(Last Updated on : 25/03/2014)
India in hockey Olympics had a legendary run in its initial stages, winning the Gold medal six consecutive times, from 1928 to 1956. India has won a total of 8 Oympic Gold medals, the last 2 coming in the 1964 Tokyo and 1980 Moscow Olympics. For its first six victories, India played 24 Olympic matches, won all 24, scored 178 goals (at an average of 7.43 goals per match) and conceded only 7 goals. For over 20 years, the only triple gold medalists for India were the 'Hockey Wizard' Dhyan Chand
and goalkeeper Richard James Allen (1928-1936). After the 1956 Olympics, Balbir Singh Sr., Randhir Singh Gentle and Ranganathan Francis became the other triple gold medallists for India (1948-1956).
Amsterdam Olympics of 1928
The Amsterdam Games became the first stage for the wizardry of Dhyan Chand. The wizardry was not only meant for the spectators, but also for the opponents, for during several moments, the opponents were like spectators, with sticks and jerseys, as they could only watch Dhyan Chand's magic and could do nothing about it. Dhyan Chand was the star attraction during the Amsterdam games. Richard James Allen, the goalkeeper, did not concede a single goal in the 1928 Olympics. Allen, who kept India's goal in 3 consecutive Olympics (1928, 1932, 1936), conceded a total of only 3 goals in the 3 Olympics.
Los Angeles Olympics of 1932
The 1932 Olympics witnessed world records created by Indians that. The biggest score in an international hockey match is the 24-1 victory of India over the USA, played on August 11, 1932. The record for the most number of goals scored in a single hockey match belongs to Roop Singh, who slammed in ten goals in the 24-1 rout of USA.
Berlin Olympics of 1936
The Indians, this time led by the wizard Dhyan Chand himself, did not receive an altogether pleasant welcome in Germany. Indians had not conceded a single goal in their march to the finals. India met Germany in the final on August 15, 1936. A crowd of around 40,000 people, the biggest crowd till then to witness an Olympic hockey match, had gathered. Amongst the audience was Hitler, who left the match midway, disgusted at Germany's plight. India was up by 6 goals in the finals. The Germans decided to play rough and went after Dhyan Chand, which resulted in a broken tooth for the Indian captain, due to the German goalkeeper. Coming back after receiving first aid, Dhyan Chand, now playing barefoot instructed his team to go easy on goals. As the stunned crowd watched, the Indians repeatedly took the ball up to the German circle and then back passed to mystify their opponents. India vanquished Germany 8-1 in the finals to win its third successive Olympic gold medal. The supreme tribute to Chand was by a sports club in Vienna, which built a statue of Dhyan Chand with four hands and four sticks. To the Viennese, no man with two hands and one stick could have played the way Dhyan Chand did.
London Olympics 1948
A lot of events occurred between the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and the London Olympics in 1948. India got its independence, but suffered a devastating partition, where many Anglo-Indians left the country and a number of Muslims migrated to Pakistan. India lost a rich recruiting ground for hockey talent. A brand new Indian team left for London, without a single player who had played in an earlier Olympics. The captain of the Pakistan hockey team in the 1948 Olympics was A. I. S. Dara who had represented India in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Besides Dara, Paul Peter Fernandes and Bhopal
's Akhtar Hussain and Latif-ur-Rehman, have represented both India and Pakistan in the Olympics. India defeated Austria 8-0 in their first match. India followed up this victory by defeating Argentina 9-1, Spain 2-0, and Holland 2-1 to enter the finals. India faced England for the first time in an Olympic hockey match on September 12, 1948, at Wembley grounds, in the Olympic hockey final. India defeated Britain 4-0 to win its fourth consecutive gold medal. This medal is extremely special for India, as it is the first gold medal won by India under the Indian tricolour. Balbir Singh Sr. excelled as a centre-forward and scored 2 goals for India, while Pat Jansen and Trilochan Singh scored the other two.
Helsinki Olympics of 1952
India defeated Austria 4-0 and Great Britain 3-1 and stormed into the finals. Holland challenged the Olympics champions but lost 1-6 and India won the hockey crown for the 5th time in a row, in 1952 Olympics held at Helsinki, Finland. Balbir Singh Sr. scored 9 goals of the 13 scored by India, including 5 of the 6 goals in the final. Chinnadorai Desamuthu became the youngest gold medalist for India. He was 19 years and 272 days when India won the Olympic title in the Helsinki Games.
Melbourne Olympics of 1956
12 teams were divided into 3 groups in the 1956 Olympics. India won all the group matches, beating Afghanistan 14-0, USA 16-0 and Singapore 6-0. When they entered the semi finals India had scored 36 goals in 3 games, with no goals against. India then scraped past Germany with a 1-0 victory in the semi-finals. For the first time, India met Pakistan, in the 1956 Olympic final and won, for the sixth time in a row, the record for any sport in the Olympics. Inside-left Udham Singh scored 15 goals for India in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics - the highest tally by an Indian at an Olympics till that date.
Tokyo Olympics of 1964
The Tokyo Olympics were the first Olympics to be held on Asian ground. The team went on a two-and-a-half month tour to New Zealand and Malaysia before heading to Tokyo. In the pool matches, India finished at the top with 12 points. India beat Belgium 2-0, was held to a draw by Germany and Spain, beat Hong Kong 6-0, Malaysia 3-1, Canada 3-0 and Holland 2-1. In the semi-final, India beat Australia 3-1 to set up their third consecutive clash with Pakistan in the Olympic finals. Pakistan had defeated India 1- 0 in the 1960 Rome Olympics, to end India's Consecutive Olympic victory series, though India regained the title in Tokyo.
Moscow Olympics of 1980
9 teams from the 1976 Montreal Olympic hockey competition did not compete in the 1980 Moscow Olympic hockey tournament. The boycotting teams included the top 3 teams at Montreal - New Zealand (gold), Australia (silver) and Pakistan (bronze). European hockey powerhouses Germany, Holland and Great Britain also did not compete in this boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games. India had fared very badly in the Montreal Olympics; they had come down to the 7th position, but managed to win the Moscow Olympics.
However, about 28 years have passed and India has never got any Olympic medal after its previous wins. Since the 1970's Australia, The Netherlands, and Germany have dominated the sport at the Olympics. Indias worst performance in the Olympics took place in the year of 2008, when the Indian Hockey team failed to even qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games, and Indias heyday in Olympic Hockey seems a distant memory today. For the London Olympics 2012 Indian hockey performed terribly losing all the matches in the league stage thus making an embarrassing outing at the park.