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24 July 2019 | in FISU Athletes, Summer FISU World University Games, Athletics

An athlete's experience at Napoli 2019: Much more than the medal

Canadian student-athlete Courtney Hufsmith says the Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade left her with much more than the bronze medal to cherish for life. Here’s her Universiade experience, in her own words.

SASKATCHEWAN, Canada – My name is Courtney Hufsmith and I am a 20-year-old Canadian athlete. I compete in middle-distance running, with my primary event being the 1500m race. My experience at the FISU Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy was one that I will never forget. Not only did I achieve my goal of winning a medal on the track, I also had the opportunity to meet other athletes from my own country and from across the world.


The Universiade introduced me to other people who share my interests and passions and these new friends helped me understand that they experience the same setbacks and obstacles as me. Having the chance to hear from so many other athletes really helped me realise that I’m not alone on this path and also that there is more to life outside of track and field.


Something that I had been working on this season was finding a balance between life and sport and leaving the Universiade I felt happier and healthier than I have in a long time. One of the keys to my success at Napoli 2019, which enhanced my overall experience, was embracing the motto, ‘To Be Unique’. The games created a positive environment where being yourself was not only accepted; it was encouraged.


The qualifying rounds and finals of the 1500m took place over the last few days of the Universiade. This was a great advantage as it allowed me time and space to soak in the experience and had me feeling my best when the time came to start racing.


Standing on the starting line in the final of the 1500m, I felt surprisingly calm. Despite the many expectations I had from myself and external factors that could make me nervous, I remained calm because I felt like I had already won.


I knew that no matter what the outcome of the race was, the experience itself was something so positive and productive for myself as an athlete and a person, that I could not lose either way.


Over the two weeks, I gained new friendships, made new memories and embraced the fact that there is life beyond running. I came away from the competition with a bronze medal and a new personal best time, but this was merely a cherry on top of an amazing experience that I will always remember and cherish for life!


Courtney Hufsmith is a student at the Edwards School of Business in University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.