Olympic Day is celebrated every year on 23rd June in order to promote the idea of Olympics and celebrate the establishment of the International Olympic Committee. The first Olympic Day was celebrated in 1948, by countries including Venezuela, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Great Britain, and Uruguay.
India first participated in the 1900 Olympics, and then sent a team to the 1924 Olympics. Since then an Indian contingent has to every Summer Olympics. India has won a total of 28 medals at the Olympics. All Indians who have qualified for the Olympics, regardless of whether they have won a medal or not, have made their country proud. At this Olympic Day, here are 5 names which stand out in the history of India at the Olympics.
Olympic Day: Remembering 5 Indians who made India Proud at the Olympics
KD Jadhav- Wrestling(1948, 1952)
KD Jadhav was the first Indian to win an individual Olympic medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. He won a bronze medal in the Bantamweight Category, making him the first Indian individual from independent India to win a medal.
Jadhav participated in the 1948 Olympics for the first time, but he was out after he lost in the quarterfinals. He came back four years later, and stunned the world by winning a bronze medal. He was posthumously awarded the Arjun award in 2001, and continues to remain an icon in Indian history.
P.T. Usha- Athletics (1980, 1984, 1998, 1996)
P.T. Usha is a now retired track and field athlete and her achievements have made her known as the Queen of Track and Field in India. She is a 23 time medallist, out of which 14 are gold, at the Asian Championships. She is also a 11 time medallist at the Asian Games.
P.T. Usha participated at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where she participated in the 400m hurdles. In the pre Olympic trials, she finished with a time of 55.7s, beating American sprinter Judi Brown. In the finals, she finished just outside the medals, finishing 4th with a time of 55.42s, losing out by 1/100th of a second.
She received the Padma Shri and Arjun Awards for her achievements and contribution in the field of Athletics.
Abhinav Bindra- Shooting(2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016)
Abhinav Bindra is the only Indian to win a gold medal at the Olympics. He won a gold medal at the 10m rifle shooting event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, creating history.
Despite facing several challenges, Bindra competed at the 2006 ISSF World Championships and won a gold, making him a hopeful to win a medal at the Olympics. Bindra titled in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event, shooting a total of 700.5. Going into the final round, he was tied for second with Henry Hakkinen. Under pressure, Bindra delivered his highest score of 10.8 while his opponent shot a 9.7 to settle for bronze.
He has been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, The Arjuna Award and the Padma Bhushan Award.
Milkha Singh- Athletics(1956, 1960)
Milkha Singh, also known as the Flying Sikh, is the only Indian to win a gold in the 400m at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. As an inexperienced athlete, he did not do well at the 1956 Olympics, but his success at the 1960 Olympics left the world shocked. He is most fondly remembered for his fourth place finish at the 1960 Olympic Games, where the 400m race ended in a photo finish.
He was often known as the finest Indian track and field athlete ever. The four time Asian Games gold medallist was awarded the Padma Shri in 1959. He sadly passed away on 18th June 2021 due to Covid, but his legacy lives on forever.
Dhyan Chand- Hockey(1928,1932,1936)
Major Dhyan Chand is often regarded as the best hockey player in the history of his field. He won a gold medal with the Indian men’s Hockey team in all three Olympics when he played. He was the captain of the Indian hockey in the 1936 Olympic Games. His game impressed everyone a lot and he was even invited by Hitler to play for Germany.
The greatest hockey player played internationally from 1926 to 1949; he scored 570 goals in 185 of his matches. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the government in 1956. National Sports Day is celebrated on his birthday every year on 29th August.
Also read: India at Tokyo Olympics: 4 Wrestlers Seeded into Top 4 for the Summer Olympic Games