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25 December 2020 | in Winter FISU World University Games

Spotlight: Remembering the Torino 2007 Winter Universiade

The story of the Torino 2007 Winter Universiade begins back in 1959 at the very first Universiade.

 

1200px 2007 Winter Universiade logo.svgThe local organising committee of the inaugural Universiade was none other than Primo Nebiolo, who was only 36 years old at the time. It was from those Games in his home town of Torino where Nebiolo would launch his meteoric rise up the ranks of world sport, first becoming FISU President, then IAAF President, and finally IOC Member.

 

The 2007 Winter Universiade, then, were very much a tip of the hat to the man who led the university organisation for almost 40 years until his passing in 1999. So important were these Games to Torino and the memory of the late FISU President that his wife, Giovanna Nebiolo, was the chair of the local organising committee. Her impassioned speech to the FISU Executive Committee ahead of the Universiade in 2002 helped win the bid for the northern Italian city.

 

So with the Universiade coming full circle, it was down to the locals to deliver what would be the city’s third Universiade (after 1959 and 1970) but first its first winter edition. Of course, having hosted the Olympic Winter Games only a year earlier meant that everything was well and truly in place for an excellent event.

 

Everything but mother nature, that is. The ice events all went off without a hitch, but some unseasonably warm weather made things extremely challenging for the organisers of the snow events. It was down to the expertise of the hosts and a little luck from the weather gods that only a few of the events had to be cancelled.

 

 

 

After several postponements due to a lack of snow, all Alpine skiing events except the downhill were able to take place. Czech Filip Trejbal won one gold and two silver medals in the men’s events, while Italian Camilla Alfieri took the women’s combined crown.

 

Another standout was Poland’s Justina Kowalczyk, who claimed three gold and one bronze in cross-country skiing.

 

The snowboarding competition was almost scrapped altogether due to the weather. The organisers had to group all of the events over three days at the end of the Universiade to pull it off.

 

Indoors, Korea’s Sung Si-Bak was the undisputed kind of speedskating, winning five gold medals. Urged on by an adoring local crowd, Italy’s Enrico Fabris showed the world that his two gold medals and one bronze at the Torino Olympic Games were no fluke by adding three new Universiade titles to the three gold and one bronze he won at the 2005 Innsbruck Universiade.