Bangalore, Aug 12: Even as the London Olympics draws to a close, India is celebrating its six heroes - Sushil Kumar, MC Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Vijay Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt and Gagan Narang. These athletes have made the country proud by ensuring its biggest-ever haul of 6 medals - two silver and four bronze.
For decades, the achievements in the 1900 Paris Games and the 1952 Helsinki Games were the only talking points.
At the turn of the 20th century, Norman Pritchard won two silvers when the Olympics was staged in the capital of France. However, that was during the colonial era and as such ordinary Indians did not share the excitement of his wins.
Independent India's first medal was won in 1948. The men's hockey team won a gold at London and it was incredibly the fourth successive one. Four years later, the hockey players made it five in a row at the Finnish capital.
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav bagged the bronze in freestyle bantamweight wrestling at the same Olympics. That was the first time the nation won two medals at the world's biggest sporting carnival.
In 1956, another hockey gold was won at the Melbourne Games. Though the hockey team could only win silver in the 1960 Rome Olympics, the nation again tasted the sweetness of victory at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
Then we had to wait 16 years for a medal. At the 1980 Moscow Olympics, India won one more hockey gold. In the subsequent three Games, Indian athletes did not achieve any success.
The barren run was ended at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Tennis player Leander Paes won the bronze in men's singles. Four years later at the Sydney Games, weightlifter Karnam Malleswari won bronze in the women's 69kg category.
In 2004 Athens Olympics, the sole consolation was shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore bagging the silver medal in the men's Double Trap event.
On Aug 11, 2008, Abhinav Bindra won the men's 10m air rifle shooting event at the Beijing Olympics. It was the country's first individual gold after 8 team golds.
Nine days later, Vijender Kumar won a bronze medal in the middleweight boxing category. The next day, wrestler Sushil Kumar secured a bronze in the 66kg freestyle category.
At the 2012 London Games, Gagan Narang was the first Indian to win a bronze in the 10 m Air Rifle event. On Aug 3, Vijay Kumar grabbed a silver in the 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol event. Then badminton icon Saina Nehwal secured a bronze in the women's singles on Aug 4, before flyweight boxer MC Mary Kom bagged another in the 51kg category on Aug 8.
Yogeshwar Dutt defeated North Korea's Ri Jong Myong in the men's freestyle wrestling (60kg) category to win the fourth bronze on Aug 11.
Today, Sushil Kumar won a silver medal in the 66kg men's freestyle wrestling. His feat capped a memorable Games for India as the country has doubled its Beijing haul.