Olympic memories

Leander Paes  

Acing it

After an incredibly long wait of 44 years, Leander Paes gave India its individual medal by winning a bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The earlier one was by wrestler K.D. Jadhav in 1952. Leander faced Andre Agassi in the semi-final and, due to the strength of the latter’s backhand, Leander ruptured a few tendons in his right wrist. So it was put in a cast and he had to recover before the medal play-off. On match day, he was in unbearable pain and it took a great deal of physical and mental strength and a lot of aggressive tennis to pull off a historic win and a place on the podium.

Olympic memories

Super shuttler

India’s first Olympic medal in badminton came in the 2012 London Games. Saina Nehwal had already made waves by reaching the quarterfinals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But the bronze didn’t come easy. A week before the Games, Saina went down with viral fever. But being the fighter that she is, she recovered and fought her way through the tournament to a place on the podium.

Olympic memories

Shooting star

Abhinav Bindra had missed a medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, so his preparation for the next round in Beijing was meticulous and careful. This paid off, as the 25-year-old surpassed the defending champion and won the gold. But it was not all smooth sailing. Just minutes before the final, he realised that his gun’s sight (aiming device) had been altered. Though he panicked initially, he stepped up and calmly scripted his place in sporting history.

Olympic memories

Wizard of hockey

The Indian hockey team won eight gold medals — in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1964 and 1980. Instrumental in the first three of these wins was Dhyan Chand, regarded as one of the greatest hockey players in history. Apart from his extraordinary goal-scoring, he also captained the side at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In the final against Germany, he lost a tooth in a collision with the opposing goalkeeper. He also reportedly removed his stockings and shoes so that he could run faster.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 10:19:12 AM |

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