Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 saw three athletes from India, luger Shiva Keshavan, Alpine skier Himanshu Thakur and cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal represent the country. However, they couldn't enter the tournament under the Indian flag thanks to a ban the Indian Olympic Association [IOA] was facing.
The Indian athletes walked under the International Olympic Committee [IOC] flag during the opening ceremony in Sochi.
The ban on India had come in December 2012 mainly for a corrupt committee that did not comply with the Olympic charter. As the tournament progressed, IOA held elections to choose a "clean" president as IOC had suggested. N. Ramachandran, the brother of BCCI's president N. Srinivasan, was elected to the post.
"My immediate goal is to get India back to the Olympic fold. I will be the happiest person if we see the Indian flag at the Sochi closing ceremony," N. Ramachandran made his goals clear straight after the elections.
India did indeed walk under the national flag at the closing ceremony on February 23rd after the 14-month ban was lifted by the IOC on February 11th. The Indian flag was also raised in a special ceremony held in Sochi two days after the ban was lifted. The athletes and coaches stood in pride while the National Anthem was played.
IOA's new president Ramachandran said, "I am thrilled and delighted. I don't look into the past. I only look for the future.
"When the IOC lifted our ban in the midst of an Olympic event, it's the first time it's happened and I am truly grateful to the IOC president Thomas Bach... for having lifted the ban within two days"
"It was a special moment when you see your country's flag being raised in the Games Village. I was so thrilled that I had goosebumps. It was a wonderful feeling," added Thakur with pride.
Keshavan had already taken part in the competition as an "individual candidate." Although he was thrilled to see the Indian flag in the Games Village he suggested there needs to be a change in the mindset.
"The symbolic change has happened and now we need to see the real change," Keshavan said when the Indian flag was raised.
Iqbal and Himanshu competed under the Indian flag but failed to impress as they came close to last in their respective competitions.
With Commonwealth and Asian games coming up, the athletes can now compete under the Indian flag.