The story so far
Sushil Kumar contested his first Olympics in 2004 as a 21-year-old, in the men's freestyle 60kg category, and returned with just one win against his name. Four years later, in Beijing, he earned India its first wrestling medal in 56 years by winning three repechage bouts in the 66kg category to take the freestyle bronze. As it turned out, his best was yet to come.
Sushil came into the London Games as the 2010 world champion in 66kg freestyle wrestling. His first bout was tied on points against Turkey's Ramazan Sahin, but he was declared the winner as the last to have gained a point. He won a high-scoring semi-final against Akzhurek Tanatarov of Kazakhstan, in the course of which he also cut his upper lip badly. This left him in less than ideal shape for his final against Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu of Japan, which he lost by a narrow 1-4 margin. This was enough to assure him a place in history as India's first Olympian with two individual medals at the Games.
"I actually came to know later about the fact that I am the first Indian to have won two individual medals for my nation. It made me immensely proud that I could do something good for my country. I felt as if I am serving my nation in my own way and that the entire nation is behind me in this moment of joy."
- Sushil Kumar
"The Olympics are the highest level of sporting accomplishment. Sushil's feat as an Indian was unprecedented in what is unquestionably a global sport."
- Charu Sharma, commentator
The story since
Sushil's chances of going for an unprecedented third Olympic medal were dealt a blow when the sport's governing body decided to drop the 66kg category from the Olympics to accommodate more categories for women. Sushil moved up to the 74kg category, but his only notable success came at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. His feat of winning two individual medals remains unmatched going into Rio.