chapter  11
15 Pages

Torchbearers of a Billion: India at the Games

For the record, India has won just 15 medals in its chequered Olympic history between 1928 and 2004. This is not counting the two medals won by the mysterious Norman Pritchard at the Paris Games of 1900.1 For a nation that started participating in the Games in earnest in 1924, 15 medals in 23 Olympics hardly evoke a sense of fulfillment. Eleven of the 15 have come in hockey (eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals), one each in wrestling, tennis, women’s weightlifting and shooting. Clearly then, success stories have been few and far between. Accounts of failure far outnumber standout Indian performances. Stories of near-finishes have become even more poignant in this context, converting our Olympic journey into a tale of rued chances and laments of what could have been.