Spain in the finals in a rather hard-fought match to win its 8th gold medal at this Olympics.
1996 Athens Olympics
Leander Paes won India an individual Olympic medal after a long wait of 44 years. Playing in tennis singles, he clinched the bronze after defeating Fernando Meligeni in the bronze medal match.
2000 Sydney Olympics
Karnam Malleshwari became the first-ever Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She achieved this feat by winning a bronze medal in the 69kg category of women’s weightlifting.
2004 Athens Olympics
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore became independent India’s first individual silver medallist when he finished 2nd in the double trap shooting event.
2008 Beijing Olympics
- Shooting:Abhinav Bindra created history when he became the first Indian individual gold medallist at the Olympics. He won the 10m air rifle event.
- Boxing: Vijender Singh continued the streak to become the first Indian boxer to clinch an individual Olympic medal. His bronze in the middleweight category further advanced India’s medal tally.
- Wrestling: Sushil Kumar’s bronze was earned by defeating Leonid Spridonov in the semi-final. This was India’s second-ever medal in the wrestling category.
2012 London Olympics
- Shooting: Vijay Kumar won a silver medal in the 25m rapid-fire event. This was followed by Gagan Narang winning bronze in the 10m air rifle event. Narang finished just a point behind the gold medal. winner.
- Wrestling: Sushil Kumar registered his name in the history books becoming the first Indian to win 2 individual Olympics medals. Yogeshwar Dutt also won the bronze medal in London.
- Badminton: Saina Nehwal also created history when she became the first Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal (bronze).
- Boxing: Five-time world champion MC Mary Kom clinched herself a bronze medal after losing a competitive semi-final match.
2016 Rio Olympics
- Badminton: P.V. Sindhu became the first Indian woman to clinch the silver medal in women’s singles at the Rio Olympics.
- Wrestling: Sakshi Malik secured the bronze medal in the women’s freestyle 58kg category. Having lost in the quarterfinal, she still managed to reache the semi-finals through the repechage.
It is clear how India’s dominance at the Olympics has increased over time, but somewhere we still have a huge capacity to grow. We wish the Indian contingents at the Tokyo Olympics all the best and hope we add to our medal tally soon!