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India's first appearance in Winter Olympics came in 1960, not 1964

Jeremy Bujakowski had made a brief appearance at the 1960 Olympics before India officially made its Winter Games debut in 1964, news reports from then suggests.

Jeremy Bujakowski 1960 Winter Olympics

India's first Winter Olympian Jeremy Bujakowski 


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 3 Feb 2022 5:25 AM GMT

The 2022 Winter Olympics is all set to kick off tomorrow in Beijing, China with Jammu & Kashmir based alpine skier Arif Khan being India's sole representative in the quadrennial event. Though Khan is the country's only representative in this edition, India's history at the Winter Games can be traced as far back as the early 1960s.

It is a well-established fact that a Polish-Indo skier, Jeremy Bujakowski, is the first-ever Indian to compete at the Winter Olympics. Born to a Polish family in Lithuania, Bujakowski studied and grew up in India, thanks to his father's job in a petroleum company in the country. He even earned a scholarship from the University of Denver in the United States of America (USA) but returned back to India to represent the country in winter sports.

As is widely known, Jeremy Bujakowski did 'officially' become the first Indian to compete at the 1964 Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria, but it turns out he made a brief appearance in the 1960 Games at Squaw Valley in California.

As per news reports from that time, Jeremy Bujakowski seems to have been close to making it to the 1960 Games but was eventually shot down by the International Ski Federation for reasons unknown.

But again for unspecified reasons, Bujakowski was allowed to be the first man to go down on the slalom and giant slalom events to inaugurate both the alpine skiing courses.

"The federation also turned thumbs down to another one-man team, Jeremy Bujakowski, the Polish-born citizen of India, but it gave him the honour of going down on the slalom and giant slalom event first," reads a newspaper article from February 1960.

The newspaper clipping with mentions of Jeremy Bujakowski's appearance in 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics.

It turns out India and Jeremy were not the only ones to be shot down by the International Ski Federation. A lone representative from Taiwan, Cheng Hung Loo, too was not allowed to compete in the 1960 Games.

Despite all of this and India's official debut in 1964, it was not until the year 1984 that the Winter Games National Federation (WGFI) of India was formally established in the country.

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