India at the
Olympics
IOC codeIND
NOCIndian Olympic Association
Websiteolympic.ind.in
Medals
Ranked 56th
Gold
10
Silver
9
Bronze
16
Total
35
Summer appearances
Winter appearances
Other related appearances
 Independent Olympic Participants (2014)

India first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone athlete Norman Pritchard winning two medals – both silver – in athletics and became the first Asian nation to win an Olympic medal.[1][2] The nation first sent a team to the Summer Olympic Games in 1920 and has participated in every Summer Games since then. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games beginning in 1964. Indian athletes have won 35 medals, all at the Summer Games. For a period of time, the Indian Men's Field Hockey Team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning eleven medals in twelve Olympics between 1928 and 1980. The run included eight gold medals of which six were won consecutively from 1928 to 1956.[3]

History

During British Imperial rule

India team that won the gold medal at 1928 Summer Olympics

Despite being under British rule until 1947, India participated in the Olympic Games separately from the British Olympic Team. India sent its first athlete to the Summer Olympics for the 1900 Games, but an Indian national team did not compete at the Summer Olympics until 1920. Ahead of the 1920 Games, Sir Dorabji Tata and Governor of Bombay George Lloyd helped India secure representation at the International Olympic Committee, enabling it to participate in the Games (see India at the 1920 Olympic Games).[4] India then sent a team to the 1920 Olympics, comprising three athletes, two wrestlers, and managers Sohrab Bhoot and A. H. A. Fyzee.[5] The Indian Olympic movement was then established during the 1920s: some founders of this movement were Dorabji Tata, A.G. Noehren (Madras College of Physical Education), H.C. Buck (Madras College of Physical Education), Moinul Haq (Bihar sports associations), S. Bhoot (Bombay Olympic Association), A.S. Bhagwat (Deccan Gymkhana), and Guru Dutt Sondhi (Punjab Olympic Association); Lt. Col H.L.O. Garrett (from the Government College Lahore and Punjab Olympic Association) and Sagnik Poddar (of St. Stephen's School) helped organise some early national games; and prominent patrons included Maharajas and royal princes such as Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Ranjitsinhji of Nawanagar, the Maharaja of Kapurthala, and the Maharaja of Burdwan.[6]

In 1923, a provisional All India Olympic Committee was formed, and in February 1924, the All India Olympic Games (that later became the National Games of India) were held to select a team for the 1924 Summer Olympics. The Indian delegation at the Paris Olympics comprised seven athletes, seven tennis players and team manager Harry Buck.[7]

Indian hockey team at 1936 Berlin Olympics

In 1927, the provisional Indian Olympic Committee formally became the Indian Olympic Association (IOA); its main tasks were to promote the development of sports in India, choose host cities for the national games, and send teams selected from the national games to the Summer Olympics. Thus, at the 1928 national games, it selected seven athletes to represent India at the next Summer Olympics, with Sondhi as manager.[8] By this time, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) had also been established and it sent a hockey team to the Summer Olympics. The national hockey team was similarly sent to the 1932 Games along with four athletes and one swimmer and 1936 Games with four athletes, three wrestlers, one weight-lifter, along with three officials headed by team manager Sondhi. The Indian field hockey team dominated the Olympics from 1928 to 1936 winning an unprecedented three consecutive titles. In the 1928 Summer Olympics final India defeated Netherlands 3–0. It was the first gold medal won by any nation from Asia at the modern Olympic Games.[9][10] In 1932 Summer Olympics India defeated United States 24–1, the largest margin of victory in Olympics history.[11] In 1936 Summer Olympics final they defeated Germany 8–1, the largest margin of victory ever in an Olympic final.[12]

Post-independence

India scoring their third goal against Britain in the final at the 1948 Olympics

From 1948 onwards, because of the IOA's wider outreach, India began sending delegations of over 50 athletes in several sports, each selected by its sports federation, to the Summer Olympics. The delegation was headed by a chef-de-mission. The Indian field hockey team won a gold medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics by defeating Great Britain in the final. It was the first gold medal for India as an independent nation.[13]

1952 Helsinki Gold Medal winning team with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

At the 1952 Summer Olympics wrestler K. D. Jadhav won the first individual medal for independent India.[14] The Indian field hockey team continued their dominance by winning a sixth straight title by defeating Pakistan in the final of 1956 Summer Olympics. The six straight title wins by the Indian team was an Olympic record at that time in a team event. This record has since been surpassed only by the United States men's and women's basketball teams.[15][16]

At the 1960 Rome Olympics the hockey team lost the final and had to settle for a silver medal.[17] The team bounced back by winning gold at the 1964 Summer Olympics.[18] But went on to win only bronze medals in the next two Olympics.[19][20] India sent a delegation to compete at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. This was India's debut at the Winter Olympic Games.[21][22][23] The sole athlete representing India was Jeremy Bujakowski, who competed in the men's downhill event in alpine skiing.[24][25] In 1976 Summer Olympics India went home empty handed, the first time since 1924.[26]

Indian hockey team won their record eighth Olympic gold at the 1980 Summer Olympics.[27][28] India had to return empty handed in the next three Summer Olympics. At the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, tennis player Leander Paes won a bronze medal at the men's singles event ending a barren run of 16 years without a medal at the Olympics and also became the first individual medalist since 1952.[29]

Recent history

Sushil Kumar (left) became the first Indian athlete to win multiple individual Olympic medals since independence

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Karnam Malleswari won a bronze medal in the Women's 69 kg weightlifting category. It was the first-ever Olympic medal won by an Indian woman.[30]

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, star shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the silver medal in Men's double trap shooting.[31]

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra came on top in the Men's 10 metre air rifle event and became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal.[32] Vijender Singh got the country's first medal in boxing with his bronze medal in Middleweight category. The 3 medal haul for India was the best till that year. Subsequently, the record was bettered to make it the third best performance in history.[33]

The 2012 Summer Olympics saw a record 83-member Indian contingent participating in the games and setting a new best for the country with a total of six medals.[31] Wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian with multiple individual Olympic medals (bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics and silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics) since independence. Saina Nehwal won a bronze medal in badminton in Women's singles, winning the country's first Olympic medal in badminton. Pugilist Mary Kom became the first Indian woman to win a medal in boxing with her bronze medal in Women's flyweight division. Star shooter Gagan Narang won the bronze in men's 10 m air rifle shooting.[34] Vijay Kumar added another medal by winning a silver in men's 25 m rapid fire pistol competition.[35] This was India's best performance till it was overtaken in 2020.

Olympics bronze medalist Mary Kom with young sportsperson

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, a record number of 118 athletes competed. Sakshi Malik became the first Indian female wrestler to win an Olympic medal with her bronze medal in the Women's freestyle 58 kg category.[36] Shuttler P. V. Sindhu won a silver medal in Women's singles badminton, becoming the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal and also the youngest Indian Olympic medalist.[37]

At the 2020 Summer Olympics (held in 2021), India was represented by a new record number of 124 athletes. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu secured a silver in the weightlifting women's category of 49 kg on the opening day, the first time India won a medal on the opening day of any Olympics.[38] A few days later, P. V. Sindhu defeated China's He Bingjiao in the Women's singles badminton bronze-medal match in straight games, thus becoming the first Indian woman to win two individual Olympic medals.[39][40] Neeraj Chopra won the gold in Javelin Throw, becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in track and field and the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold.[41] In Men's Field Hockey, India won a bronze medal. This medal came after a gap of 41 years, having last won a gold medal in Moscow 1980.[42][43] In the wrestling competitions, Ravi Kumar Dahiya won a silver medal and Bajrang Punia won a bronze medal.[44][45] Olympic debutant Lovlina Borgohain took bronze in women's boxing. She became only the second woman to win an Olympic medal in boxing.[46] The haul of 7 medals is the best performance for India in the Olympics history.[47][48][49]

Olympic Milestones

2008 Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra with then Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee.
Milestone Athlete/Team Game(s) Sport Medal(s)
First medalist,
First individual medalist[50]
Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris Athletics Silver Silver
First Individual medalist after independence[51] K. D. Jadhav 1952 Helsinki Wrestling Bronze Bronze
First gold medalist[52] Men's Field Hockey Team 1928 Amsterdam Field hockey Gold Gold
First gold medalist after independence[53] Men's Field Hockey Team 1948 London Field hockey Gold Gold
First individual gold medalist[54] Abhinav Bindra 2008 Beijing Shooting Gold Gold
First individual Multi-medalist[55][56] Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris Athletics Silver Silver
Silver Silver
First Individual multi-medalist after independence[57] Sushil Kumar 2008 Beijing
2012 London
Wrestling Bronze Bronze
Silver Silver
First female medalist[58] Karnam Malleswari 2000 Sydney Weightlifting Bronze Bronze
First female multi-medalist[59] P. V. Sindhu 2016 Rio de Janeiro
2020 Tokyo
Badminton Silver Silver
Bronze Bronze

Indian contingent at Olympics

Following lists provide a comparative compendium of the number of participants from India in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

Medal tables

See also: All-time Olympic Games medal table

Medals by Sports

List of medalists

Medal Name/Team Games Sport Event Date
Silver Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris AthleticsAthletics Men's 200 metres 22 July 1900
Silver Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris AthleticsAthletics Men's 200 metre hurdles 16 July 1900
Gold 1928 Amsterdam Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 26 May 1928
Gold 1932 Los Angeles Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 11 August 1932
Gold 1936 Berlin Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 15 August 1936
Gold 1948 London Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 12 August 1948
Gold 1952 Helsinki Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 24 July 1952
Bronze K. D. Jadhav 1952 Helsinki WrestlingWrestling Men's freestyle 57 kg 23 July 1952
Gold 1956 Melbourne Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 6 December 1956
Silver 1960 Rome Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 9 September 1960
Gold 1964 Tokyo Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 23 October 1964
Bronze 1968 Mexico City Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 26 October 1968
Bronze 1972 Munich Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 10 September 1972
Gold 1980 Moscow Field HockeyField hockey Men's competition 29 July 1980
Bronze Leander Paes 1996 Atlanta TennisTennis Men's singles 3 August 1996
Bronze Karnam Malleswari 2000 Sydney WeightliftingWeightlifting Women's 69 kg 19 September 2000
Silver Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 2004 Athens ShootingShooting Men's double trap 17 August 2004
Gold Abhinav Bindra 2008 Beijing ShootingShooting Men's 10 m air rifle 11 August 2008
Bronze Vijender Singh BoxingBoxing Middleweight 20 August 2008
Bronze Sushil Kumar WrestlingWrestling Men's freestyle 66 kg 21 August 2008
Silver Vijay Kumar 2012 London ShootingShooting Men's 25 m rapid fire pistol 3 August 2012
Silver Sushil Kumar WrestlingWrestling Men's freestyle 66 kg 12 August 2012
Bronze Saina Nehwal BadmintonBadminton Women's singles 4 August 2012
Bronze Mary Kom Boxing Boxing Women's flyweight 8 August 2012
Bronze Gagan Narang ShootingShooting Men's 10m air rifle 30 July 2012
Bronze Yogeshwar Dutt WrestlingWrestling Men's freestyle 60 kg 11 August 2012
Silver P. V. Sindhu 2016 Rio de Janeiro BadmintonBadminton Women's singles 19 August 2016
Bronze Sakshi Malik WrestlingWrestling Women's freestyle 58 kg 17 August 2016
Gold Neeraj Chopra 2020 Tokyo AthleticsAthletics Men's javelin throw 7 August 2021[60]
Silver Saikhom Mirabai Chanu WeightliftingWeightlifting Women's 49 kg 24 July 2021
Silver Ravi Kumar Dahiya WrestlingWrestling Men's freestyle 57 kg 5 August 2021
Bronze P. V. Sindhu BadmintonBadminton Women's singles 1 August 2021
Bronze Lovlina Borgohain BoxingBoxing Women's welterweight 4 August 2021
Bronze Field HockeyField hockey Men's tournament 5 August 2021
Bronze Bajrang Punia WrestlingWrestling Men's freestyle 65 kg 7 August 2021

Multiple medalists

Team sports

Athlete Sport Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Leslie Claudius Field hockey 1948–1960 3 1 0 4
Udham Singh Field hockey 1952–1964 3 1 0 4
Richard James Allen Field hockey 1928–1936 3 0 0 3
Dhyan Chand Field hockey 1928–1936 3 0 0 3
Ranganathan Francis Field hockey 1948–1956 3 0 0 3
Randhir Singh Gentle Field hockey 1948–1956 3 0 0 3
Balbir Singh Sr. Field hockey 1948–1956 3 0 0 3
Shankar Lakshman Field hockey 1956–1964 2 1 0 3
Haripal Kaushik Field hockey 1956–1964 2 1 0 3
John Peter Field hockey 1960–1968 1 1 1 3
Prithipal Singh Field hockey 1960–1968 1 1 1 3
Harbinder Singh Field hockey 1964–1972 1 0 2 3
Carlyle Tapsell Field hockey 1932–1936 2 0 0 2
Roop Singh Field hockey 1932–1936 2 0 0 2
Jaswant Rai Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Govind Perumal Field hockey 1952–1956 2 0 0 2
Amir Kumar Field hockey 1948–1956 2 0 0 2
Jaswant Singh Rajput Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Leslie Hammond Field hockey 1928–1932 2 0 0 2
Broome Pinniger Field hockey 1928–1932 2 0 0 2
Sayed Jaffar Field hockey 1932–1936 2 0 0 2
Keshav Dutt Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Grahanandan Singh Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
K. D. Singh Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Raghbir Lal Field hockey 1952–1956 2 0 0 2
Joginder Singh Field hockey 1960–1964 1 1 0 2
Charanjit Singh Field hockey 1960–1964 1 1 0 2
Raghbir Singh Bhola Field hockey 1956–1960 1 1 0 2
Mohinder Lal Field hockey 1960–1964 1 1 0 2
Balkrishan Singh Field hockey 1956–1960 1 1 0 2
Rajendran Christie Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Balbir Singh Kullar Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Jagjit Singh Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Gurbux Singh Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Krishnamurthy Perumal Field hockey 1968–1972 0 0 2 2
Ajitpal Singh Field hockey 1968–1972 0 0 2 2
Harmik Singh Field hockey 1968–1972 0 0 2 2

Individual Sports

Athlete Sport Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norman Pritchard Athletics 1900 0 2 0 2
Sushil Kumar Wrestling 2008–2012 0 1 1 2
P. V. Sindhu Badminton 2016–2020 0 1 1 2

Indian men's field hockey team at the Summer Olympics

Indian field hockey team at the 1948 London Olympics

Olympic records

Medal table

Indian postal stamp, 1972
Indian postal stamp, 1992
Indian postal stamp, 2004
Games Ranking
1908 London Did not enter
1920 Antwerp Did not enter
1928 Amsterdam Gold Gold
1932 Los Angeles Gold Gold
1936 Berlin Gold Gold
1948 London Gold Gold
1952 Helsinki Gold Gold
1956 Melbourne Gold Gold
1960 Rome Silver Silver
1964 Tokyo Gold Gold
1968 Mexico City Bronze Bronze
1972 Munich Bronze Bronze
1976 Montreal 7th[62]
1980 Moscow Gold Gold
1984 Los Angeles 5th
1988 Seoul 6th
1992 Barcelona 7th
1996 Atlanta 8th
2000 Sydney 7th
2004 Athens 7th
2008 Beijing Did not qualify
2012 London 12th
2016 Rio de Janeiro 8th
2020 Tokyo Bronze Bronze

See also

References

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