The Universiade is an international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The name is a combination of the words "University" and "Olympiad". The Universiade is referred to in English as the World University Games or World Student Games; however, this latter term can also refer to competitions for sub-University grades students. The Universiade is the largest multi-sport event in the world apart from the Olympic Games.[1] The most recent games were in 2019: the Winter Universiade was in Krasnoyarsk, Russia while the Summer Universiade was held in Naples, Italy. The 2021 Winter Universiade will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland, between 21 and 31 January 2021, and the 2021 Summer Universiade will be held in Chengdu, China between 8 and 19 August 2021.

Genresporting event
Inaugurated1959 (1959) (summer)
1960 (1960) (winter)
Organised byFISU


The idea of a global international sports competition between student-athletes pre-dates the 1949 formation of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), which now hosts the Universiade. English peace campaigner Hodgson Pratt was an early advocate of such an event, proposing (and passing) a motion at the 1891 Universal Peace Congress in Rome to create a series of international student conferences in rotating host capital cities, with activities including art and sport. This did not come to pass, but a similar event was created in Germany in 1909 in the form of the Academic Olympia. Five editions were held from 1909 to 1913, all of which were hosted in Germany following the cancellation of an Italy-based event.[2]

At the start of the 20th century, Jean Petitjean of France began attempting to organise a "University Olympic Games". After discussion with Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Petitjean was convinced not to use the word "Olympic" in the tournament's name.[2] Petitjean, and later the Confederation Internationale des Etudiants (CIE), was the first to build a series of international events, beginning with the 1923 International Universities Championships. This was followed by the renamed 1924 Summer Student World Championships a year later and two further editions were held in 1927 and 1928. Another name change resulted in the 1930 International University Games. The CIE's International University Games was held four more times in the 1930s before having its final edition in 1947.[3][4]

A separate group organised an alternative university games in 1939 in Vienna, in post-Anschluss Germany.[3] The onset of World War II ceased all major international student sport activities and the aftermath also led to division among the movement, as the CIE was disbanded and rival organisations emerged. The Union Internationale des Étudiants (UIE) incorporated a university sports games into the World Festival of Youth and Students from 1947–1962, including one separate, unofficial games in 1954. This event principally catered for Eastern European countries.[5]

After the closure of the CIE and the creation of the first UIE-organised games, FISU came into being in 1949 and held its own first major student sport event the same year in the form of the 1949 Summer International University Sports Week. The Sports Week was held biennially until 1955. Like the CIE's games before it, the FISU events were initially Western-led sports competitions.[3]

Division between the largely Western European FISU and Eastern European UIE eventually began to dissipate among broadened participation at the 1957 World University Games. This event was not directly organised by either group, instead being organised by Jean Petitjean in France (which remained neutral to the split), but all respective nations from the groups took part. The FISU-organised Universiade became the direct successor to this competition, maintaining the biennial format into the inaugural 1959 Universiade. It was not until the 1957 World University Games that the Soviet Union began to compete in FISU events. That same year, what had previously been a European competition became a truly global one, with the inclusion of Brazil, Japan and the United States among the competing nations. The increased participation ultimately led to the establishment of the Universiade as the primary global student sport championship.[2][3]

Precursor events

Precursor events
Year Event Organiser Host city Host country
1923International Universities ChampionshipsCIEParis France
1924Summer Student World ChampionshipsCIEWarsaw Poland
1927Summer Student World ChampionshipsCIERome Italy
1928Summer Student World ChampionshipsCIEParis France
1930International University GamesCIEDarmstadt Germany
1933International University GamesCIETurin Italy
1935International University GamesCIEBudapest Hungary
1937International University GamesCIEParis France
1939International University GamesCIEMonte Carlo Monaco
1939International University GamesCIEVienna Germany
1947International University GamesCIEParis France
1947World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEPrague Czechoslovakia
1949World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEBudapest Hungary
1949Summer International University Sports WeekFISUMerano Italy
1951World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEEast Berlin East Germany
1951Summer International University Sports WeekFISULuxembourg Luxembourg
1953World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEBucharest Romania
1953Summer International University Sports WeekFISUDortmund West Germany
1955World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEWarsaw Poland
1955Summer International University Sports WeekFISUSan Sebastián Spain
1957World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEMoscow Soviet Union
1957World University GamesCIEParis France
1959World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEVienna Austria
1962World Festival of Youth and StudentsUIEHelsinki Finland

Summer Universiade

Location map


Games Year Host country
(as recognized by FISU)
Host city Opened by Dates Nations Competitors Sports Events Top nation
1 1959  Italy Turin Giovanni Gronchi 26 August – 7 September 45985760  Italy
2 1961  Bulgaria Sofia Dimitar Ganev 25 August – 3 September 321270968  Soviet Union
3 1963  Brazil Porto Alegre Paulo de Tarso Santos 30 August – 8 September 27917970  Soviet Union
4 1965 Hungary Budapest István Dobi 20–30 August 321729974  Hungary
5 1967 Japan Tokyo Hirohito 27 August – 4 September 309371083  United States
6 1970  Italy Turin Giuseppe Saragat 26 August – 6 September 402080982  Soviet Union
7 1973  Soviet Union Moscow Leonid Brezhnev 15–25 August 72276510111  Soviet Union
8 1975  Italy Rome Giovanni Leone 18–21 August 38450138  Soviet Union
9 1977  Bulgaria Sofia Todor Zhivkov 17–28 August 78293910101  Soviet Union
10 1979  Mexico Mexico City José López Portillo 2–13 September 8529741097  Soviet Union
11 1981  Romania Bucharest Nicolae Ceauşescu 19–30 July 86291210133  Soviet Union
12 1983  Canada Edmonton Charles, Prince of Wales 1–12 July 73240010118  Soviet Union
13 1985 Japan Kobe Akihito 24 August – 4 September 106394911123  Soviet Union
14 1987  Yugoslavia Zagreb Lazar Mojsov 8–19 July 122642312139  United States
15 1989 West Germany Duisburg Helmut Kohl 22–30 August 791785466  Soviet Union
16 1991 Great Britain Sheffield Anne, Princess Royal 14–25 July 101334611119  United States
17 1993  United States Buffalo Bill Clinton 8–18 July 118358212135  United States
18 1995 Japan Fukuoka Akihito 23 August – 3 September 118394912144  United States
19 1997  Italy Sicily Oscar Luigi Scalfaro 20–31 August 122358210129  United States
20 1999 Spain Palma de Mallorca Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo 3–13 July 114407612142  United States
21 2001 People's Republic of China Beijing Jiang Zemin 22 August – 1 September 165675712170  China
22 2003 South Korea Daegu Roh Moo-hyun 21–31 August 174718013189  China
23 2005  Turkey Izmir Ahmet Necdet Sezer 11–22 August 133781615195  Russia
24 2007  Thailand Bangkok Vajiralongkorn 8–18 August 1501200015236  China
25 2009 Serbia Belgrade Mirko Cvetković 1–12 July 145537915203  Russia
26 2011 People's Republic of China Shenzhen Hu Jintao 12–23 August 165799924306  China
27 2013  Russia Kazan Vladimir Putin 6–17 July 1621044227351  Russia
28 2015 South Korea Gwangju Park Geun-hye 3–14 July 1421288521274  South Korea
29 2017  Chinese Taipei1 Taipei Tsai Ing-wen 19–30 August 14511397 22272  Japan
30 2019  Italy Naples Sergio Mattarella 3–14 July 112579118220  Japan
31 2021 People's Republic of China Chengdu 8-19 August 19264
32 2023  Russia Yekaterinburg 8-19 August 19248

1 The Republic of China is recognised as Chinese Taipei by FISU and the majority of international organisations it participates in due to political considerations and Cross-Strait relations with the People's Republic of China.

Top 10 medal table

1 United States5224624271411
2 China4473052561008
3 Russia4383614251224
4 Soviet Union396322246964
5 Japan3583454361139
6 South Korea239201227667
7 Italy204199258661
8 Ukraine176184176536
9 Romania144128142414
10 Hungary11997113329
Totals (10 nations)3043260427068353

Winter Universiade

Location map


Games Year Host country Host city Opened by Dates Nations Competitors Sports Events Top nation
Total Men Women
1 1960  France Chamonix Charles de Gaulle 28 February – 6 March 16145513  France
2 1962   Switzerland Villars Paul Chaudet 6–12 March 22330612  West Germany
3 1964  Czechoslovakia Špindlerův Mlýn Antonín Novotný 11–17 February 21410515  West Germany
4 1966  Italy Sestriere Giuseppe Saragat 5–13 February 29434619  Soviet Union
5 1968  Austria Innsbruck Franz Jonas 21–28 January 26589723  Soviet Union
6 1970  Finland Rovaniemi Urho Kekkonen 3–9 April 25591724  Soviet Union
7 1972  United States Lake Placid Richard Nixon 26 February – 5 March 23410725  Soviet Union
8 1975  Italy Livigno Giovanni Leone 6–13 April 15191213  Soviet Union
9 1978  Czechoslovakia Špindlerův Mlýn Gustáv Husák 5–12 February 21347716  Soviet Union
10 1981 Spain Jaca Juan Carlos I 25 February – 4 March 28347719  Soviet Union
11 1983  Bulgaria Sofia Todor Zhivkov 17–27 February 28347721  Soviet Union
12 1985  Italy Belluno Sandro Pertini 16–24 February 34730  Soviet Union
13 1987  Czechoslovakia Štrbské Pleso Gustáv Husák 21–28 February 21347625  Czechoslovakia
14 1989  Bulgaria Sofia Todor Zhivkov 2–12 March 21347840  Soviet Union
15 1991  Japan Sapporo Naruhito 2–10 March 34840  Japan
16 1993 Poland Zakopane Lech Wałęsa 6–14 February 41836  Japan
17 1995 Spain Jaca Juan Carlos I 18–28 February 41935  South Korea
18 1997  South Korea Muju-Jeonju Kim Young-sam 24 January – 2 February 48951  Japan
19 1999  Slovakia Poprad-Vysoké Tatry Rudolf Schuster 22–30 January 40852  Russia
20 2001 Poland Zakopane Aleksander Kwaśniewski 7–17 February 41952  Russia
21 2003  Italy Tarvisio Renzo Tondo 16–26 January 461059  Russia
22 2005  Austria Innsbruck-Seefeld Heinz Fischer 12–22 January 501,5001168  Austria
23 2007  Italy Turin George Killian 17–27 January 481172  South Korea
24 2009  China Harbin Liu Yandong 18–28 February 442,3261281  China
25 2011  Turkey Erzurum Abdullah Gül 27 January-6 February 521,8801166  Russia
26 2013  Italy Trentino Ugo Rossi 11–21 December 501,7251279  Russia
27 2015  Slovakia Štrbské Pleso-Osrblie Andrej Kiska 24 January – 1 February 431,5511168  Russia
Spain Granada Felipe VI 4–14 February
28 2017  Kazakhstan Almaty Nursultan Nazarbayev 29 January – 8 February 571,6041285  Russia
29 2019  Russia Krasnoyarsk Vladimir Putin 2–12 March 583,0001176  Russia
30 2021   Switzerland Lucerne 20–31 January 1072
31 2023  United States Lake Placid[6] 18–29 January

Winter Universiade All Time Top 10 medal table

1 Russia208189174571
2 Soviet Union1119670277
3 South Korea1057771253
4 Japan9510597297
5 China786576219
6 Czechoslovakia524925126
7 Italy515759167
8 France515055156
9 Poland495864171
10 Austria494753149
Totals (10 nations)8497937442386

See also


  1. "Summer Universiade". www.fisu.net. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  2. Bell, Daniel (2003). Encyclopedia of International Games. McFarland and Company, Inc. Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina. ISBN 0-7864-1026-4.
  3. World Student Games (pre-Universiade). GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2010-12-10.
  4. FISU History. FISU. Retrieved on 2014-12-09.
  5. World Student Games (UIE). GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2014-12-09.
  6. "Lake Placid set to host 2023 Winter Universiade after MoU signed with FISU". Inside the Games. 6 March 2018.
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