Tokyo 2020: Key highlights from last 6 Olympic Games; countries that topped medal table, India’s medal winners

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The Tokyo Games, officially known as the XXXII Olympiad, were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But after a delay of 12 months, the quadrennial sporting spectacle is set to begin and witness participation from approximately 11,238 athletes from 206 nations. These athletes will participate in 339 events in 33 sports, across 50 disciplines.

Over the years, the Olympics have been the biggest stage for sportspersons to display their talents and make their countries proud by finishing the podium and this year will be no different. The Olympic Games, which were first held in 1896 in Athens, the capital of Greece, have come a long way as they get bigger and grander with every edition.

However, the spirit and craze for this sporting extravaganza has only grown as the years progressed. Here we take a look at how the last six Olympic Games panned out:

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Atlanta Olympics: 1996

In 1996, Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, USA. Officially known as the 26th Olympiad, the games were held between July 19 and August 4, it was the fourth Olympics to be hosted in the USA.

10320 athletes (6797 men and 3523 women) from 197 nations were part of the Atlanta Games. They participated in 271 events in 26 sports across 37 disciplines.

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The United States topped the medal table with 44 gold, 32 silver and 25 bronze taking their tally to 101. Russia came second with 26 gold medals, 63 overall.

It was a memorable Olympic for India as well because Leander Paes became the first tennis player to bag an Olympic medal after clinching a bronze. That was the lone Olympic medal for India in Atlanta.

Sydney Olympics: 2000

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The first Olympic Games in the new millennia were held in Sydney in 2000. Officially known as the 27th Olympiad, the Sydney Games were held between September 15 and October 1. It was the second time the Summer Olympics were held in Australia after Melbourne in 1956.

Athletes from 199 countries participated in Sydney Olympics and 10651 athletes (6582 men and 4069 women) contested in 300 events in 28 sports across 40 disciplines.

The medal table was topped by the USA (37 gold), followed by Russia (32 gold), China (28 gold )and hosts Australia finished fourth with 16 gold medals to their tally.

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India’s female weightlifter Karnam Malleswari was the sole medal winner when she bagged a bronze medal in women’s 69 kg. She was the first female athlete from the country to finish the podium at Olympics. A total of 65 Indian athletes participated across 36 events in Sydney.

Athens Olympics: 2004

The 2004 Summer Olympics were held between 13 and 29 August in Greece’s capital Athens, the home of the Olympics. The XXVII Olympiad hosted athletes 10625 athletes (6296 men, 4329 women) from 201 nations. These athletes participated in 301 events in 28 sports across 40 disciplines.

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The United States once again topped the medal table with 36 gold medals (101 overall), followed by China (32 gold, 63 overall). For India, captain Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore won a silver medal in shooting and won the country’s first individual silver medal after wrestler KD Jadhav – who won a bronze medal at Helsinki in 1952. India sent a contingent of 73 athletes in 14 sports to Athens.

Beijing Olympics: 2008

China’s capital Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics between August 8 and 24. A total of 10942 athletes from 204 nations participated in 28 sports and 302 events. It was the first time when China hosted the Olympics. A total of 37 venues were used to host the events and the way China organised the Games, became envy for all. The equestrian events were, however, held in Hong Kong.

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An unprecedented 87 countries won at least a medal in Beijing Games as China topped the medal tally with 48 gold and 100 overall. The USA was ranked second with 36 gold and 112 overall.

US swimmer Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in the games, setting a world record of winning most yellow metals in a single Olympic Games.

It was the best-ever performance from India as the country finished with one gold and two bronze medals. Abhinav Bindra won gold in a 10-meter air rifle. Wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Singh bagged bronze in their respective categories.

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London Olympics: 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games were hosted in London and witnessed 10768 athletes (5992 men, 4776 women) from 204 nations. Officially known as XXX Olympiads, London Games were held between July 27 and August 12. A total of 302 events were held in 26 sports, across 39 disciplines.

The United States of America topped the medal table with 104 podium finishes, including 46 gold medals, followed by China (38 gold, 91 overall) and Great Britain (29 gold, 17 silver, 19 bronze; 65 overall).

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It was in London Games when Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all-time winning his 22nd medal.

India sent 83 athletes to London to participate in 13 sports. It was India’s most impressive show in Olympics in terms of medal counts, having won a total of 6 medals (2 silver and 4 bronze).

Shooter Vijay Kumar and wrestler Sushil Kumar bagged silver medals while shooter Gagan Narang, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, female boxer Mary Kom and female shuttler Saina Nehwal settled for a bronze medal.

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Rio Olympics: 2016

The 2016 Olympic Games were held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil between August 5 and 21. The XXXI Olympiad saw 11,238 athletes from 207 nations competing in 306 events in 28 sports across 41 disciplines.

Global sporting powerhouse, the United States grabbed 46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronze medals to top the tally with 121 medals. Great Britain (27 gold), China (26 gold), Russia (19) and Germany (17) were ranked second, third, fourth, and fifth respectively.

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India sent a 117-strong Olympic contingent to Rio, comprising 63 men and 54 women but finished with a silver and a bronze medal. Female badminton single’s player PV Sindhu settled for silver after losing to Spain’s Carolina Marin in the final. While female wrestler Sakshi Malik bagged a bronze medal by winning in the repechage round.

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