Today’s Stars, Tomorrow’s Leaders



The Universiade’s roots go back to the start of the 20th century as host cities welcomed student-athletes who celebrate the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship in a competitive environment. Today, the Universiade has been renamed the World University Games and continues to build on this long tradition as the premiere university multi-sport competition in the world.

Summer World University Games

The Summer World University Games takes place over 12 days and consists of 15 compulsory sports. It is scheduled to take place every two years.

To keep both the event programme at the forefront of sport innovation and embrace the host country's sporting legacy, organisers can add up to three optional sports to their edition of the World University Games. 

The 2021 event in Chengdu in China was been delayed until 2023 due to COVID-19 and eventually went ahead between July 28 and August 8.

Rhine-Ruhr in Germany will host the next Games in 2025.

Two more editions have also been awarded - to Chungcheong in South Korea in 2027 and North Carolina in the United States in 2029.

Winter World University Games

The Winter World University Games incorporates education and cultural aspects into an 11-day competition sport programme. The flagship event includes eight compulsory sports and up to three optional sports chosen by the host country. 

The latest edition took place in two-time Winter Olympic host Lake Placid in the United States in January 2023. 

Turin in Italy is the next scheduled host in 2025. 

The host of the Winter Universiade in 2021 was due to be Lucerne in Switzerland, but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

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Chengdu 2021 dazzles two years later than planned

The 2021 Summer World University Games in Chinese city Chengdu were eventually staged in 2023, two years later than planned due to postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Games featured more than 6,500 athletes from 113 countries, with hosts China ending top of the medal table, winning more than 100 golds.

Eighteen sports were contested and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the Games.

International University Sports Federation Acting President Leonz Eder said he believed the Games had demonstrated Chengdu's position as "a prominent sporting city".

"The venues used will deliver tangible social benefits, demonstrating Chengdu’s position as a prominent sporting city - one that is capable of planning and hosting major international sporting events, including, hopefully, the Olympic Games in the future," said Eder.

"FISU is proud of the long-term relationships we have with our host cities, extending long after the Closing Ceremony.

"In Chengdu a museum is already in place celebrating our shared successes, while a partnership with the Chengdu Sport University will see its students become a special part of our community."

Japan finished second on the medal table, winning 21 golds.

"The success of the event was only possible due to the dedication, passion, patience and resilience of all involved," said Eder.

"I must express my sincere gratitude, both personally and on behalf of FISU, to the Chengdu 2021 Organising Committee, the Federation of University Sports of China, the Government of the People's Republic of China, Sichuan province, and the city and the people of Chengdu for their unwavering support.

"The Games were not only a world-class sporting event in terms of performance, but also an opportunity for youth to come together to brighten and inspire our world."

Chengdu was the third Chinese mainland city to host the FISU Summer World University Games, following on from Beijing in 2001 and Shenzhen in 2011.

Cutting-edge technology was used in Chengdu, including robot cooks which delivered food to athletes.

The city is known as the home of the panda in China with many visitors using the Games to become acquainted with the animals.

A total of 13 new venues were constructed for the Games, while 36 were renovated as part of the city's preparations. 

Among those is the Dong'an Lake Sports Park, located in the Longquanyi District, which was the centrepiece for the Games and hosted the Opening Ceremony which had youth as a theme.

The complex is spread out over 678 acres and consists of one main sports stadium with a capacity of 40,000 and four other multi-functional venues with around 18,000 spectator seats each.

The Closing Ceremony was held at the Chengdu Open Air Music Park.  

"Chengdu has truly made all dreams come true," Eder told the crowd.

"From the very beginning of our journey in China, we have been embraced with warmth and hospitality that words cannot fully express.

"Today as we gather, we share a bittersweet moment, on the one hand over the last 12 days, we have witnessed the best Games ever, on the other, we must now bid a heartfelt farewell to the wonderful city of Chengdu."

Chengdu is also the host of the 2025 World Games.

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Lake Placid 2023 Winter World University Games

Eighty-five medal events were held at the 2023 Winter World University Games in Lake Placid in New York, a two-time host of the Winter Olympics.

Japan topped the medal table after winning 48 - 21 golds, 17 silvers and 10 bronze.

South Korea finished second while hosts United States enjoyed their best-ever Games after not picking up a single medal in 2019.

A moose named Adriondack Mack was named as the mascot of the event.

"There can be no doubt, Lake Placid is the place of legends for winter sports," said FISU's Acting President Leonz Eder.  

"We knew this was and is a very special place. 

"And we had the privilege to be part of it."

The 11-day event was only the second time the Games had been held outside of Europe or Asia.

In all, 1,443 athletes from 46 countries took part.

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Naples 2019 welcomed the world to the Summer Universiade’s 60th birthday

Sitting just south of Rome, Naples was primed to combine the dynamism of university sport with the region's culture and history. It was particularly fitting that an Italian city should host the 30th edition of the event as the Summer Universiade was first held in Turin in 1959.

The city's historic centre, Centro Storico, and natural splendors, like the nearby Amalfi Coast, played an ideal supporting role to university student-athletes in action. 

Sports are a way of life in Italy’s third-largest city. Walking along the famously narrow streets of Naples, football is played everywhere as passionate fans crowd around café televisions whenever Diego Maradona’s old club Napoli play in Serie A.

From the hub of the city to the whole of the region, there were plenty of options for people to either participate or watch from the sidelines as a fan.

The Summer Universiade 2019 hosts ran an efficient operation - one that leaves refurbished sports venues throughout the Campania region for people to enjoy for years. With the passion of sports pulsing through the city, Naples 2019 gave further inspiration to add sports to people’s daily lives, particularly on the university campus.

Even once the Universiade flame was extinguished, the Games have left a bright legacy.

Japan topped the medal table with 33 golds, 21 silver and 28 bronze.

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The Krasnoyarsk Winter Universiade 2019

Krasnoyarsk 2019 was held under the slogan "welcome to real winter" and there is meaning behind the motto. Situated in the heart of Siberia, the place has deep sporting roots.

As the capital of the Krasnoyarsk territory in Russia, the city was ideally suited to cement its position as a top-level winter sports venue. Nineteen athletes from the region have won gold medals at the Olympic Games, with three others becoming Paralympic champions.

Fitting the International University Sports Federation motto of "today’s stars, tomorrow’s leaders", Krasnoyarsk is not only one of the more sporting cities in the world. It is also an academic hub with more than 120,000 university students. All told, the city is home to nine institutions of higher education, including the State Federal University of Siberia.

Krasnoyarsk sits next to the Stolby Nature Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the Eastern Sayan Mountains. The rugged, rocky landscape covered in a deep blanket of snow is an ideal canvas for winter sports competitors.

Krasnoyarsk was not new to the game of staging winter sports competitions and is a regular host to national competitions in Alpine skiing, bandy, biathlon, snowboarding and freestyle skiing. Organisers were particularly enthused that bandy, known as "Russian hockey" in the host country, was part of the Winter Universiade for the first time in 2019.

As the 2019 host, Krasnoyarsk gained its first experience in organising an international multi-sport event at the 29th Winter Universiade. Krasnoyarsk 2019 organisers had the full backing of the Russian Federation, which brought a wealth of experience having already hosted the 1973 Summer Universiade, 1980 Summer Olympics, Summer Universiade 2013 and 2014 Winter Olympics.

The city along the Yenisei River began its bid to host the 2019 Winter Universiade when FISU attributed the event to Krasnoyarsk on November 9 in 2013. Since then, Krasnoyarsk 2019 organisers have been preparing to host the world's premier sports and educational event. 

Legacy benefits are already being felt with curling's World Junior Championships awarded to the city.

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Taipei scores big with Summer Universiade 2017

Preparations for Taipei’s coming-out party as host to high-profile, world-class events were years in the making. Taipei organisers and city planners saw the Universiade as much more than an international sporting event.

When athletes from around the world walked into Taipei Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Universiade, the stage was set for this to be a city-transforming social movement. Since winning the right to host the event to after the Universiade flame was extinguished to mark the end of the Summer Universiade 2017, Taipei’s commitment to urban revitalisation and public participation has only grown. Taipei shined bright on the world stage.

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The Universiade Through the Years

Summer Universiade

2029 - North Carolina, United States
2027 - Chungcheong, South Korea
2025 - Rhine-Ruhr, Germany
2023 - Ekaterinburg, Russia - SUSPENDED
2021 - Chengdu, China - DELAYED UNTIL 2023
2019 - Naples, Italy
2017 - Taipei, Chinese Taipei
2015 - Gwangju, South Korea
2013 - Kazan, Russia
2011 - Shenzhen, China
2009 - Belgrade, Serbia
1959 - 2007

Winter Universiade

2025 - Turin, Italy
2023 - Lake Placid, United States
2021 - Lucerne, Switzerland - CANCELLED
2019 - Krasnoyarsk, Russia
2017 - Almaty, Kazakhstan
2015 - Štrbské Pleso and Osrblie, Slovakia and Granada, Spain
2013 - Trentino, Italy
1960 - 2011
Chinese city Harbin staged the Winter Universiade 2009 ©Getty Images
Chinese city Harbin staged the Winter Universiade 2009 ©Getty Images
The Summer Universiade 2011 was held in Chinese city Shenzhen ©Getty Images
The Summer Universiade 2011 was held in Chinese city Shenzhen ©Getty Images