Achievements: Won three gold medals in Olympic games; awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956
Arguably the greatest player the game of hockey has ever produced, Dhyan Chand's genius transcended national boundaries and created myths abound of his phenomenal abilities.
Once a lowly sepoy in the British Indian Army, Dhyan Chand's wizardry with the hockey stick caught the attention of his seniors and soon earned him a place in the Indian national team. Representing India in three Olympics, Dhyan Chand mesmerized the world audience with his audacious jugglery and leadership qualities.
At the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, when India thrashed the U. S. by 24 goals to one, Dhyan Chand and his brother Roop Singh wreaked havoc in the opposition defence, each scoring eight goals. Four years later, at the Berlin Games, Dhyan Chand was again in the thick of action when India drubbed the hosts by a huge margin in the final.
Such was Dhyan Chand's virtuosity that people actually refused to believe what they have seen with their naked eyes. They broke his stick in Holland to check if there was a magnet inside and in Japan they decided it was glue. In Vienna Sports Club, there stands a statue of Dhyan Chand with four hands and four sticks.
Dhyan Chand was conferred the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, in 1956. The 'National Sports Day' in India is observed on his birthday