The Universiade is an international
sporting and cultural festival which is staged every two
years in a different city and which is second in importance
only to the Olympic Games.
The Summer Universiade consists
of 10 compulsory sports and up to three optional sports
chosen by the host country. The record figures are 6.009
participants in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1999 and 162
countries in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1995.
Compulsory (10): Track & Field,
Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Tennis, Fencing, Gymnastics,
Swimming, Diving, Water Polo
The Winter Universiade consists
of 6 compulsory sports and one or two optional sports also
chosen by the host country. Poprad-Tatry region, in Slovakia
in 1999 is the biggest one in attendants' number with a
record of 1.412 participants (929 athletes and 483 officials).
40 countries took part to the Slovakia competitions compared
to the record of 48 countries of the '97 Muju-Chonju edition
Compulsory (5): Alpine skiing, Nordic
skiing (jump, cross country, combined), Ice Hockey, Short-Track
Speed Skating, Figure Skating
FISU stands for Federation Internationale
du Sport Universitaire (International University Sports
Federation) and was founded in 1949. FISU's main responsibility
is the supervision of both Summer and Winter Universiades
as well as the World University Championships.
FISU was officially formed in 1949,
but its origin goes back to the 20's when the Frenchman,
Jean Petitjean, organized the first "World Student
Games" in Paris. That was in May 1923.
The following year saw the birth
of the International Confederation of Students (I.C.S.),
which held a congress in Warsaw. Several delegations took
part - the movement was launched. From 1925 to 1939, many
great sporting events were organized by the students and
the I.C.S.: in Prague in 1925, Rome in 1927, then again
in Paris, Darmstadt (1930), Turin (1933), Budapest (1935),
Paris (1937), Monaco (1939).
The Second World War interrupted
these meetings, but when peace was restored, France re-launched
the World University Games.
This peace was relative, because
the shadow of the Cold War soon divided university sport.
In 1949, although the International Students Union (I.S.U.)
organized Games at which very few Western countries participated,
the International University Sports Federation, born the
previous year in Luxembourg, was officially founded and
organized its first International University Sports Weeks
bringing together the western delegations. These meetings
took place notably in Merano (1949), Luxembourg (1951),
Dortmund (1953) and San Sebastian (1955).
In a new departure in 1957, the
French Federation organized a World University Sports Championship
which brought together students from Eastern and Western
From this meeting came the desire
to organize a universal event in which students from all
over the world could participate.
In 1959, FISU and the I.S.U. agreed
to participate in the games organized in Turin by the Italian
association: C.U.S.I. That year was undoubtedly the one
that left the biggest impression on our federation. In fact,
the Italian organizers baptized these 1959 games with the
name Universiade. They created the flag with a "U"
surrounded by stars which was going to begin its journey
around the world, and replaced the national anthems at the
medal-awarding ceremonies by the Gaudeamus Igitur.
The Universiade in Turin was a success
for the local Executive Committee and for the man who was
going to change the future of the university sports movement:
Dr Primo NEBIOLO. At this Universiade, which brought together
43 different countries and 1,400 participants, many non-member
federations asked to become members of FISU.
For more than thirty years, 120
of these Championships have been organized, covering a large
range of events (almost always different from the Universiade
sports). These championships, which take place on even years
and which have had increasing success as the years go on,
guarantee continuity in the competitions program. They also
allow a large number of students and university sports leaders
to unite on occasions other than at Universiades. In 1998,
20 World University Championships were held, each in a different
place for a different sport. 75 different countries attended
with a total of 3.679 participants.
In January 1999, the Winter Universiade
took place in Poprad-Tatry (SVK) and attracted a record
1.412 participants (929 athletes and 483 officials) from
40 countries. The Summer Universiade was organized in Palma
de Mallorca (ESP) in July 99 and saw beautiful accomplishments
with 10 new FISU records and a record participation with
4.076 athletes and 1.933 officials.
The Summer Universiade 2003 and
2005 editions have been attributed respectively to the cities
of Daegu (Korea) and Izmir (Turkey). The Winter Universiade
2003 will be held in the city of Tarvisio (Italy) and the
2005 edition has been attributed to the national university
sports organization of Austria, who will organize it at