India at the Olympics

Economists, statisticians and others belonging to a similar have postulated a positive correlation between economic prosperity of a nation and its sporting prowess as measured by the success it achieves in international sporting events like the FIFA soccer world cup or the Olympics. China’s ascendancy to the Olympic podium has been rather sharp over the previous dozen years gone by. That has certainly keept the correlation desks busy! I plotted some data points I rather painstakingly collected from the online records of the LA84 foundation. The formats of the reports filed by each Games organizer have never really been consistent and it was not easy to get all this data. Wikipedia doesn’t have it and therefore there may be some errors in my representation.The chart below still does show the general trend. I was not able to get complete data for the 1968 games so that point is not shown on the chart (though India did win a medal in 1968). The number of events that India is participating in has gone by year on year which denotes the trend of village belles and Indian women picking up bows and arrows, boxing gloves, heavy discuses and weights. When I was picking up the data for this chart I was aware of the growing proportion of women atheletes in the Indian camp but I did not specifically pick this statistic so cannot show it on the chart. If you ignore the start of the 20th century (where India was represented by just one athelete), the year 2008 was very significant in Indian Olympics stats. This was the first year that India managed to secure more than 1 medal! Does this mark the beginning of a trend? I personally think that India’s showing at the Olympics is a far better indicator of things changing for the better than us winning the cricket world cup. Let’s see. Btw, the picture on the top right is that of the 4th place winning Indian Football team in 1956! 4th place. Don’t  ask how many nations participated but still 4th was certainly good. 🙂

Here are some links which try to point at the linkage between being wealthy and succeeding at sports;

Followup – now we know that India did win 6 medals (2 silver and 4 bronze). Which is much better than the 2008.


About Kaushal

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