India has won 28 medals at the Olympics from the 1900 Paris Games to the 2016 edition held at Rio. These include nine gold medals, seven silver medals and 12 bronze medals.
India’s first Olympic medal winner was Norman Pritchard, who won a silver medal each in the 200 m and 200 m hurdles events in the Athletics category at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games. Independent India’s first Olympic medal winner was K D Jadhav, who bagged the bronze medal in wrestling at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
Hockey’s Glorious Era
Hockey is India’s national game. Not surprisingly, India has won the maximum number of Olympic medals, 11 in all, in this team sport. India has won eight gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in hockey. India was unbeatable in the 28-year period between the 1928 Amsterdam Games and the 1956 Melbourne Games. It won the gold medal at all the six Olympic Games held in this period (Olympics Games were not held in 1940 and 1944 due to World War II.) But the last medal in hockey was way back in 1980, when the Indian team led by Vasudevan Bhaskaran, won gold at the Moscow Olympic Games.
Abhinav Bindra is the only Indian to have won a gold medal in an individual event. He won the gold medal in shooting in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10 m air rifle event. Four years earlier, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had become the first Indian in 52 years to win an individual medal, securing the silver medal in the men’s double trap shooting at the 2004 Athens Games.
Leander Paes is the only medal winner in tennis, having won the bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. This feat, incidentally, ended a 44-year-old wait for an individual medal by India at the Olympics. The previous winner was K D Jadhav, who won a bronze medal in Wrestling at the 1952 Helsinki Games. The first Indian boxer to win at the Olympics was Vijender Singh, who won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Flying High In 2012
India’s best performance in terms of the medals tally came at the 2012 London Olympics where it bagged six medals in Wrestling, Shooting, Badminton and Boxing. The tally included two silver and four bronze medals. For the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, India sent over 100 athletes to compete in 15 disciplines. But it won only two medals, with P V Sindhu bagging a silver medal in Badminton and Sakshi Malik ending up with a bronze in Wrestling.