Team finishes with a record Olympic haul of six medals
The prevailing air of negativity, triggered by India’s blow-hot, blow-cold showing in the Olympics, metamorphosed into unfettered delight as Sushil Kumar made it a red-letter day for himself and his nation, winning the silver medal in the men’s 66-kg freestyle wrestling event in London.
The 29-year-old, battling dehydration, lost to Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu 1-3 in the final on Sunday.
Sushil, India’s flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony, became the country’s most successful individual Olympian with two medals (he had won bronze in the same category four years ago in Beijing). The Najafgarh man’s silver ensured that India finished with its highest ever tally in the Olympics with six medals.
India’s overall performance in London has shone brighter than in Beijing with the likes of Vijay Kumar, Gagan Narang, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, and Yogeshwar Dutt rising to the occasion. Narang’s bronze in the 10-metre air rifle event fired the combative instincts of the Indian contingent.
The unheralded Vijay Kumar claimed a silver in the 25-metre rapid fire pistol, further fuelling India’s medal aspirations.
A classic tale of the triumph of human spirit presented itself when Manipuri Mary Kom landed a bronze in the first edition of women’s boxing at the Olympics.
The Games, thankfully, was not merely all about superficial glitz. As much as the razzle-dazzle of the Opening Ceremony was spoken about, it was finally the superhuman performances on track, field, and pool that attracted attention.
Michael Phelps surpassed Larisa Latynina’s record of 18 medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all-time. The U.S. swimming ace’s four golds and two silvers propelled him to 22 medals.
Jamaican legend Usain Bolt completed a ‘double treble,’ winning the 100-metre and 200-metre sprints and the 4x100-metre relay in the successive Games. He is now the proud owner of six gold medals. It has indeed been yet another memorable two-and-a-half weeks of the quadrennial extravaganza.