Has India ever produced its own Michael Phelps? The answer dates back to 1900

| Friday, August 12, 2016 - 13:35
First Published |
India, rio Olympics 2016, Rio 2016 India, India gold medal, Michael Phelps, India cricket, Norman Pritchard, Brazil, United States

Pritchard's record is a testament for how India is still largely unsuccessful in its Olympic ventures

New Delhi: India competed in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1900 at the Paris Olympics in France. Since then, India has participated, mostly without the large contingent it was able to send at the Rio Olympics 2016 being held in Brazil. India has yet to register a single medal in the tally and particularly, this emerging pressure is creating an immense burden for the athletes to bear.

US swimming sensation and probably the one of the famous athletes of all time, Michael Phelps, has bagged more than 22 gold medals in his name, a single-handed feat more colourful than the country with more than 1 billion people.  But, if the question is about whether India has ever produced its own Olympian like Michael Phelps, we do have an answer.

Norman Pritchard was the first Indian athlete to participate in the Olympic Games. And during a time when the news of the event hardly escaped the European continent, Pritchard registered two silver medals to his name, a feat that no Indian athlete has been able to achieve till now in a single Olympic event. Pritchard came in second in the 200 metres behind United States and second in 200 metres hurdles, also behind United States. Albeit whether Pritchard contested for India or for Great Britain is still being debated upon, the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) has recognised Pritchard as an Indian athlete.

Pritchard's record is a testament for how India is still largely unsuccessful in its Olympic ventures. Pinning the pride of the country solely on the Indian cricket team has lead to the demoralization of athletes in the country and the scarce facility that is availed to them. Before relying on the athletes to pull off a Rocky-style victory at the finale, athletes must be given the platform too.

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