K D Jadhav: The man from a wrestling family of Maharashtra failed to get a medal at the 1948 London Games, so he trained hard for Helsinki and won the bronze. He remains the only Olympic medallist never to get a Padma Award.
Leander Paes: Son of virtuoso athlete and hockey Olympic bronze medallist (1972 Munich Games) Vece Paes, Leander lost his Atlanta semi-final to Andre Agassi 6-7, 3-6.
Karnam Malleswari: Already a star before her Sydney advent, having won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award the year before, the girl from an Andhra village fought hard, but managed a bronze in the 54kg category, recording 110 kg in snatch, 130 kg in jerk.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore: A Major in the Indian Army then, the shooter from Rajasthan won India’s first Olympic silver in Athens. At the Markopoulo shooting range, he threw a soft punch in the air, as his scorecard read 179 points, out of which 44 came in the final itself.
Abhinav Bindra: His promise was well known. In Athens he failed, but remained quiet during press meets. In Beijing, four years later, he showed what metal he was made of, winning India’s first and only individual gold (men’s 10 m air rifle) from the Olympic arena so far.1
Vijender Singh: Beijing was a happy hunting ground for Indians, boxer Vijender adding to India’s haul with a bronze from the men’s middleweight category.
Sushil Kumar: Sushil’s first medal, a bronze, came in Beijing, from the men’s freestyle 66 kg wrestling mat. He moved up a step, to silver, in London, four years later. He lost to 2011 World Championships silver medallist and 2010 Asian Games gold winner Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu of Japan in the final.
Gagan Narang: Narang, who fell just short in Beijing, made amends in London, winning India’s second medal from the shooting range, a bronze in men’s 10m air rifle.
Vijay Kumar: In London he was under pressure to deliver, with Narang having already secured bronze. Vijay did not disappoint in the men’s 25 rapid fire pistol. Tied with China’s Ding Feng in second place with 24 points he finally came through in the nerve-wracking seventh round.
Saina Nehwal: She entered the London badminton arena with a lot of promise, but it ended in a disappointing women’s singles bronze match, her Chinese opponent Xin Wang withdrawing through a knee injury, while leading 21-18, 1-0. Saina’s bronze was the first Olympic medal for India in badminton.
Mary Kom: Adjusting to an unfamiliar weight category was difficult for the multiple-time world champion from India. In the end, Mary was defeated in the 51 kg semi-finals by Nicola Adams of the UK, but did succeed in getting a bronze in London.
Yogeshwar Dutt: He clinched a bronze in London from the men’s freestyle 60 kg wrestling mat, his thirst for an Olympic medal having started when he watched Leander win bronze in Atlanta. In London, he stayed on via the repechage rounds, but suffered an eye injury in the bout versus Russia’s Besik Kudukhov. Yet, he went on to beat North Korea’s Ri Jong-Myong for bronze.
Sakshi Malik: The 23-year-old’s bronze in the women’s 58 kg freestyle was a first for women’s wrestling in the country. At the Carioca Arena in Rio, she beat Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan, fighting back from a 0-5 deficit to win 8-5.
P. V. Sindhu: The women’s singles badminton final at the Rio Games was stiff, versus Spain’s Carolina Marin. Sindhu won the first set at 21-19, but Marin came back to clinch gold, winning the last two games 21-12, 21-15. Sindhu, at 21, became the youngest Indian to win an Olympic medal, a silver. In Tokyo Sindhu defeated China’s He Bingjiao 21-15, 21-13 in just 53 minutes to end with a Bronze. She became the second Indian athlete (after Sushil Kumar) to win back-to-back medals in the Olympics.
Mirabai Chanu: Chanu (26) won silver medal in the 49 kg division at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo with a total lift of 202 kg. She went down to Chinese lifter Z.H.Hou who had a total lift of 210 kg. She Chanu’s was the second weightlifting medal for India after Karnam Malleswari.
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: The 24-Year’s old Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged a silver medal in the men’s 57kg freestyle wrestling at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, after a 4-7 loss to Russia’s Zavur Uguev in the final.
Lovlina Borgohain: She won a bronze medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in the women’s welterweight boxing. In the bronze match she lost 0-5 to world champion Busenaz Surmeneli (Turkey).