Do you remember the phrase, “Padhoge Likhoge Banoge Nawab, Kheloge Kudoge Banoge Kharab”? Well, not anymore! Sporting is bringing glory to the nation, and also medals – gold, silver, and bronze! The recent performance put up by our athletes on the various global stage is what makes this Olympics Day, all the more celebratory and significant.
International Olympics Day is celebrated worldwide on June 23. The theme this year is Together, For a Peaceful World! The theme celebrates the power of sports in bringing peace and people together. The theme includes topics like sustainability, inclusion, solidarity, and peace, aiming to contribute to a better world through sport. It is a call to action for people to move together, up to and during Olympic Day, to show their united support for a peaceful world.
On the occasion, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju urged everyone to build a better world, by bringing people together in peace and spread the message of making sports an integral part of life.
The first Olympic Day!
The first Olympic Day was celebrated on June 23, 1948. In 1947, during the 41st Session of the International Olympic Committee in Stockholm, a report on a World Olympic Day celebration was presented that was aimed at promoting the idea of Olympic. The project was adopted some months later on the occasion of the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948.
The National Olympic Committees (NOCs) were put in charge of organizing this event and were requested to choose a date between 17 and 24 June, thereby celebrating the founding of the International Olympic Committee at the Sorbonne, Paris, on June 23,1894, where Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games.
India at Olympics
The journey of India in the Olympics has come a far way, from a single representation in Paris in 1900 to 126 in Tokyo 2020. We hold a record eight gold medals in hockey, six of which were consecutive; KD Jadhav’s first individual Olympic medal for an independent India; Abhinav Bindra’s historic gold at Beijing 2008, and Neeraj Chopra’s first-ever track-and-field gold at Tokyo 2020, these moments make India’s experience at the global competition a success in its own.
India, in its opening year, won two medals at the 1900 Paris Olympics. 2012 London Olympics witnessed our best performance with 6 medals until Tokyo 2020 when India brought home 7 medals. However, India failed to bring any medal home in 1920, 1924, 1976, 1984, 1988, and 1992.
Norman Pritchard (British- Indian), the sole representative at the 1900 Paris Olympics won two silver medals in the 200m sprint and 200m hurdles. Then, at the 1924 Paris Olympics, India made its tennis debut. In Hockey, the year 1928 was special as the Indian hockey team led by Major Dhyan Chand won their first Olympic gold medal. India achieved the same feat at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1936 Berlin Olympics and completed a memorable hat-trick.
In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, wrestler KD Jadhav became the first Indian to win an individual Olympic medal. He won a bronze. However, the edition was special for another reason for India – Nilima Ghose became the first woman from independent India to participate in the Olympics.
After a bad run in the 80s, Leander Paes’s bronze in the men’s singles event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, broke the jinx. At the 2012 London Olympics, Saina Nehwal won India’s first Olympic medal in badminton. Sushil Kumar bagged his second Olympic medal while Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Mary Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt’s wins brought India’s 6 medals.
Tokyo 2020, the most successful Olympics for India saw historic events. The Indian men’s hockey team broke its 41-year Olympic medal drought with a bronze and the women’s team recorded its best-ever finish of fourth. Neeraj Chopra, won India’s first track-and-field gold medal in the javelin throw. It was also India’s first gold medal since Abhinav Bindra at Beijing in 2008. Not only this, India’s success continued to the Paralympics too in which it won 19 medals.