Indian Olympic delegation 1920
India sent its first athlete to the Summer Olympics for the 1900 Games, but an Indian national team did not compete at the Summer Olympics until 1920. Ahead of the 1920 Games, Sir Dorabji Tata and Governor of Bombay George Lloyd helped India secure representation at the International Olympic Council, enabling it to participate in the Games (see India at the 1920 Olympic Games). India then sent a team to the 1920 Olympics, comprising four athletes, two wrestlers, and managers Sohrab Bhoot and A. H. A. Fyzee. The Indian Olympic movement was then established during the 1920s: some founders of this movement were Dorabji Tata, A.G. Noehren (Madras College of Physical Education), H.C. Buck (Madras College of Physical Education), Moinul Haq (Bihar sports associations), S. Bhoot (Bombay Olympic Association), A.S. Bhagwat (Deccan Gymkhana), and Guru Dutt Sondhi (Punjab Olympic Association); Lt.Col H.L.O. Garrett (from the Government College Lahore and Punjab Olympic Association) and Sagnik Poddar (of St. Stephen's School) helped organise some early national games; and prominent patrons included Maharajas and royal princes Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Ranjitsinhji of Nawanagar, the Maharaja of Kapurthala, and the Maharaja of Burdwan.
In 1923, a provisional All India Olympic Committee was formed, and in February 1924, the All India Olympic Games (that later became the National Games of India) were held to select a team for the Paris Summer Olympics. The Indian delegation at the Paris Olympics comprised seven athletes, seven tennis players and team manager Harry Buck.
In 1927, the provisional Indian Olympic Committee formally became the Indian Olympic Association (IOA); its main tasks were to promote the development of sports in India, choose host cities for the national games, and send teams selected from the national games to the Summer Olympics. Thus, at the 1928 national games, it selected seven athletes to represent India at the next Summer Olympics, with Sondhi as manager. By this time, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) had also been established and it sent a hockey team to the Summer Olympics. The national hockey team and additional sportspersons were similarly sent to the 1932 Games (four athletes and one swimmer) and 1936 (four athletes, three wrestlers, one Burmese weight-lifter), along with three officials headed by team manager Sondhi.
From 1948 onward, because of the IOA's wider outreach, India began sending delegations of over 50 sportspersons representing several sport, each selected by its sports federation, to the Summer Olympics. The delegation was headed by a chef-de-mission.
Thus, India's Summer Olympic delegation in the early Olympic Games was as follows:
- 1900: One athlete
- 1920: 6 competitors (four athletes, two wrestlers) and managers Bhoot and Fyzee
- 1924: 14 competitors (seven athletes, seven tennis players) and manager Harry Crowe Buck
- 1928: 21 competitors (seven athletes and a hockey team of 14) and manager G D Sondhi
- 1932: 20 competitors (four athletes, one swimmer, and a hockey team of 15) and three officials headed by manager G D Sondhi
- 1936: 27 competitors (four athletes, three wrestlers, one Burmese weight-lifter, and a hockey team of 19) and three officials including manager G D Sondhi
- 1948: 79 competitors and a few officials headed by chef-de-mission Moin ul Haq
- 1952: 64 competitors and some officials headed by chef-de-mission Moin ul Haq
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra won gold in the Men's 10 metre air rifle event becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games. Vijender Singh got the country's first medal in boxing with his bronze medal in Middleweight category.
The 2012 Summer Olympics saw an 83-member Indian contingent participating in the games and setting a new best for the country with a total of six medals. Wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian with multiple individual Olympic medals (bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics) since Norman Pritchard in 1900. Saina Nehwal won bronze medal in badminton in Women's singles getting the country's first Olympic medal in badminton. Pugilist Mary Kom became the first Indian woman to win a medal in boxing with her bronze medal finish in Women's flyweight category.
At the 2016 Summer Olympics, a record number of 118 athletes competed. Sakshi Malik became the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal with her bronze medal finish in Women's freestyle 58 kg category. Shuttler P. V. Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in Olympics and also the youngest Indian Olympic medallist.