FISU History

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The Precursors

At the beginning of the 19th century, competitive sport took its first steps, guided by the father of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. It was in the United States, England and Switzerland that the first inter-university meets were held. They gradually led to the emergence of university sports associations, the first of which came into being in the United States in 1905. The International Confederation of Students was established in 1919 and it was this organisation's Sports Committee that launched the first World University Games in 1923. 

 The Beginning

Jean PetitjeanJean PetitjeanFISU's origin goes back to the 1920s when Frenchman Jean Petitjean organised the first 'World Student Games' in Paris, in May 1923. The following year, the International Confederation of Students (ICS) associated itself with this movement. From 1925 to 1939, many great sporting events were organised by the students and the ICS: in Prague (1925), Rome (1927), again in Paris (1928), Darmstadt (1930), Turin (1933), Budapest (1935), Paris (1937), Monaco (1939). The Second World War interrupted these meets, but when peace was restored, France re-launched the World University Games.

 
1949: Creation of FISU

Dr. Paul SchleimerDr. Paul SchleimerPeace was relative, and the shadow of the cold war soon divided university sport. In 1946, the International Students Union (ISU) was created in Prague to pursue the works of the International Confederation of Students, and it organised the 9th World University Games in 1947. In 1948, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) was created under the impetus of Paul Schleimer of Luxembourg, and it launched the International University Sport Weeks in 1949 in Merano, Italy. Other editions followed: in Luxembourg (1951), Dortmund (1953) and San Sebastian (1955). In 1957, the French federation organised a World University Sports Championship which brought together students from the Eastern and Western blocks. From this meet arose the desire to organise a universal event in which students from all over the world could participate.

 

First Universiade

Dr. Primo NebioloDr. Primo NebioloIn 1959, FISU and the ISU agreed to participate in the games organised in Turin, Italy, by CUSI, the Italian Student Sports Association. These 1959 games were baptised the 'Universiade'. A flag with a 'U' surrounded by stars was created, which was to begin its journey around the world. National anthems at medal ceremonies were replaced with 'Gaudeamus Igitur'. The Universiade in Turin was a success for the local Executive Committee, as well as for the man who was to change the future of the university sports movement: Dr. Primo Nebiolo. During this Universiade, which brought together 43 countries and 1,400 participants, many non-member federations applied to become members of FISU. FISU then defined its philosophy in Article 2 of its statutes by stipulating: 'FISU pursues its objects without consideration or discrimination of a political, denominational or racial nature'. From then on, FISU was to organise the games at a worldwide level.

 

The Expansion of University Sport

Ever since, the Universiades have continued to attract more and more participants. Starting with a total of 1,407 participants in Turin, Italy, in 1959, the Universiade saw a total of 6,757 participants from more than 165 countries in Beijing, China, in 2001, and 6,643 participants from 174 countries in Daegu, Korea, in 2003. The highest number of participants was registered at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia - with 11,759 athletes representing 159 countries. The Winter Universiades began with 98 athletes in the games in Zell-Am-See, Austria, in 1958, and went onto record 2,668 participants from 52 countries came to the Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy, in 2013. 
 Universiade Turin 1970Universiade Turin 1970

The expansion of university sport around the world created a need for newer meets and competitions, to complete the FISU sports programme. FISU launched the World University Championships in the early 1960s. Over 50 years, more than 300 Championships have been organised, covering a large range of events that are almost always different from the Universiade sports. Meant to guarantee continuity in the competition programme, these Championships take place during even-numbered years and experience increasing success year upon year. They allow a large number of students and university sports leaders to get together on occasions other than Universiades. The Championships celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2013 and in 2018, 33 stand-alone World University Championship events across countries and continents made for a calendar full of quality competitions.

The 2019 edition of the Summer Universiade will be held in Napoli (Italy) and the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk (Russia). The FISU Universiades give student-athletes an opportunity to come together from all around the world, in a spirit of understanding and peace, and also with a view to obtain results at high technical level. Follow the timeline below to see FISU's major milestones. 

1923

First 'World Student Games' in Paris

1924

Summer Student World Championships 

1st Summer Student World Championships (Warsaw)

1927

Summer Student World Championships 

2nd Summer Student World Championships (Rome)

1928

Summer Student World Championships

3rd Summer Student World Championships (Paris)

Winter Student World Championships

1st Winter International University Games (Cortina d'Ampezzo)

1930

Summer Student World Championships

4th International University Games (Darmstadt)

Winter Student World Championships

2nd Winter International University Games (Davos)

1933

Summer Student World Championships

5th International University Games (Torino)

Winter Student World Championships

3rd Winter International University Games (Bardonecchia)

1935

Summer Student World Championships

6th International University Games (Budapest)

Winter Student World Championships

4th Winter International University Games (St Mortiz)

1937

Summer Student World Championships

7th International University Games (Paris)

Winter Student World Championships

5th Winter International University Games (Zell am See)

1939

Summer Student World Championships

8th International University Games (Monaco)

Winter Student World Championships

6th Winter International University Games (Lillehammer)

1949

Creation of FISU 

1951

Summer

2nd Summer International University Sport Week - Luxembourg

Winter

1st Winter International University Sport Week - Bad Gastein

1953

Summer

3rd Summer International University Sport Week - Dortmund

Winter

2nd Winter International University Sport Week - St Moritz

1955

Summer

4th Summer International University Sport Week - San Sebastian

Winter

3rd Winter International University Sport Week - Jahorina

1957

Summer

World University Games - Paris

Winter

4th Winter International University Sport Week - Oberammergau

1959

Summer

1st Summer Universiade - Torino

Winter

5th Winter International University Sport Week - Zell am See

1960

Winter 

1st Winter Universiade - Chamonix, France

1961

Summer

2nd Summer Universiade - Sofia, Bulgaria

1962

Winter

2nd Winter Universiade - Villars, Switzerland

1963

Summer

3rd Summer Universiade - Porto Alegre, Brazil 

1964

Winter

3rd Winter Universiade - Spindleruv Mlyn, Czechoslovakia

1965

Summer

4th Summer Universiade - Budapest, Hungary 

1966

Winter

4th Winter Universiade - Sestriere, Italy

1967

Summer

5th Summer Universiade - Tokyo, Japan

1968

Winter

5th Winter Universiade - Innsbruck, Austria

1970

Summer

6th Summer Universiade - Torino, Italy

 

Winter 6th Winter Universiade - Rovaniemi, Finland

1972

Winter

7th Winter Universiade - Lake Placid, USA

1973

Summer

7th Summer Universiade - Moscow, USSR

1975

Summer

8th Summer Universiade - Rome, Italy

Winter

8th Winter Universiade - Livigno, Italy

1977

Summer

9th Summer Universiade - Sofia, Bulgaria

1978

Winter

9th Winter Universiade - Spindleruv Mlyn, Czechoslovakia

1979

Summer

10th Summer Universiade - Mexico City, Mexico

1981

Summer

11th Summer Universiade - Bucharest, Romania

Winter

10th Winter Universiade - Jaca, Spain

1983

Summer

12th Summer Universiade - Edmonton, Canada

Winter

11th Winter Universiade - Sofia, Bulgaria

1985

Summer

13th Summer Universiade - Kobe, Japan

Winter

12th Winter Universiade - Belluno, Italy

1987

Summer

14th Summer Universiade - Zagreb, Yugoslavia

Winter

13th Winter Universiade - Strbske Pleso, Czechoslovakia 

1989

Summer

15th Summer Universiade - Duisburg, Germany

Winter

14th Winter Universiade - Sofia, Bulgaria

1991

Summer

16th Summer Universiade - Sheffield, Great Britain

Winter

15th Winter Universiade - Sapporo, Japan

1993

Summer

17th Summer Universiade - Buffalo, USA

Winter

16th Winter Universiade - Zakopane, Poland

1995

Summer

18th Summer Universiade - Fukuoka, Japan

 

Winter 17th Winter Universiade - Jaca, Spain

1997

Summer

19th Summer Universiade - Sicily, Italy

Winter

18th Winter Universiade - Chonju-Muju, Korea

1999

Summer

20th Summer Universiade - Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Winter

19th Winter Universiade - Poprad-Tatry, Slovakia

2001

Summer

21st Summer Universiade - Beijing, China

Winter

20th Winter Universiade - Zakopane, Poland

2003

Summer

22nd Summer Universiade - Daegu, Korea

Winter

21st Winter Universiade - Tarvisio, Italy

2005

Summer

23rd Summer Universiade - Izmir, Turkey

Winter

22nd Winter Universiade - Innsbruck, Austria

2007

Summer

24th Summer Universiade - Bangkok, Thailand

Winter

23rd Winter Universiade - Torino, Italy

2009

Summer

25th Summer Universiade - Belgrade, Serbia

Winter

24th Winter Universiade - Harbin, China

2011

Summer

26th Summer Universiade - Shenzhen, China

Winter

25th Winter Universiade - Erzurum, Turkey

2013

Summer

27th Summer Universiade - Kazan, Russia

Winter

26th Winter Universiade - Trentino, Italy

2015

Summer

28th Summer Universiade - Gwangju, Korea

Winter

27th Winter Universiade - Strbske Pleso/Osrblie, Slovakia & Granada, Spain

2017

Summer

29th Summer Universiade - Taipei City, Chinese Taipei

Winter

28th Winter Universiade - Almaty, Kazakhstan

2019

Summer

30th Summer Universiade - Napoli, Italy

Winter

29th Winter Universiade - Krasnoyarsk, Russia

2021

Winter

30th Winter Universiade - Lucerne, Switzerland