India competed at the Olympics for the first time way back during the 1900 Paris Games where Norman Pritchard bagged two silver medal in athletics. This was followed by a two decade hiatus from the quadrennial event before the country sent its first proper delegation to the Olympics during the 1920 Amsterdam Games, thanks to the efforts of Sir Dorabji Tata.
Ever since, the country has been a constant feature at the Olympics and has never missed a single edition. While the Indian contingent became stronger with each passing edition of the Games, the performance remained static.
Though the Indians dominated the sport of hockey for years at the Olympics, their performance in other sports failed to impress; and since the decline of Indian hockey in the 1980s the country has been unable to find any event where it could bag medals consistently.
India's performance in the Olympics has been so poor over the years that the country has not managed to return with a double digit medal tally ever from the Games. In fact the country's best-ever show in the quadrennial event came during the 2012 London Olympics when it clinched a total of 6 medals, with 2 silver and 4 bronze.
While the 28 medals won by India in the Olympics over the years is certainly not something to loathe, there is something even interesting when one digs deeper.
Did you know India has the worst population to medals ratio amongst all the countries which have participated in the Olympics?
Yes, you read that right. India's population to medal ratio in the Olympics stands at mere 0.0008.
India is followed by Iraq and Sudan who have a population to Olympic medal ratio of 0.0017 and 0.0019 respectively.
On the other side, Bahamas has the highest medal to population ratio of 2.31, and is followed by Finland and Estonia who stand at 2.21 and 2.15 respectively.
One aspect which this data clearly exposes is the fact that India has failed to convert its potential into medals over the years. The country has failed to provide necessary support and has failed to mobilise the citizens to take up sports.
While these factors are definitely changing slowly, all we can do is sit and hope for a better show by the Indian athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to start in less than five days time.