16 FISU Page Banners University Sport News  main

  1. News
  2. /
  3. Winter FISU World University Games
  4. /
  5. Spotlight: Remembering the Muju-Chonju 1997 Winter Universiade
Navigation :

09 October 2020 | in Winter FISU World University Games

Spotlight: Remembering the Muju-Chonju 1997 Winter Universiade

WU 97 skijump

The 18th Winter Universiade was the fifth FISU World University Games held in Asia but only the first held outside of Japan, and the South Korean hosts would more than live up to expectations.

 

WU 97 biathlonMuch like the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang held two decades later, the 1997 Winter Universiade was hosted by two separate cities, one for the snow events (Muju) and one for the ice competitions (Chonju).

 

Some 1,408 athletes and officials from 48 countries converged in Muju-Chonju and were covered by a record 1,203 journalists from 125 newspapers and agencies.

 

The athletes were in top shape, judging by the number of records broken, in particular in speed skating, where no fewer than 15 Universiade records fell.

 

Japan, which was a year out from hosting the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998, reached the podium more than any other nation, taking home 9 gold, 9 silver and 7 bronze medals. But it was Slovenia that put in the most surprising performance, bursting onto the scene with 7 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals, good enough for fourth overall behind Japan, Russia and China.

 

WU 97 alpine

All 14 of Slovenia’s medals came in alpine skiing. In fact, Slovenian athletes medalled in all but one alpine ski event (nine out of 10 competitions) at Muju-Chonju. The only event they missed out on was the women’s slalom, where they finished 4th and 5th.

 

WU 97 performanceIn their downtime, the athletes did everything from consult local fortune tellers to, of course, study. And eat. A lot.

 

Thirty-four cooks prepared meals for 1,200 people per day. A quarter ton of beef was prepared daily, while over the course of the Universiade 73,000 bottles of water, 24,000 cans of coke, 166,000 cups of coffee and 27,000 cans of beer were consumed.

 

The Americans in particular were prone to hitting the books after competing. Six alpine skiers from the University of Colorado annexed a room in the Athletes’ Village for just that purpose, and they were able to prove that it is possible to balance the books and the ski boots. “My goal was to study every day at the Universiade,” said Kate Davenport, who finished in the top five four times in Muju-Chonju (winning bronze in the women’s downhill). “We take our studies very seriously. In my university, the ski team has the best marks of all the sports on campus. And we want to keep it that way.”

WU 97 ceremonyThe closing ceremony to the Muju-Chongju Universiade edition brought a fitting end to the first time this event was held outside of Japan in Asia