Olympics: History, India at Olympics, and Indian Olympic Medal Winners (1900-2016)

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History of Olympics

The ancient Olympics began in 776 BC. Olympics were dedicated to the Olympian gods; the games took place on the ancient plains of Olympia. The games continued or nearly 12 centuries. In 393 AD Emperor Theodosius expelled the Olympic Games claiming it was a pagan cult.

The Olympics was revived in the late 19th century. The founder of the Olympics was Pelops. The Olympics aimed at showcasing physical qualities, evolution, and performances. The games are held after every four years in honour of the god Zeus. The Games took place in Olympia, western Peloponnese Peninsula.

First Modern Olympics

In 1896, the Olympics took place in Athens. 280 participants from 13 nations were featured and competed in 43 events. All the participants were male. The events included cycling, tennis, wrestling, cycling weight lifting, shooting swimming, and gymnastics.

From 1994, the Summer and Winter Olympic are held separately. They two alternate after every two years.

What do the five interlocking colour rings mean?

The five interlocking rings in the Olympic symbol represent the five continents. These are; North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia. The first flag with the symbols flew in Antwerp Games in 1920.

India at the Olympics

The first time India participated in the Olympics was in 1900 with one Athlete. India won 2 silver medals. Norman Pritchard won 2 medals in the 200-metre athletics in Paris. India participated in the summer Olympics games in 1920 but failed to win any medal. The nation has since then has been involved in several winter and summer Olympic Games. India has taken part in Hockey, Athletic, Wrestling, weightlifting, shooting, Boxing, Tennis, Badminton, and Boxing games.

Summary of Events from 1900 to 2016
India won first time two silver medals in 200 metres athletics from Norman Pritchard.

  • In 1928, the Indian hockey team won 4 gold medals.
  • After independence, the number of sports and participants increased. In 1952, India won Gold from the hockey team and a bronze medal from Khashaba Dadasaheb in wrestling.
  • The hockey team performance has been tremendous with a total of 11 medals.
  • In the last 30 Olympic Games India won 26 medals.
  • In 1996 Leander Paes in Men’s Singles Tennis won Bronze
  • In 2000 Karnam Malleswari in Women’s 69 kg category in Weightlifting won Bronze medal.
  • In 2004 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won a silver medal in Shooting, Men’s Double.
  • In 2008, Abhivan Bindra an ace shooter won a gold medal in Beijing. India won the gold after 116 years of Olympics. Vijender Bindra won Bronze medal in Men’s Boxing and Sushil Kumar won Bronze Medal in Men’s Wrestling.
  • In 2012 India won 6 medals. Gagan Narang won Bronze in Shooting Air Rifle, Vijay Kumar won Silver in Shooting Men Rapid Fire Pistol, Saina Nehwal won Bronze in Women Badminton, Mary Kom won Bronze in Women Boxing; Yogeshwar Dutt won Bronze in Men’s Wrestling; Sushil Kumar won Silver in Men’s Wrestling
  • In 2016 India won Silver and Bronze medal in Badminton and Wrestling. Pusaria Venkata Sindhu won Silver in Badminton, and Sakshi Malik won Bronze in the women’s freestyle 58kg wrestling.

List of Medals won by India since 1900 to 2016

Year Male Females Number of Medals won Medals
1900 1 0 2 Silver
1928 21 0 1 Gold
1932 30 0 1 Gold
1936 27 0 1 Gold
1948 79 0 1 Gold
1952 60 4 2 1 Gold and 1 Bronze
1956 58 1 1 Gold
1960 45 0 1 Silver
1964 58 1 1 Gold
1968 25 0 1 Bronze
1972 40 1 1 Bronze
1980 58 18 1 Gold
1996 44 4 1 Bronze
2000 65 1 1 Bronze
2004 48 25 1 Silver
2008 31 25 3 1 Gold, 2 Bronze
2012 60 23 6 2 Silver, 4 Bronze
2016 63 54 2 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
TOTAL 813 157 28

The future for India in Olympics is promising something new is happening in the Indian sports despite the challenges.

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