India at Olympics: Civil Services Mentor Magazine: October - 2016

India at Olympics

The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. Both summer and winter olympics games are organised after the gap of four years with a gap of two years between each other. History of olympics starts with the famous games at ancient capital of Greece, Olympia. These games were very important in Greece between the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Majority of the Games during the ancient Greece were related to running, fighting etc. From 4th century AD till 1894 Games were conducted in disorganised manner in various parts of the world. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Baron Pierre de Coubertin was the man responsible for these modern olympic games.

There are various differences between the modern and ancient olympic games. Ancient olympics had very fewer athletes as compared to modern olympics. Modern olympics has many more games as compare to ancient olympics. Ancient olympics used to host horse riding and modern olympics has swimming, cycling etc. In Ancient Olympics winner of the games was awarded an Olive wreath while in Modern Olympics winners are given medals, namely, Gold; Silver and Bronze. Olympic torch was originated during ancient olympic games which is still continued in modern olympic games. However torch run is introduced in the modern olympic games. This run starts from the Athens till the city which is hosting the Olympics. Torch is carried by the past olympians with in any country.

The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Olympic Games for ice and winter sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability, and the Youth Olympic Games for teenage athletes. The IOC has had to adapt to a variety of economic, political, and technological advancements. The growing importance of mass media created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercialisation of the Games. World wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games. Large boycotts during the Cold War limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Games.

India at Olympics

India first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone athlete (Norman Pritchard) winning two medals- both silver- in athletics. The nation first sent a team to the Summer Olympic Games in 1920, and has participated in every Summer Games since then. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games beginning in 1964. Indian athletes have won a total of 28 medals so far, all at the Summer Games. For a period of time, India national field hockey team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning eleven medals in twelve Olympics between 1920 and 1980. The run included 8 gold medals total and six successive gold medals from 1928–1956.

The Indian Performance at the Olympics has seen improvement in the past decade,however Rio 2016 was a disappointment considering the hopes the nation had garnered looking at our athlete’s performance in World Cups or Other Top Tier global Tournaments. The Indian Olympic Association sent the nation's largest ever delegation (a total of 117 athletes; 34 larger than their previous record of 83 athletes in 2012) in Summer Olympic history. India won only two medals with one silver medal in Badminton by P.V. Sindhu and Other by Sakshi malik in wrestling. Most of our athletes at Rio 2016 performed way below their optimal potential and many had near misses too,which can be attributed to nervousness,lack of big stage nerves and inability to acclimatize to foreign weather ( specifically for archery and shooting ). Government of India has constituted a Task Force to prepare a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sports persons in the next three Olympic games 2020, 2024 and 2028. The Task Force will prepare overall strategy for sports facility, training, selection procedure and other related matters. The Task Force will comprise of members who are in house experts as well as those from outside. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked states to set up similar panels as "lot more" needs to be done to improve India's performance in sports.

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