Who is Gagan Narang?

Gagan Narang is an ace Indian shooter, especially in Air rifle shooting, supported by the Olympic Gold Quest. He was the first Indian to qualify for the London Olympics. He won the Bronze Medal in the Men's 10 m Air Rifle Event at the 2012 London Olympics.

Gagan was born on 6 May 1983 in Chennai. His family hails from Panipat in Haryana. His grandfather lived at Samalkha in Panipat district, later on the family moved to Hyderabad.

Gagan Narang is a gold medalist in the Afro Asian games, 2003 in Hyderabad on October 26, 2003 in Men's 10m air rifle competition. He had won an air rifle gold medal at the World Cup 2006 and followed that event in April 2010.

In a pre-Olympic event in Hannover, Germany, Gagan shot an air rifle score higher than the world record, 704.3 as opposed to 703.1 set by Thomas Farnik of Austria in the World Cup 2006. Gagan qualified for the 2008 ISSF World Cup Final after he won a gold in the World Cup in China earlier in 2008. Gagan shot a perfect 1600 in the qualification round. He scored 103.5 in the final round making total score of 703.5 to gain the universe record. On November 4, 2008 he broke Austria's Thomas Farnik's record, set in the 2006 World Cup final in Granada, Spain.

Gagan Narang added 4 gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. In the Men's 10 m air rifle singles event, he shot a perfect 600 which was a new record.

Gagan also clinched a silver medal in his pet event at the Asian Games 2010. He also combined with Abhinav Bindra and Sanjeev Rajput to provide the country with another silver, in the team event behind champions China. Both of his silvers were won on the opening day of Asian Games.

Gagan Narang won the bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event at the 2012 London Olympics with a total score of 701.1 becoming India's first medal winner at the 2012 games. Gagan was just behind the silver medallist Niccolo Campriani of Italy who scored 701.5, while the gold medallist Alin George Moldoveanu of Romania was at 702.1.

In recognition with his achievements, Gagan Narang was conferred with the Padma Shree Award in 2010. Gagan Narang was selected for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for 2010. This is the highest sports award in the country. He was conferred the award by then President Pratibha Patil on 29 August 2011.
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India bags first medal, Gagan Narang wins Bronze in 10m air rifle at London Olympics

Gagan Narang today won bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event, fetches first medal for India at London Olympics.

Shooter Gagan Narang ended India's medal drought at the London Olympics after clinching bronze medal in the 10 metre air rifle event with an overall score of 701.1 just behind the gold medallist Romania's Alin George Moldoveanu (702.1) and sliver medallist Niccolo 701.5

Earlier in the day, Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra crashed out of the London Games by failing to qualify for men's 10 metre air rifle final. However, compatriot Gagan Narang had kept alive India's hopes by advancing to the medal round with an overall score of 598 on Monday.

Narang started of well in the finals as he shot a 10.7 in his first attempt followed by a mediocre 9.7. Narang fought back hard as he scored 10.6 and 10.7 in his third and fourth attempt. Narang shot a 10.4 in his fifth attempt followed by a 10.6. Narang then had bad series of 9.9 and 9.5 but he came strongly to score 10.3 and 10.7 in his final two shots.

Bindra, who scripted history four years ago by becoming the country's first-ever individual gold medallist in the Olympics, shot 594 out of 600 to finish a shocking 16th out of 47 competitors and lost the golden chance of becoming the world's first shooter to win two successive Eagold medals at the mega event. Narang was one of the top eight shooters who qualified for the medal round.

After securing some massive victories on the second day of Olympics. Team India will look to carry on with the good work. The second day of the Olympics saw Saina Nehwal and Jai Bhagwan score comprehensive victories on their opponent. As Sawarn Singh went to the Quarter Final stages of the rowing competition.
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Hockey Wizard: Dhyan Chand


Dhyan Chand Singh was an Indian Hockey player, and considered to be the all time greatest player the game of Hockey has ever seen the world over. He has probably been the only Indian player ever in any sport which skills so high that generated a number of myths about his abilities as a Hockey player.

Dhyan Chand has put India on the world map in sport. Chand is most remembered for his goal-scoring feats and for his three Olympic gold medals (1928, 1932, and 1936) in field hockey, while India was dominant in the sport. Throughout his carrier, Dhyan Chand scored more than 1000 goals

He was born on the 29th of August 1905 at Prayag (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh to a Bais Rajput family. Dhyan Chand spent most of his early time at Jhansi. His father served the Indian Army as a Subedar, and played the game of Hockey. Initially known as Dhyan Singh, he had 2 brothers named Mool Singh and Roop Singh, the latter one too being an accomplished Hockey player. Dhyan could not resume his studies after 6th standard as his family used to move from one place to another, before finally settling down permanently at Jhansi.

In his younger days, Dhyan was not much interested into sports although he liked wrestling a lot. He started playing Hockey with his friends who used to themselves make Hockey sticks from tree branches and balls from ragged clothes. At the age of 14 years he visited a Hockey match with his father, where one team was down by 2 goals. He insisted his father to play from the losing side, and when an Army Officer let him do so, Dhyan scored 4 goals for the team. Impressed by his skills, the Officer offered him to join the army and at the age of 16 years Dhyan was inducted into the Punjab Regiment as a Sepoy in the year 1922. Subedar-Major Bhole Tiwari of Brahmin Regiment became Dhyan’s mentor inside the Army and taught him the basics of the game. Pankaj Gupta was the first Coach of Dhyan Singh who predicted that one day he would shine like the Moon, called Chand in Hindi. Hence, Dhyan Singh came to be known as Dhyan Chand after that.

There are many incidents that describe the grandeur of Dhyan Chand’s amazing skills as a wonderful Hockey player. In one of them, he scored 3 goals in the last 4 minutes of a match wherein his team was losing by 2 goals, and got his team the victory in the match. This was the Final match of the Punjab Infantry Tournament in Jhelum. After this match, Dhyan Chand was named the “Hockey Wizard”.

Dhyan Chand delivered brilliant performance in the first Inter-Provincial (National) Hockey tournament that was organized in the year 1925. Five teams, viz. United Provices (UP), Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and Central Provinces participated in the tournament. On the basis of his performance in the tournament, he was selected for the International Hockey team of India.

In the year 1926 Dhyan Chand was selected for the Indian Hockey team going to visit New Zealand at a tour. During the tour, the Indian team scored 20 goals in a match played at Dannkerke, and Dhyan Chand alone had scored 10 of them. India played 21 matches on the tour, out of which it won 18, lost 1 and drew 2 matches. The team scored a total number of 192 goals and Dhyan Chand alone had scored over 100 of them. After his return to India, he was promoted to the post of Lance Nayak in the Army. At the London Folkstone Festival in 1927, he scored 36 goals out of India’s total 72 goals, in 10 matches played at the event.

Dhyan Chand played a monumental role in India winning 3 successive Olympic hockey gold medals (in 1928, 1932 and 1936).

He played for the Indian Hockey team in the Amsterdam Olympic Games 1928, and scored 2 out of the 3 goals in the final match against Netherlands, getting India the Gold Medal by a 3-0 win. In the Los Angeles Olympics 1932, the Indian team led by Lal Shah Bukhari again won the Gold Medal. In the tournament, the Indian Hockey team defeated the USA Hockey team by 23-1, which remained a world record until it was broken in the year 2003. Out of these 23 goals, 8 were scored alone by Dhyan Chand. In the event, Dhyan Chand scored 12 goals for India in 2 matches.

In the Berlin Olympics 1932, Indian had successfully treaded their path to the finals crushing Hungary by 4-0, USA by 7-0 and Japan 9-0 without conceding a single goal in the tournament. The team defeated France in the Semi-Finals by 10 goals, and was going to combat Germany in the Finals. In the Final match, the Indian squad could score only 1 goal till the interval. Dhyan Chand removed his shoes in the interval and played the match barefooted onwards. The Indian team won the match and the Gold medal by 8-1.

In the year 1934, Dhyan Chand was appointed the captain of the Indian hockey and subsequently captained the gold winning team at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

At the Berlin Olympics, Hitler was so impressed with his play that he offered to make him colonel (higher post) in the German army, if he agreed to play for Germany, but he politely denied the offer.

At the age of 43, he led the hockey team to the tour of East Africa in 1947. In this tour Dhyan Chand scored 61 goals in 21 matches that India played. After an illustrious carrier of 30 years, Dhyan Chand bid adieu to international hockey in 1949. He retired as Major and was also the Chief Hockey Coach at the National Institute of Sports.

After retirement, he taught at coaching camps at Mount Abu, Rajasthan. Later, he accepted the position of Chief Hockey Coach at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, a post he held for several years. Chand spent his last days in his hometown of Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Dhyan Chand met Don Bradman, the Cricket Maestro at Adelaide in the year 1935. After watching him play Hockey, Bradman commented “He scores goals like runs in Cricket.”

Dhyan Chand died on December 3, 1979 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. He was cremated at the Jhansi Heroes ground in his hometown, after some initial problems in getting clearance. His regiment, the Punjab Regiment, accorded him full military honours.

For his extra-ordinary services to the nation, the Government of India celebrates Dhyan Chand’s birthday (29th of August) as National Sports Day. The President gives away sport-related awards such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, India.

The Indian Postal Service issued a postage stamp in his memory, and the Dhyan Chand National Stadium at New Delhi has been named after him. He was honored by the Padma Bhushan award by the Government of India in the year 1956. India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is the Dhyan Chand Award which has been awarded annually from 2002 to sporting figures who not only contribute through their performance but also contribute to the sport after their retirement.

Astro-turf hockey pitch, at the Indian Gymkhana Club in London has been named after Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand.

Even today, Dhyan Chand remains a legendary figure in Indian and world hockey. His astounding skills have been glorified in various apocryphal stories and anecdotes. A number of such legends revolve around the fact that Singh had a magical control over dribbling the ball.
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The Flying Sikh: Milkha Singh

After clocking a world record 45.8 seconds in the 400-meter race preliminaries in France, and finishing second in all of his 400m races prior to the races, Milkha Singh – dubbed 'The Flying Sikh' – was a favorite for the gold medal. Unfortunately, he ended up missing bronze by a fraction.

In the final event he set off strongly to the fore but was overhauled by the field and finished in fourth place, this being a decision that required a photo-finish. It was a gut-wrenching moment for the champion runner.

In later years, Milkha – who in 1959 had won a Commonwealth Games gold in Cardiff – would look back at the 400m final at the Rome Olympics as a tragic moment in his sporting career.

"Since it was a photo-finish, the announcements were held up. The suspense was excruciating. I knew what my fatal error was: After running perilously fast in lane five, I slowed down at 250 metres. I could not cover the lost ground after that - and that cost me the race," he said. "After the death of my parents, that is my worst memory. I kept crying for days."

So dejected was Milkha at failing to win a medal that he even contemplated retiring from athletics. Luckily for India, he was coaxed out of such thoughts and in 1962 won two medals at the Asian Games.
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Dazzling opening ceremony launches 30th Olympic Games

London presented a vibrant picture of Great Britain's rich heritage and culture as a colourful opening ceremony marked the inauguration of the 30th Olympic Games at the spunky Olympic stadium on Friday night.

Queen Elizabeth II declared the Games open amidst thunderous cheers from the capacity crowd of 80,000 signalling the launch of the biggest sporting spectacle which returned to Britain after a gap of 64 years, giving the country the distinction of holding the mega event for an unprecedented third time.

The night sky lit up with dazzling fireworks as the Queen declared the Games open to herald London's moment of glory in the presence of as many as 100 heads of state and a host of other dignitaries who have descended on this historic city to witness the extravaganza, watched by an estimated one billion global audience.

The 27 million pound three-and-a-half-hour long opening ceremony, which magically transformed the stadium into a rural British idyll, complete with cows, horses, sheep and dogs and synthetic clouds to provide traditional British rain, was designed to give Britons a "picture of ourselves as a nation".

The 81-strong Indian contingent, the biggest ever, was led by wrestler Sushil Kumar, a bronze medallist in the 2008 Beijing Games. It was a smartly dressed Indian contingent. The men wore yellow safas, navy blue blazers, cream-coloured trousers, off-white shirts and ties, and the women were dressed in elegant sarees.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary-general Randhir Singh waved at the contingent from the VIP box.

Indians will take part in 13 disciplines. Four years ago, India won three medals, gold for shooter Abhinav Bindra and bronze medals for Sushil and boxer Vijender Singh.

Gold medal winning fencer Mariel Zagunis led the United States team into the Olympic Stadium. Two-time sabre gold-medallist Zagunis, 27, was chosen in a vote by the 529-strong American team. Four-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy led the Great Britain team. Hoy, 36, also carried the Union Jack at the closing ceremony in Beijing four years ago. The British team was the last of the 205 nations to enter the arena.

Basketball star Yi Jianlian led the China team. The Dallas Mavericks centre succeeds fellow basketball hero Yao Ming who carried the flag on home soil at the Beijing Games in 2008. China has brought a 396-strong team to London.

Australia's Lauren Jackson led her country's team, the first Australian woman in 20 years to carry the flag at a Summer Games. The 31-year-old Jackson was appearing at her fourth Olympic Games after leading the women's basketball team to silver in Beijing four years ago. Chef de Mission Nick Green said Jackson had been chosen for her leadership qualities on and off the court, but her appointment to carry the flag also followed a row over gender equality in Australia in recent weeks.

Five time Olympic beach volleyballer Natalia Cook said last week, apparently in jest, that she would stage a sit-down protest if she had to walk behind another male flag bearer, while there were also complaints about travel arrangements.

The women's basketball team, who have been runners-up to the United States at the last three Games, flew to London in economy class while the country's men, who have never won a medal, went in business class.

The arrangements were slammed by Australian media and politicians, forcing the country's basketball governing body to say it would review its policy. The last Australian woman to lead out the team was diver Jenny Donnet in Barcelona in 1992.

Saudi Arabia's first female Olympic athletes made their appearance at the opening ceremony to the London Games on Friday, dressed in traditional hijabs, or Islamic headscarfs. Saudi Arabia was one of three countries, alongside Brunei and Qatar, never to have sent female athletes to the Olympics but the latter two confirmed earlier this year that their delegations would include women. Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani and Sarah Attar are due to compete in the +78kg category in judo and 800 metres respectively after Saudi Arabia broke with its practice of sending male-only teams to the world's biggest multi-sports event.

On Thursday, International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer said Shaherkani would have to fight without a hijab - a decision that is likely to cause controversy in Saudi Arabia, where female participation in sports has long been a controversial issue.

Powerful clerics denounce women for exercising, saying it goes against their natural role.

Greece's Olympic team entered the stadium at the head of a parade of athletes from the 204 nations participating in the 2012 London Games. The Greeks were led by flag bearer Alexandros Nikolaidis, a two-time taekwondo silver medallist. The beleaguered country's athletes always come out first in honour of Greece's place as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. After that, countries parade in alphabetical order, with host Britain last.

Roughly 10,500 athletes are participating, although some have skipped the three-hour ceremony in order to be well-rested for competition.
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India's Olympic moments: Hockey's golden run

Olympic Gold winning Indian Hockey players

Hockey was the first sport that had the world take notice of Indian presence at Olympics. For 28 years, Indian hockey team at the biggest sports carnival, the Summer Olympics, was unbeatable. The sheer dominance was accentuated by the fact that the British played against an Indian team only when after it ceased to be their colony. This they did, apparently, to avoid the humiliation of getting defeated by one of their colonies. Hockey has earned India a total of 11 Olympic medals. This includes eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals and the last of those, a gold medal, came way back in 1980 at Moscow Games.

In fact, looking at that record it seems we missed out on two gold in 1940 and 1944, the editions that got abandoned due to the World War II.

The whole world would gasp in awe as Dhyan Chand and his teammates displayed their magic with the hockey sticks enthralling thousands of fans all over the planet, making India the undisputable champion team.

But things haven't been the same since our last golden Olympic year 1980, and less than ten days from London Olympics, that optimism, though not at its peek, is brewing once again. On that note, let's live through that golden phase of Indian hockey.

Amsterdam 1928: The beginning of a golden era


The initiation of the golden run incidentally also saw the birth of a hockey legend – Major Dhyan Chand. He burst into the limelight as the event's top scorer with 14 goals, which included a hat-trick performance in the final against the Dutch. Such was India's dominance that the team didn't concede even a single goal in five matches.

Results:
  • India beat Austria 6-0
  • India beat Belgium 9-0
  • India beat Denmark 5-0
  • India beat Switzerland 6-0
  • Final: India beat Holland 3-0

Los Angeles 1932: A low-key affair, but gold is gold


With the competition reduced to just three participating nations – India, United States and Japan – India emerged overwhelming favourites. It reflected in the two wins that earned India their second consecutive gold. They beat USA 24-1 with 10 goals from Roop Singh and eight from Dhyan Chand, before which they hammered Japan 11-1.

Results:
  • India beat Japan 11-1
  • India beat United States 24-1

Berlin 1936: Dhyan Chand's swansong


By now, Dhyanchand was 31 and after establishing himself the undisputed hockey wizard, he decided to quit the game while captaining the team in Berlin. The gold-medal match against Germany was witness to a famous Dhyan Chand anecdote. In a collision with the aggressive German goalkeeper Tito Warnholtz, Dhyan Chand lost a tooth and had to be attended on the sidelines. But upon returning, Dhyan Chand – understandably angry over the incident – took the team in a huddle urging them to teach the Germans a lesson.

What followed was an act of sheer artistic control. The Indians repeatedly took the ball into the German circle but refused to shot at goal, returning back into their half. That left the Germans humiliated. Meanwhile, India won the match by a thumping 8-1 margin, thereby completing a hat-trick of Olympic gold.

Results:
  • India beat Hungary 4-0
  • India beat USA 7-0
  • India beat Japan 9-0
  • Semi-final: India beat France 10-0
  • Final: India beat Germany 8-1

London 1948: A reason to smile post partition horror


For the Indians trying to recover from the mayhem that Indo-Pak partition caused, the first hockey team of independent India – in which every player was making his Olympic debut, including the legendary Leslie Claudius and Balbir Singh Sr. – once again became the reason to smile.

Results:
  • India beat Austria 8-0
  • India beat Argentina 9-1
  • Quarter-final: India beat Spain 2-0
  • Semi-final: India beat Holland 2-1
  • Final: India beat Britain 4-0

Helsinki 1952: Fifth gold in a row


KD Singh Babu and Balbir Singh Sr. became household names after this edition, with the latter scoring nine of India's 13 goals. Following the event, KD Singh Babu was bestowed upon the titles of 'Best Sportsman of Asia' and the 'Best Hockey Player in the World'. Having received a bye in the first round, India went on to beat Australia, Great Britain and Holland to win their fifth gold.

Results:
  • Quarter-final: India beat Austria 4-0
  • Semi-final: India beat Great Britain 3-1
  • Final: India beat Holland 6-1

Melbourne 1956: Six in the kitty


India repeated their record of 1928 by not conceding even a single goal on their way to gold. Led by Balbir Singh, India beat archrivals Pakistan in the final by a solitary goal.

Results:
  • India beat Afghanistan 14-0
  • India beat USA 16-0
  • India beat Singapore 6-0
  • Semi-final: India beat East Germany 1-0
  • Final: India beat Pakistan 1-0

Tokyo 1964: Gold returns on India's chest


Pakistan was by now gaining momentum in world hockey, especially after ending India's golden run in 1960. However, it was foolish if anybody counted the six-time champions out, who eventually went on to avenge the defeat of previous Games from Pakistan in the final. It was a taxing tournament for the team, playing nine matches in 12 days.

Results:
  • India beat Belgium 2-0
  • India drew with Germany 1-1
  • India drew with Spain 1-1
  • India beat Hong Kong 6-0
  • India beat Malaysia 3-1
  • India beat Canada 3-0
  • India beat Holland 2-1
  • Semi-final: India beat Australia 3-1
  • Final: India beat Pakistan 1-0

Moscow 1980: Weak competition allows India break 16-year gold draught


India's passage to their eighth Olympic hockey gold became easy after 71 per cent of the medal-winning nations from the 1976 Montreal Olympics boycotted the Moscow Games. The boycotting hockey nations included the three medal-winning countries from Montreal – New Zealand (gold), Australia (silver) and Pakistan (bronze).

The European hockey giants Germany and Holland also did not participate owing to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. That helped India go top of the podium from seventh in the previous edition.

Results:
  • India beat Tanzania 18-0
  • India draw with Poland 2-2
  • India draw with Spain 2-2
  • India beat Cuba 13-0
  • India beat USSR 4-2
  • Final: India beat Spain 4-3
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Olympic medals for India

MEDALNAMEOLYMPICSSPORTEVENT
Silver Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris Athletics Men's 200 metres
Silver Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris Athletics Men's 200 metres hurdles
Gold National team 1928 Amsterdam Field hockey Men's competition
Gold National team 1932 Los Angeles Field hockey Men's competition
Gold National team 1936 Berlin Field hockey Men's competition
Gold National team 1948 London Field hockey Men's competition
Gold National team 1952 Helsinki Field hockey Men's competition
Bronze Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav 1952 Helsinki Wrestling Men's freestyle bantamweight
Gold National team 1956 Melbourne Field hockey Men's competition
Silver National team 1960 Rome Field hockey Men's competition
Gold National team 1964 Tokyo Field hockey Men's competition
Bronze National team 1968 Mexico Field hockey Men's competition
Bronze National team 1972 Munich Field hockey Men's competition
Gold National team 1980 Moscow Field hockey Men's competition
Bronze Leander Paes 1996 Atlanta Tennis Men's singles
Bronze Karnam Malleswari 2000 Sydney Weightlifting Women's 69 kg
Silver Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 2004 Athens Shooting Men's double trap
Bronze Sushil Kumar 2008 Beijing Wrestling 66 kg freestyle wrestling even
Gold Abhinav Bindra 2008 Beijing Shooting Men's 10m Air Rifle
Bronze Vijender Singh 2008 Beijing Boxing Middleweight (75 kg)
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India's Olympic moments: Vijender Singh wins bronze


At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, not much was expected from the young Vijender Singh, created history by winning bronze and thus becoming the first boxer to win a medal in Olympics for India.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics Vijender booked his bronze medal defeating Carlos Gongora of 9–4 in the quarterfinals to ensure him the bronze. Vijender lost 5–8 to Cuba's Emilio Correa in the semi-finals and shared a bronze medal with Ireland's Darren Sutherland.

His Olympic bronze earned him a series of awards back home, including the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honor, in 2008. A few months after Vijenders arned a bronze at the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championship in Milan, he was declared the world No. 1 middleweight boxer by the AIBA International Boxing Association.
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India's Olympic moments: Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra, is the current World and Olympic Champion in Air Rifle shooting. He is the first ever Indian to win an individual Gold Medal since 1900 – the year our country participated in the Olympic games for the first time. He won the 10 m Air Rifle event in 2008 Beijing Olympics. His unparalleled achievements in the shooting arena have made the nation proud and he has been bestowed with honors from a very young age due to his consummate performances on the international stage.

For his feat, the ever smiling Bindra has been bestowed with numerous accolades and cash prizes. He received the Arjuna Award at the young age of 17 and has been the youngest recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awards – the highest sporting honor in the country at 18 years. Abhinav has also been decorated with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honor, in 2009 after his historic Gold Medal win at the Beijing Olympics.
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India's Olympic moments: Sushil wins bronze

In the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics, we retrace some memorable Indian moments at the historical games. Today, a look at Sushil Kumar's wrestling bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In the summer of 2008, Sushil Kumar became a household name in India following his stupendous show at the Beijing Games where he became only the second Indian to win an Olympic wrestling bronze after KD Jadhav in Helsinki in 1952.


Son of a driver, Sushil Kumar not only realised the dream his father once harboured but also put Boprala on wrestling map of the world by winning a Olympic bronze medal.

Sushil - who tasted his first success when he won the gold medal at the World Cadet Games in 1998 - had made his Olympics debut four years prior in Athens 2004, where he finished 14th in the 60 kilograms category. In Beijing, he entered in the 66kg category.

He lost to Andriy Stadnik from Ukraine in the first round, leaving his medal hopes hinging on the repechage. Kumar defeated American Doug Schwab in the first repechage round and Belarusian Albert Batyrov in the second repechage round, before beating Leonid Spiridonov of Kazakhstan to win the bronze.

He followed up with gold medals at the Wrestling World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2010. He was subsequently awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna prize by the government for his outstanding achievements in sport.

Sushil defeated Leonid Spiridonov of Kazakhstan 3:1. This was the first time in 56 years an Indian had managed to win a medal in wrestling. He continued his exploits with a gold medal in 2010 World Wrestling Championship in Moscow.
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Indian flag hoisted at Olympic Games Village


At an elegant and colorful ceremony, Indian contingent was today formally welcomed and ushered into the Olympics Games Village. Games Village Mayor Charles Allan welcomed Indian deputy Chef de Mission Brig P K M Raja, the sportspersons and officials to become part of the Village as the Indian tricolor was hosted while the National anthem was played. Brig Raja exchanged mementos with Charles Allan and then signed on the peace statue pledging India’s unstinted support for spreading the gospel of peace and the Olympic movement.

Perhaps for the first time in recent years that such an impressive welcome ceremony is being conducted by the Organisers of the Game. The Athletes and the officials were overwhelmed with the warmth and positive energy emanated by the troupe belonging to the National Youth theater who enthralled the audience with their superlative acrobatics and performances.

Tennis stars Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Boppana, world number 1 Archer Deepika Kumari along with her two team mates, some hockey players, boxers, and officials attended the function.

Indian contingent has been housed in Titan House in the Seaside block.

Later Brig Raja said “All the Indian sports persons who have moved into the village are fit and excited about the Games.’They are very happy with their preparations.” He disclosed that at the daily meetings chaired by him, the coaches and managers have given positive feedback about their teams.

The sportspersons at the village are fully supported by a medical team of four doctors, Dr Sarla Rao(Head of the team) Dr Sanjogita Soodan, Dr B B Nayak and Dr Abhishek Choudhary,- three Physiotherapists- Mr Ramesh Trivedi,HariShankar Varma and Srikant Iyengar. They are available 24×7.

In addition to this staff a large number of masseurs are available at the Games Village Gym and their services can be utilized with prior appointment.

Brig Raja said Dr Sarla has informed him that she is going to get a masseurs for Indian Sports persons on permanent basis. Brig Raja added that sportspersons are very happy with the medical and the support staff of the IOA.
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Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - Athens Olympic silver medal in 2004


Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is an Indian shooter who won the silver medal in Men's Double Trap at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. He is the first Indian (post independence) to win an individual silver, after Norman Pritchard, a British citizen, who won two silver medals at the 1900 Paris Olympics.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was born on January 29, 1970 in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, in an army background. While his father, Laxman Singh Rathore, is a Col. in the Indian Army and his mother, Manju Rathore, is a teacher. Though nicknamed 'Chilly' at home, according to his parents, Rathore is a soft-spoken and down to earth person.

His exploits made him a national hero and a poster boy for Indian army. Rathore brought the entire nation to its feet with that awe-inspiring performance, in Men's Double Trap event. The sports loving lad from Rajasthan had interest in cricket but his fate brought him to National Defence Academy and from there he emerged as an ace shooter.

In the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, he won the Individual Gold Medal setting a new Commonwealth Games Record, 192 targets out of 200, which still stands. He also won the Team Gold Medal with (Moraad Ali Khan). Rathore, went on to successfully defend his Commonwealth Champion title by winning the Gold Medal at the (Melbourne) Commonwealth Games in 2006. He also won the Silver in the Team event with (Vikram Bhatnagar). He has won Gold Medals in two World Cup Shooting Competitions, in (Sydney) 2004 and (Cairo) 2006. In 2006 he won the Bronze Medal in the World Cup Final in (Spain) (an event only for the top 12 shooters of the world). He was ranked no 3 in the world for the most of the year of 2003 and 2004 and briefly went on to be the world no 1 in early 2004 and the world no 2 after the Athens Olympics. He also won a world Championship Bronze Medal in 2003 after a gap of nearly 40 years (earlier in 1962 Karni Singh of Bikaner had won a silver medal in the World shooting Championship in Cairo). Incidentally Rathore too belongs to the family of Bikaner. Rajyavardhan is accredited for winning the Asian Clay Target Gold Medal for four times in a row, year 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He also holds an Individual Bronze Medal which he won in Doha, Asian Games 2006.In all, from the period of 2002 to 2006 he had won 25 International Medals in highly competitive competitions in his sport of Doubletrap Shooting.

He awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (Highest Sporting Honour of India) in 2005 and Arjuna Award in 2003 -2004. Rathore is a recipient of the Padma Shri, a civilian award from the Government of India.

Rathore was the chosen flag bearer for India during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia and flag bearer for India during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

He is a now a Colonel in the Indian Army. An alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla Pune (N.D.A)
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Flavours of India at Olympics 2012

The Tea Board of India is organising a series of events including a tea tasting session, dance performances and 'live' kitchens rustling up Indian dishes, during the forthcoming London Olympics.

According to a release issued by the Indian High Commission, the best of the Indian teas would be sampled at Heathrow Airport, Harrods, Southbank Centre and other prominent places in London. The special teas will be available for tasting at the Nehru Centre which will organise a host of activities highlighting the Indian culture.

The two-day tea tasting event will be held on August 1 and 2. The events include an exhibition titled Flavours of India, a joint collaboration between the Government of India (Ministry of Commerce) and the High Commission. It will display a variety of Indian teas, including the muscatel Darjeeling or strong Assam.

The exhibition will focus on the different assortments of Indian tea, from the Nilgiri to the Darjeeling type, which will be available for display and sale. Various entrepreneurs and experts from India will be invited to exhibit and educate the audience on tea, its types and features.

The schedule of events includes a series of cultural performances and workshops to showcase the rich history and culture of India. These include performances of troupes from Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan portraying different Indian classical dance forms - Gidda and Bhangra of North India, choreographer by Jay Kumar.

There will be a Bollywood dance session and Bihu group dance, deputed by the Indian Council for Cultural relations. "The final dimension to the event will be a live kitchen offering Indian cuisines. There will also be cooking classes. Indian wine tasting, too, will be a prominent feature," the release stated.
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Karnam Malleswari -first Indian women Olympic winner


Karnam Malleswari, a weightlifter from Andhra Pradesh, became the first Indian women to win an Olympic medal in the team or individual category in 2004 at Sydney Games.

She born on 1st June 1, 1975 in Srikakulam, Indian state of Andhra Pradesh

She lifted 110kg in the Snatch and 130 kg in the Clean and Jerk for a total of 240 kg. In 1995, Malleswari had won the world weightlifting title in her class (54 kg) with a new record, by lifting 113.0 kg.

She also won three Bronze medals in the world championship. In 1995, Malleswari won the world weightlifting title in her class (54 kg) with a new record, by lifting 113.0 kg in the clean and jerk. Malleswari, who went on to win the contest's gold medal, beat the previous record of 112.5 kg set by China's Long Yuling in December 1993. She also won the 1995 Asian championship. She broke her own records in the Senior National Weightlifting Championship in 1997, and India's first medal, a weightlifting silver, in the 1998 Asian Games.In

She is a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India's highest sporting honour for the year 1995-1996. She is also a recipient of the civilian honour Padma Shri in 1999. Malleswari is awarded the Arjuna Award in 1994, India's highest award in sports.
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India name probables for T20 World Cup

The National selectors on Wednesday named Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and L. Balaji among the 30 probables for the World T20 championship to be held this September in Sri Lanka.

Also making the list are Mandeep Singh, Naman Ojha and Ambati Rayudu, all rewarded for their performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. The list will be pruned to a squad of 15 in due course.

Yuvraj’s return among the probables was widely expected after the all-rounder expressed his desire to come back to international cricket even as he continued recuperating from cancer. He started training at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and hoped to play in Buchi Babu and Moin-ud-Dowla limited over tournaments in Chennai and Hyderabad to assess his match-fitness ahead of the World Cup. The selectors feel Yuvraj doesn’t have to prove his worth in the side. The only concern remains is his match-fitness. The selectors would ideally like him to play some competitive cricket before they take the final call.

Yuvraj’s Punjab teammate Harbhajan Singh has been included despite showing no signs of returning to form of late. Balaji, who last played an international match in 2009, made it after some modest performances in the last season and this year’s IPL.

The probables for the World T20 championship:


Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, R. Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Mandeep Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Naman Ojha, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar and L Balaji.
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Indian Tennis ace: Leander Paes

After a gap of over four decades, Leander Paes, had the Indian flag flying at the medal presentation ceremony at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He won a bronze medal in the single event of Lawn Tennis by defeating Fernando Meligeni of Brazil. His journey to the finals was blocked by American great Andre Agassi who eventually won the gold medal. Paes, whom Agassi describes as a flying jumping bean, a bundle of hyperkinetic energy, has been the torch-bearer of Indian tennis after turning professional in 1991.

Leander Paes emerged on the Indian tennis horizon by wining the Wimbledon Junior title in 1990. Since then this tennis stalwart has been representing India at various international tournaments. Leander has brought glory to India by winning many events, of which the Davis Cup and the bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics is worth mentioning.
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Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav: The forgotten hero

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav alias K. D. Jadhav was independent India`s first ever Olympic medal winner. He fought official apathy and overcame financial crunch to win a bronze medal in wrestling at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav was born in Goleshwar village, a small village on the banks of the Krishna River in Karad taluka of Maharastra. He did his schooling in Tilak High School in Karad between 1940-47. Since his grandfather, Nanasaheb, was an excellent wrestler, Khashaba grew up in a household that breathed and lived wrestling. During his school days, he achieved success in sports like weightlifting, swimming, running, gymnastics and Malkhamb apart from wrestling.

Since his father, Dadasaheb, was a wrestling coach, Khashaba was initiated into wrestling from the tender age of five. His mother was simple, quiet, humble, reticent and accommodating - qualities that Khashaba imbibed in his life. In spite of the family barely making two ends meet, Khashaba would travel to the neighbouring villages to see the wrestling matches held in the fairs. In 1934, at the age of eight, he won his first bout in a mere two minutes against the wrestling champion in the match held at the Rethare village. He received formal training in wrestling in Tilak College and it was at this juncture that he resolved to become a distinguished wrestler. He wrestling mentors in this college were Baburao Balawde and Belapure Guruji. His success in wrestling did not prevent him from achieving good grades in academics.

He also participated in the Quit India Movement of 1942. Providing shelter and a hiding place to the revolutionaries, circulating letters against the British were some of his contributions to the movement.

His career in wrestling started in the period 1948-1954 when he started studying in Rajaram College at Kolhapur. His remarkable wrestling skills won him laurels in the inter-college and inter-university competitions. Through persistence and perseverance, he also achieved success at the national level, and qualified to participate in the Olympics. On India’s first Independence Day, 15th August 1947, he resolved to unfurl the Indian tri-colour in the Olympics.

His trip was sponsored by close friends, well wishers and teachers. He stunned the audience in the 1948 Olympics in London by defeating the Australian wrestler in the first few minutes of the bout and came in sixth in the 52 kg flyweight category. He was the first Indian to achieve this high a place in the individual category until 1948. Considering that the technique of wrestling on the mat was unheard of in the country, his success was indeed commendable. The role played by his coach Prof. Govind Purandare of Rajaram College as his guide and mentor proved to be crucial.

After finishing 6th at the 1948 Olympic Games, Jadhav fought his way to represent India at London Olympics. He defeated wrestlers from Canada, Mexico and Germany, to win bronze medal on 23rd July 1952. Thus he created history.

Japan wrestlers toured India in the year 1953. In the bouts that ensued, Khashaba defeated the world champion Unemori and continued his winning streak.

In 1955, he joined the police force as a sub-inspector. He won several competitions held within the Police department. He also performed National duties as a sports instructor. He was honoured by making him a part of the torch run at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. However, his feats did not adequately earn him the respect and appreciation he deserved. He served the police force for twenty-seven years and retired as an Asst. Police Commissioner from erstwhile Bombay. In spite of his meritorious service, Khashaba had to fight for his pension – a deplorable lack of rectitude for a person of his stature and respect.

He was honoured with several awards the Arjuna Award (in 2001, posthumously). In memory of his memorable win at the Olympics, a sculpture of Khashaba was erected in Kolhapur in 1960. The government to honour his feat, re-christened the wrestling venue in the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi as K. D. Jadhav Stadium.

He died in an accident in Karad on 14 August 1984. It took fifty years for India to win its next Olympic medal in the individual category, which makes Khashaba’s bronze effort, achieved in trying circumstances, even more commendable.
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Norman Pritchard: The Forgotten Olympian

Norman Pritchard is a "controversial" Olympian in that he is claimed by both Britain and India as having competed for them at the 1900 Olympics. Going by this, he becomes the first ever medal winner from the country. He won two silver medals in 1900 Paris Games in 200m dash and 200m hurdles. The doyen of British Olympic historians, Ian Buchanan, notes that Pritchard was a member of an old colonial family and although he was born in India, he was indisputedly British.


Norman Gilbert Pritchard was born on the 23rd of June, 1877, in Alipore, Calcutta (India under British Raj), to George Petersen Pritchard and Helen Maynard Pritchard. His schooling is unknown but he completed his graduation from St. Xavier’s College Calcutta. He lived in the fashionable Robinson Road and worked for the Bird & Co., a well known trading company.

Norman’s first love was soccer. He is known for scoring the first hat-trick in an open football tournament in India, achieving the feat for his college against Sovabazar in July 1897. Pritchard also won the Bengal province 100 yards sprint title for seven consecutive years from 1894 to 1900 and set a meet record in 1898-’99. He also set 10.0 seconds 100m record for Bengal. He later served as the Secretary of the Indian Football Association from 1900 to 1902.

In 1900, Pritchard went for a pleasure tour to England. In June, he became a member of the elite London Athletic Club. The next day he won the Club’s challenge for 440 yards hurdle. Later, he also won the 100 yards and 200 yards hurdles. Owing to these successes, he was selected to represent his club, the Bengal Presidency AC, at the British AAA Championships. The winner of this championship was to be given the opportunity to participate at the 1900 Olympics. Pritchard was runner-up in this event, and was selected to represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

He participated in five Olympics events (60 m, 100 m and 200 m sprints, and 110 m and 200 m hurdles). He performed exceptionally well, finishing runners-up in both the 200 m sprint and hurdles, only behind Walter Tewksbury and Alvin Kraenzlein, both from USA, respectively. Though he was supposed to represent Great Britain, the International Olympic Committee registered his nationality as Indian. He was awarded an honourary silver medal by the AAA and a penknife by the French Olympic Association.

He returned to India, but moved permanently to England in 1905. Later, he moved on to America, to try his hand in acting in Hollywood. He took the screen name Norman Trevor and acted alongside Hollywood legends, such as Ronald Colman in famous films like Beau Geste (1926), Dancing Mothers (1926) and Tonight at Twelve (1929).

He died penniless in California, in and out of mental asylums, presumably from a chronic brain disease, unclassified in that era on the 31st of October, 1929.

The Olympics recognize him as a representative of British India, and his medals are accredited to India. Remembering Norman!
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India's Olympic medals

India first participated in Olympics in 1900 in Paris. The country was represented by Norman Pritchard, an Anglo Indian who was holidaying in Paris during that time. He bagged two silver medals in 200m dash and 200m hurdles.

Indian athletes have won a total of 20 medals (till now), mostly in field hockey. For a period of time, India's men's field hockey team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning eleven medals in twelve Olympiads between 1928 and 1980.

The 2008 Summer Olympics has been the best ever Olympics for India with India winning three Olympic medals in three different sports and also winning first individual Olympic gold medal won by Abhinav Bindra.

Look at the following table for India's performance in Summer Olympics:

GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
Paris 19000202

Amsterdam 19281001

Los Angeles 19321001

Berlin 19361001

London 19481001

Helsinki 19521012

Melbourne 19561001
Rome 19600101

Tokyo 19641001

Mexico City 19680011

Munich 19720011
Moscow 19801001
Atlanta 19960011

Sydney 20000011

Athens 20040101

Beijing 20081023
         TOTAL 9 4 7 20
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Sushil Kumar to be India's flagbearer at London Olympics

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced on Sunday, 15th July, that Sushil Kumar, a bronze medallist at the Beijing Games, would be India’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27.

Speaking at a conference in New Delhi, IOA Acting President V K Malhotra announced that the Olympic bronze-medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar will be India’s flag-bearer.

The names of top boxer Vijender Singh, tennis legend Leander Paes and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra were also doing the rounds for the honour. Vijender, Sushil and Bindra had all returned with medals from the last edition of the Games in Beijing in 2008.

While Abhinav Bindra was the first choice for IOA, it wasn’t possible with his 10m air rifle event scheduled for July 30. He was reluctant to do the honours for close to six hours as that could lead to some injury ahead of his event.

Similarly, Vijender's weigh-in is scheduled for July 28 so it was tough for him to do the honours. Paes had led the contingent in 2000 Sydney Games and IOA decided Sushil should do the honours this time.
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Indians who have qualified for London Olympics so far

The Indians who have qualified for London Olympics so far

Athletics :


Vikas Gowda, discuss throw; Gurmeet Singh, 20 km walk; Om Prakash Singh Karhana, shot put; Mayookha Johny, triple jump; Tintu Luka, 800 m; Krishna Poonia, discus; Ram Singh Yadav, marathon; Baljinder Singh, 20km walk; Seema Antil, discus

Archery:


Chekrovolu Swuro, Deepika Kumari, Jayanta Talukdar, Laishram Bombayla Devi

Swimming:


Virdhawal Khade: 100 freestyle; Sandeep Sejwal: 100, 200 breast stroke; Saurabh Sangwekar, 1500 freestyle; Aaron D'souza, 200 freestyle

Boxing:


Manoj Kumar (64kg); L Devendro Singh (49kg); Jai Bhagwan (60kg); Vikas Krishan (69 kg); Vijender Singh (75kg); Shiva Thapa (56kg); Sumit Sangwan (81kg)

Shooting:


Abhinav Bindra, 10 M rifle; Joydeep Karmakar, 50 M rifle prone; Ronjan Sodhi, double trap; Vijay Kumar, 25m rapid fire pistol; Sanjeev Rajput, 50m rifle 3 position; Anuraj Singh, 10m air rifle; Rahi Sarnobat, 25m pistol; Shagun Choudhary, trap; Manavjit Singh Sandhu, trap; Heena Sidhu, 10m air rifle

Wrestling:


Yogeshwar Dutt; Amit Kumar; Geeta Phogat

Badminton:


Will be finalized by WBF on May 3, 2012. Saina Nehwal, now No. 5 in the world, is a certainty.

Tennis:


The qualification will be done based on the ITF World Ranking (52 weeks rolling professional) of the players as on June 6. It remains to be seen which two players make the men's doubles cut.

NoteSome more Indians can qualify in weightlifting, table tennis, rowing and judo
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India at the Olympic Games

India first participated in Olympics in 1900 in Paris. The country was represented by Norman Pritchard, an Anglo Indian who was holidaying in Paris during that time. He bagged two silver medals in 200m dash and 200m hurdles.

Then after a gap of 20 years India again participated with two athletes in 1920 Antwerp Olympics and with eight members in 1924 Paris Olympics, and has participated in every Summer Games since then. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games since 1964.

But the more organised, official representation by India, was made in 1928 Amsterdam, with the formation of the National Olympic Committee for India is the Indian Olympic Association in 1927. Dorabji Tata was the first president and Dr A C Northern of Young Men's Christian Association, Madras was the secretary.

Indian athletes have won a total of 20 medals (till now), mostly in field hockey. For a period of time, India's men's field hockey team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning eleven medals in twelve Olympiads between 1928 and 1980.

In the year 1928, Indian Hockey team participated in their first Olympic hockey event and won the gold medal under the captaincy of Jaipal Singh. For the next 6 successive Olympics spanning 28 years from 1928-1956, Indians retained their gold medal for the hockey event. Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand played a major role in Indian victory in the first three successive wins. It was definitely the golden era of Indian Hockey in Olympics, during which India played 24 matches and won all 24, scored 178 goals (at an average of 7.43 goals per match) and conceded only 7 goals. India again won two more gold medals in Olympic hockey in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

The 2008 Summer Olympics has been the best ever Olympics for India with India winning three Olympic medals in three different sports and also winning first individual Olympic gold medal won by Abhinav Bindra.
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Olympic Rings


The Olympic Movement uses symbols to represent the ideals embodied in the Olympic Charter. The Olympic symbol, better known as the Olympic rings, consists of five intertwined rings and represents the unity of the five inhabited continents (Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Europe). The colored version of the rings - blue, yellow, black, green, and red - over a white field forms the Olympic flag. These colors were chosen because every nation had at least one of them on its national flag. The flag was adopted in 1914 but flown for the first time only at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. It has since been hoisted during each celebration of the Games.

The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, a Latin expression meaning "Faster, Higher, Stronger". Coubertin's ideals are further expressed in the Olympic creed:
The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Months before each Games, the Olympic flame is lit in Olympia in a ceremony that reflects ancient Greek rituals. A female performer, acting as a priestess, ignites a torch by placing it inside a parabolic mirror which focuses the sun's rays; she then lights the torch of the first relay bearer, thus initiating the Olympic torch relay that will carry the flame to the host city's Olympic stadium, where it plays an important role in the opening ceremony. Though the flame has been an Olympic symbol since 1928, the torch relay was introduced at the 1936 Summer Games, as part of the German government's attempt to promote its National Socialist ideology.

The Olympic mascot, an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country, was introduced in 1968.
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Ancient Olympic Games

The Ancient Olympic Games were a series of competitions held between representatives of several city-states and kingdoms from Ancient Greece, which featured mainly athletic but also combat and chariot racing events. During the Olympic games all struggles against the participating city-states were postponed until the games were finished.

The origin of these Olympics is shrouded in mystery and legend. One of the most popular myths identifies Heracles and his father Zeus as the progenitors of the Games. According to legend, it was Heracles who first called the Games "Olympic" and established the custom of holding them every four years. A legend persists that after Heracles completed his twelve labors, he built the Olympic stadium as an honor to Zeus. Following its completion, he walked in a straight line for 200 steps and called this distance a "stadion" (stadium), which later became a unit of distance. Another myth associates the first Games with the ancient Greek concept of Olympic truce.

The most widely accepted date for the inception of the Ancient Olympics is 776 BC; this is based on inscriptions, found at Olympia, of the winners of a footrace held every four years starting in 776 BC. The Ancient Games featured running events, a pentathlon (consisting of a jumping event, discus and javelin throws, a foot race and wrestling), boxing, wrestling, pankration, and equestrian events. Tradition has it that Coroebus, a cook from the city of Elis, was the first Olympic champion.

The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honoring both Zeus (whose famous statue by Phidias stood in his temple at Olympia) and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia. Pelops was famous for his chariot race with King Oenomaus of Pisatis. The winners of the events were admired and immortalized in poems and statues. The Games were held every four years, and this period, known as an Olympiad, was used by Greeks as one of their units of time measurement. The Games were part of a cycle known as the Panhellenic Games, which included the Pythian Games, the Nemean Games, and the Isthmian Games.

The Olympic Games reached their zenith in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, but then gradually declined in importance as the Romans gained power and influence in Greece. There is no consensus on when the Games officially ended, the most common-held date is 393 AD, when the emperor Theodosius I declared that all pagan cults and practices be eliminated. Another date cited is 426 AD, when his successor Theodosius II ordered the destruction of all Greek temples. After the demise of the Olympics, they were not held again until the late 19th century.
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Olympic Games

The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered to be the world’s foremost sports competition and more than 200 nations participate. The Games are currently held biennially, with Summer and Winter Olympic Games alternating, although they occur every four years within their respective seasonal games. Originally, the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.
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