A History of Indians at the Olympics

- August 6, 2021

By Dheer Sanghi The Olympics, the world’s premier sporting competition, hosts thousands of athletes and over two hundred nations. Originating in Olympia, Ancient Greece, the Olympics have become a staple, bringing in millions of viewers every four years. With the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics well underway, this is as good a time as ever to look back at India’s century-long history at the games.  Illustration: Sneha Balaji India first participated during the Paris 1900 Olympics. Though India did not send a team, a Calcutta-born athlete of British nationality named Norman Pritchard won two silver medals in the two hundred metre sprint and two hundred metre hurdle competitions whilst representing India. Both wins were not only historic for India as Pritchard was the first to win an Olympic medal representing an Asian nation. Interestingly enough, historical records of the British team selection show that Pritchard was meant to compete for Great Britain. The International Olympics Committee however still deems those medals to be under India’s name. The next time Indians took part in the Olympics was in 1920, where they sent six athletes. Though no medals were won that year, it led to India sending a team to every subsequent game, the size of which dramatically increased in recent history. This year a record number one hundred and twenty-seven don Indian jerseys in Tokyo, compared to only six a century ago. ...

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