203 Medal events
Belgrade games cap 50 years of Universiade success. When the host country pulled away in the closing minutes for the win in the men’s basketball final 20,000 spectators were on their feet in appreciation for both team’s performance you knew the capital city of Serbia was an ideal host to the 25th Summer Universiade.
A warm welcome is not an empty promise in Belgrade and nowhere was this more felt than walking into the Athletes’ Village for the first time. Athletes, coaches and event staff felt the place played its role perfectly.
“When you walk in here, you feel the vibes” said USA swimming coach Jackson Roach. “We were all impressed with the effectiveness and kindness of the voIunteers.” These good vibes carried over onto the competition arena, particularly the swimming pool where 30 Universiade Records were broken. Kenyan Jason Dunford even came very close to setting the world record in the 100 m butterfly.
It would not be possible to close this chapter of the Universiade without paying homage to the Ukrainian gymnast Anna Bessanova who has won the most honours at the Universiade during her four times competing for school and country. All told, the diminutive gymnast won 10 gold medals (5 in Bangkok in 2007; 4 in Izmir in 2005; 1 in Daegu in 2003) along with eight silver medals and one bronze.
Fifty years earlier, the Italian city of Torino played host to the first Universiade. Since then, the student-athlete centered multi-sport games continues to deliver. The curtain might have gone down on the 25th Universiade, but Belgrade left a lasting feeling of inclusiveness and friendliness that carries through to this day within the University Sport movement.