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A looking glass into the history of event mascots at our sports events 


Going by the name 'Copico,' the first official FISU event mascot appeared during the Jaca 1981 Winter Universiade. A little cartoon character on skis, Copico derives from the word "copa de nieve," or Spanish for snowflake. Since then, FISU has had a long and rich history of delightful mascots.


The word 'mascot' comes from the French term 'mascotte' meaning lucky charm. The word was first recorded in 1867 and popularised by the opera 'La Mascotte', performed in December 1880. It then entered the English language in 1881. In the days of old, the word mascot was associated with inanimate objects such as a lock of hair or the figurehead on a sailing ship. But from the start of the 19th century and up to the present, the term is most often linked to a good luck character or animal.


At first, sports organisations started to use animals as mascots to provide extra entertainment for spectators. They brought live animals to the games, usually predators that were symbolically meant to strike fear in the hearts of the opponent. The transformation of mascots from live animals to 3D fantasy creatures was brought about by the invention of the Muppets in the late 1960s. These larger-than-life puppets presented a new utility: they were cute and touchable. Corporate companies realised that mascots could also offer great potential outside sports fields. Mascots are now considered a 'must-have' marketing and public relations tool. It is now a collectors' item, sold often as a much sought-after soft toy.

FISU World University Games Mascots 

The World University Games have, over the years, had a variety of animals, birds and other creatures and characters as their mascots. Below, check out the mascots down the years in Summer and Winter World University Games and pick your favourite!