No. 5: India win their first Olympic hockey gold

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The story till then

Hockey had been played at the Olympics on only two occasions - in London in 1908, and then in Antwerp 12 years later. Hockey came back to the Games in Amsterdam in 1928 - the tournament where India made their Olympic debut in the sport. The defending champions, Great Britain, interestingly enough, withdrew from the tournament, possibly as a result of having lost 0-4 to India in an exhibition fixture at the Folkestone festival just before the Games.

The moment
India were imperious in their pool matches, beating Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland convincingly. The smallest margin of victory was 5-0, against the Danes. The momentum was kept up in the final, where they beat Netherlands 3-0. India played five matches over nine days, and scored 29 goals without conceding a single one. Twenty-two-year-old Dhyan Chand was the top scorer, with 14 goals.

The reaction
"FEASTED AND FETED: Indian Hockey Team's Triumphal Tour on the Continent"
- Headline in the Times of India

Expert view
"It is quite remarkable that the Indian hockey team in the 1928 Olympics consisted of nine Anglo-Indians and four Muslims. The hockey team symbolised the unity in diversity that was being expressed by political leaders during the struggle for independence."

- Novy Kapadia, journalist and historian

The story since

The 1928 win set in motion a sequence of ten successive medals - seven of them golds - which India secured in the games to follow. This remains a record in men's hockey. Six of the medals followed successively from Amsterdam, and some of our jurists believe the 1948 medal in London was a bigger triumph, where Great Britain eventually fielded a team for the first time since India entered the Olympic fold. The final was played between Britain and India, and India won 4-0.

Recommended reading
Goal: An Autobiography by Dhyan Chand