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2019 Winter Universiade

Krasnoyarsk (RUS)

2019 Winter Kraznoyarsk

  • 58 Nations participating
  • 1692 Athletes participating
  • 12 sports


The 29th edition of the Winter Universiade well and truly raised the bar – not only in grandiosity, although grand it was – but in details, numbers, and the little facts that make all the difference.


The participation of 58 countries with nearly 1700 athletes was in itself a new record for the Winter Universiade, but there were also many other firsts. The fascinating sport of Ski Orienteering made its Universiade debut, for example, and the United Arab Emirates participated in the winter sport spectacle for the first time. Zahra Lari, the country’s first international-level figure skater won hearts and accolades as she performed with grace in her hijab.


The tone was set right from day one, when cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko spoke to the athletes from outer space during the opening ceremony. Right then, hope and hype for Krasnoyarsk 2019 couldn’t have been much higher. By the time the 76 medal events came to a fitting end, the Winter Universiade and student sport itself were touching new heights.


The crowd played no favourites for athletes in other arenas as well, giving their all, in support. This extended to the cross-country ski arena where the men’s Chinese relay team was met by a standing room only crowd, on its feet for a team crossing the finish line the better part of a half hour out of the medal hunt.


Some of the standout stars of the games were Russian Cross-Country skier Alisa Zhambalova, who swept up four gold medals – pretty much everything that was on offer. Her compatriot Ivan Yakimushkin too, won three gold medals in the men’s Cross-Country events. Korea’s Jiwon Park ruled Short Track Speed Skating with two gold and one bronze, while Austria’s Jessica Gfrerer was the standout Alpine Skier with three golds in the Super-G, Alpine Combined and the parallel nations mixed team event.


Featured for the second time in Winter Universiade history, this mixed team event proved to be a real hit with spectators and sportspersons alike. The competition format plays to the roots of university sports as both the male and female skiers play an equal role in the outcome – teams of two male and two female student-athletes compete together in a knock out format.


With that, she summed up the spirit of the Winter Universiade. In the heart of Siberia, where there was a warmth and respect for a job well done that athletes, spectators, and journalists intimately felt.