15 Most Famous Indian Olympians Of All Time

Indians may not have won a huge number of medals in the Olympics, but they sure have made their presence felt. From being the reigning champions of hockey for decades together to breaking multiple Olympic records across various events, Indians have simply shined at these games. These Indian Olympians have made the nation proud at the biggest and most revered sports event of the world, the Olympics. Let’s have a look at some of the most famous Indian Olympians of all time!

Also read: Interesting Facts About the Olympics- A Dive Into the Games’ History!

1. Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra created history by being the first track and field Indian athlete to have won a gold medal at the Olympics, that too in his Olympic debut at the young age of 23! His performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was historical and served as an inspiration for many young athletes. Currently, he is world number 2 in athletics.

Source: Instagram

2. Dhyan Chand

Major Dhyan Chand served as the captain of the Indian hockey team at the Olympics and led the team towards gold for three consecutive Olympics. His influence was such that India was the reigning champion of hockey for 7 subsequent Olympic events. He was known for his excellent ball control and is revered by young athletes. His birthday is celebrated as the National Sports Day in India. Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour in India, is named after him.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

3. Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra is the first Indian Olympian to win an individual gold medal in Men’s 10m Air Rifle event at the Olympics. He was just 26 at that time (2008 Beijing Summer Olympics) and held both the world and Olympics titles concurrently. He has an influential say in the sports policy of the country and inspires and supports many young sportsperson through his foundation.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. PV Sindhu

She is the first Indian woman athlete ever to win medals in two consecutive Olympics. She made the country proud by winning a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics (her debut) and a bronze medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She is the first Indian badminton player ever to reach the Olympic finals.

Source: Instagram

5. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

During the period between 2002 to 2006, Rathore had won 26 international medals. The bar was set high for him and everyone was expecting him to perform well at the Olympics. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won a silver medal in the Men’s Double Trap Shooting event, thereby standing up to everyone’s expectations.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu

Chanu started her career as an Olympian in the 2016 Rio Olympics. But in that year, luck was not in her favor. She worked harder and qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she won the silver medal like a superstar in the women’s 49kg weightlifting. Her sheer dedication to her sport serves as an inspiration for many.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Sushil Kumar

56 years after KD Jadhav’s Olympic medal victory, Sushil Kumar made everyone proud by securing a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He went on to grab the silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics and kept his legacy intact. His victories have certainly inspired the present generation of wrestlers in India to achieve more and more.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. KD Jadhav

KD Jadhav created history by being the first sportsperson from independent India to win a medal at the Olympics. He won a bronze medal in wrestling at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. His legacy as a wrestler and a revered Indian Olympian will be remembered for ages.

Source: Twitter

9. Leander Paes

He is the first Indian and the only tennis player to represent India in seven consecutive Olympic Games from 1992 to 2016. In the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the men’s singles tennis event. He is one of the most famous Indian Olympians of all time.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

10. Mary Kom

The legacy of Mary Kom is an inspiration for everyone. Mary Kom qualified for the 2012 London Olympics women’s boxing event, which was also the first time that the event was held at the Olympics. She won the bronze medal in those Games. She qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which served as her last appearance at the games.

Source: Instagram

11. Karnam Malleswari

Karnam Malleswari is not only the first woman to win a medal at the Olympics but also the first Indian weightlifter to do so. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she won a bronze medal making her one of the most famous Indian Olympians of all time.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Saina Nehwal

Former world No. 1, Saina Nehwal is well-known for her exceptional performance in the 2012 London Olympics, winning a bronze medal for the glory of the nation. She is one of the most famous badminton players in the country.

Source: Flickr

13. PR Sreejesh

Former captain of the National Men’s Hockey Team, PR Sreejesh played a vital role in the successful run of the team in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The team secured the third position and won everyone’s heart and PR Sreejesh, the fierce goalkeeper, became a household name.

Source: Twitter

14. Milkha Singh

Everyone would agree to the fact that Milkha Singh is a legend. He has represented India in three consecutive Olympic Games in 1956, 1960, and 1964. His stellar career as an athlete and his entire journey serves as an inspiration to billions of people.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

15. P. T. Usha

Known as the queen of track and field, PT Usha has had one of the most successful careers as a woman athlete. Her best Olympics performance was at the 1984 Los Angeles Games as she finished fourth in the finals.

Source: Instagram

So, these were some of the most famous Indian Olympians of all time who have made us all proud at the international platform. Which of these Olympians do you find the most inspirational? Do let us know in the comments section.

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