India at the Olympics

 

It is the 1900 Paris Olympics when India was first represented in the Summer Games. Norman Pritchard, the only representative from India, was able to win two silver medals, one in the 200-meter hurdles and one in the men’s 200-meters.

Olympic historians agreed to award the medals of Pritchard to India in spite of the country’s lack of independence at the time. India firstly sent a team to represent them officially in 1920 and since then, they have been in every Summer Olympics in spite of the fact that the Indian Olympic Association was not established until1927. In the same year, it was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

India’s first Olympic medals after the year 1900 came when their field hockey team won the gold medal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on May 26, 1928. This was their very first taste of an Olympic gold medal but certainly will not be the last. India has won a Summer Games’ gold medal since 1928 all the way to 1956. After that, Sushil Kumar won the silver medal for men’s wrestling and became the second multiple individual Olympic medalists of India since Norman Pritchard won a bronze for the same sport and weight class in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

India first took part in the Winter Olympics in 1964 and came back in 1968 but missed all Winter Games until 1988 and the 1994 Winter Games in Norway. Finally, they came back in 1998 and have never missed any Winter Olympics since then.

Trivia

  • Norman Pritchard, the first Olympian of India, went on to star in Hollywood and Broadway.
  • At the 1936 Olympic Games, Indian athletes had to march behind the flag of Great Britain because it was still a British colony.
  • India is the country having the lowest number of Olympic medals per capita.
  • Indian athletes won Olympic medals mostly in field hockey.
  • Abhinav Bindra was the first individual Indian athlete who won an Olympic gold medal in 2008 (shooting).