While many reminisce about memories from the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, that saw its closing ceremony take place Sunday, 22 January, a group of six Germans keeps analysing their memories for a special purpose: the preparation of the next FISU Games Summer coming up in Rhine-Ruhr in 2025.
As part of the Observer Programme, six employees from the Rhine-Ruhr organising committee came to Lake Placid to observe the winter version of the FISU Games. “Our main focus was to simply take in as many impressions from Lake Placid as possible,” Eliza Loeffler, Head of Staff for Rhine-Ruhr 2025, said. For most of her team, including herself, Lake Placid was their first ever FISU event. “It was all about breathing in the whole event and getting the experience of how FISU Games are organized,” she said.
“It was very rewarding and informative, we will definitely take a lot of benefits from having gone to Lake Placid,” Chief Sports Officer Sina Diekmann noted. “We wanted to get a feeling of the atmosphere among the delegations, at the opening and medal ceremonies, and just the whole atmosphere at a FISU event in general.”
Along with Loeffler and Diekmann, their team included Rhine-Ruhr’s CEO, their Chief Technology Officer, Head of Venues, as well as their FISU Relations Manager. Their tasks on-site centred on shadowing the local organising committee, especially the counterparts of their specific roles for Rhine-Ruhr. “We also had a look at the roles none of us six covers, to take home useful information for our colleagues in Germany,” Loeffler said.
It was not only the Germans joining the Observer Programme. Italy, hosts of the 2025 FISU Games Winter, and North Carolina, just officially confirmed as organisers of the 2029 FISU Games Summer, participated as well. “The local organising committee basically runs you through all the functions and areas of the event,” Loeffler explains of the Observer Programme. “They talk about their preparation over the past two years and deliver the hard facts you need to know as the next FISU Games hosts.”
As for Rhine-Ruhr in particular, Diekmann sees some advantages in the event’s geographical location. “Rhine-Ruhr is a very densely populated area in Germany, which could be beneficial compared to Lake Placid,” she said. “But of course, we will face other challenges instead. Rhine-Ruhr will be organised as a 5-location-concept. Coordinating all these locations and the people working there requires a lot of communication and detailed planning. The goal is to ultimately merge those five locations into one big, shared event – the FISU Games Summer.”
Lake Placid hosted the Save Winter Conference to place a special focus on sustainability and Rhine-Ruhr will keep this focus alive. “Sustainability nowadays should be a fundamental and self-evident aspect for every event organising team,” Diekmann said. “That’s why for Rhine-Ruhr, we won’t build any new facilities and organise the event as a five-location-concept.”
Just recently, the team moved into their new headquarter offices in Düsseldorf, Germany. “We are working a lot more efficiently, and our team’s communication is a lot more dynamic since we’re all working from one spot,” Diekmann says. “We’re making a lot of progress currently, taking big steps week by week.”
In summing up their experience in the Observer Programme and at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games Loeffler said, “Lake Placid was definitely a good start into the new year that showed us we’re moving into the right direction.”
The Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games will take place from 16-27 July and will be spread over the whole Rhine-Ruhr region, including the cities of Bochum, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Essen and Mülheim an der Ruhr.
Written by Annika Saunus