India's participation in the Olympics preceded well before its independence. Since the 1900 edition, India has won a total of 28 Olympic medals (9 gold, 7 silver, and 12 bronze) till now. From India's first Olympic medal in 1900 to the Hockey team's prolific success at the Olympics and much more, take a look at the Indian athletes who have earned victories for the country at the Summer Olympics so far.
India's Olympic journey began at the 1900 Paris Olympics, with a lone athlete, Norman Pritchard, winning two medals. He was the first Indian representative at the modern Olympics and participated in 5 men's events in Athletics - 60m, 100m, 200m, 110m, and 200m hurdles. Eventually, he ended up winning silver medals in the 200m and 200m hurdles and kickstarted India's Olympic journey on a positive note.
Vijender Singh became the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal. He won the quarterfinals, guaranteeing a bronze medal before losing 5-8 to Cuba's Emilio Correa in the semi-finals.
Manipur-based Mary Kom inspired the country and many others by becoming the first Indian female boxer to win an Olympic medal. She lost to UK’s Nicola Adams in the semi-finals in the 51kg category to settle for bronze.
When it comes to Field Hockey, India is the most successful country at the Olympics. Moreover, Hockey is the National Sport of the Country. Overall, India has earned 11 Olympic medals (8 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) so far.
India's dominance in hockey kickstarted at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, where Dhyan Chand scored a hat-trick against Holland in the finals. Notably, it was India's first Olympic gold medal and the Hockey team became the first team to be listed as Indian Olympic winners.
The team dominated the prestigious title until 1956 (1932 Los Angeles, 1936 Berlin, 1948 London, 1952 Helsinki, and 1956 Melbourne Olympics), winning a total of six Olympic golds, the highest by any country in Hockey.
India's gold-winning streak ended at the 1960 Moscow Olympics when it suffered a shocking 0-1 defeat against Pakistan in the finals. However, India settled with an Olympic silver medal. Later, it was at the 1964 Olympics that India clinched its 7th Olympic gold medal.
India's first bronze came at the 1968 Mexico Olympics when they were defeated for the first time in the semi-finals by Australia. However, India went on to win the bronze after defeating Germany 3-1 in their third-place playoff match.
Consecutively, India earned its second bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympics before returning empty-handed for the first time at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Historically, India came back stronger at the 1980 Moscow Olympics to earn its 8th Olympic gold medal. Unfortunately, this happens to be India's last Hockey medal at the Olympics so far.
The Olympic Badminton Circuit of India is ruled by the Indian queens, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu who have earned laurels for the country worldwide.
Saina Nehwal scripted history as she became the first-ever Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal. She earned a bronze medal after her opponent, Wang Xin of China was forced to retire due to injury.
PV Sindhu raised the flag even higher by becoming the first Indian badminton player to win a silver medal at the Olympics. Sindhu lost an 83-minute nail-biting final against the Spaniard, Carolina Marin, to settle for silver.
At a time when India was enjoying supremacy in the field of hockey, Maharashtra's Khashaba Dadasahed Jadhav attracted attention by winning a bronze medal in the men's freestyle bantamweight (54kg) category. Moreover, he became the first individual Olympic winner in Independent India.
56 years later, Sushil Kumar went on to clinch the bronze medal in the 66kg category.
Sushil Kumar, the Olympic Flag Bearer for India, did not disappoint in this edition either. He reached the finals before losing to Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu to win an Olympic silver. Notably, he became the first Indian athlete with multiple individual Olympic medals since Norman Pritchard in 1900.
Apart from Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt clinched a bronze medal in the men's freestyle (60kg) category.
Sakshi Malik scripted history by becoming the first Indian female athlete to win an Olympic medal in wrestling. She defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova 8-5 in the 58kg category to win the bronze medal.
Former Sports Minister of India, Rajyavardhan Rathore became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in Shooting. He won a silver medal, thereby inspiring and encouraging many others to take up the sport.
Abhinav Bindra took the level up in the following edition of the Olympics by winning a gold medal in the Men's 10m Air Rifle. Notably, he stands out as the only Olympic gold medallist in India so far.
In the following edition as well, India won 2 medals in shooting. While Vijay Kumar won silver in the Men’s 25m Rapid Pistol Event, Gagan Narang won a bronze in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle.
Andhra Pradesh's Karnam Malleswari broke all odds as she become the first-ever Indian female athlete to win an Olympic medal. She clinched the bronze medal in the 54kg category, lifting 110kg in the snatch category and 140kg in the clean and jerk category for a total of 240kg.
India returned empty-handed for four straight Olympics before Leander Paes got them into winning ways at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Paes lost to Andre Agassi in the semi-finals before winning against Fernando Meligani in the bronze medal match. Notably, this is the only Olympic medal won by India in Tennis.