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FISU is the only worldwide student sports organization

Founded within universities, FISU promotes sporting values and encourages top performances in international competitions in harmony with and complementary to the values of higher education

In the early 19th century, competitive sport takes its first steps. Guided by one of its precursors and the father of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, inter-university meets are held.


The United States leads the emergence of university sports associations. England, Switzerland, Hungary and France quickly follow suit.


In the spring of 1923, Paris hosts the first “World Student Games”, a precursor to today’s Universiade.


Following the success of the inaugural World Student Games the previous year, the International Confederation of Students (ICS) associates itself with the university sports movement.


The first Winter International University Games take place in the Italian mountain town of Cortina d’Ampezzo.


Before the Second World War interrupts these Games, successful editions are held in Prague in 1925, Rome 1927, Paris 1928, Darmstadt 1930, Turin 1933, Budapest 1935, Paris 1937 and Monaco 1939.


The shadow of the cold war soon divides university sport: In 1946, the International Students Union (ISU) was created in Prague to pursue the works of the World University Games. These Games took place in 1947.


When peace is restored after Second World War, the ICS, precursor to FISU, re-launches the International University Games in Paris.


Increasing politicization within the university sports movements leads Paul Schleimer of Luxembourg to launch the International University Sports Federation (FISU). Paul and his team bring student-athletes together to compete from the Eastern and Western blocks of Europe.


Founding of FISU. With the desire to organize a universal sports event for students from all over the world could compete in, FISU launches the International University Sport Weeks in 1949 in Merano, Italy.


FISU follows the success of the original International University Sport Weeks event with editions in: Luxembourg 1951, Dortmund 1953, and San Sebastian 1955.


A crucial turning point in the history of world university sport and FISU as FISU and ISU agree to participate in the Games organized in Turin, Italy. Led by the vision of Dr. Primo Nebiolo to turn university sports back to an international, inclusive environment.


The Italian event left even more of a legacy, baptizing the 1959 competition the ‘Universiade.’ Organisers created the flag with the ‘U’ surrounded by stars that’s still in use today. The single university sports movement was launched with FISU was chosen as its international representative. From here, FISU organizes its events on a global scale.


The French valley of Chamonix hosts the first Winter Universiade.


The second Summer Universiade is held in Sofia, Bulgaria. For the first time since the Second World War such an important event is held in a country of the Eastern Bloc. The sport level was particularly high, with two new world records set in athletics.


IOC officially recognises FISU as an International Federation. FISU is responsible for overseeing events and the integrity of all University Sports on the international level. All of FISU’s statutes, practices and activities conform with the Olympic Charter.


For the first time ever, an international multisport event is held in South America as Porto Alegre, Brazil hosts the 3rd Summer Universiade.


The first World University Championships are held in Lund, Sweden with the sport of handball. These events go on to become a major asset in the FISU sports portfolio, with more than 300 Championships being stages to date in 40 different sports.


Tokyo hosts the first Asian Universiade, taking advantage of the same facilities used at the 1964 Olympics. In the pool, the American swimming team topped nine world records, the high-water mark for Universiade sporting excellence.


For the first time in Winter Universiade history, the FISU flag left European soil for the American resort town of Lake Placid. With the country’s commitment to student-athletes, the Universiade was a success in the United States and set up Lake Placid to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1980.


Pietro Mennea becomes a Universiade Legend by winning double athletics sprint gold on home soil in Rome. Nicknamed the Freccia del Sud (“Arrow of the South”), Mennea goes on to win five Universiade gold medals in addition to four Olympic medals.


Leading the way in clean sport and integrity, the Winter Universiade in Spindleruv Mlyn of then-Czechoslovakia carried out anti-doping checks for the first time. All checks came back negative.


The first Summer Universiade in North America is staged in Mexico City, Mexico. The Italian sprinter Pietro Mennea also left a lasting impression at this Universiade with an inspired performance in the 200 metres, setting a world record of 19.72. Mennea’s record would stand for 17 years, the second-longest mark ever in men’s athletics. After sport, Mennea went on to a distinguished career as a lawyer, member of Parliament and advocate for clean sport.


Football makes its entrance into the compulsory sports programme at the Kobe Universiade in Japan. The great surprise of the Universiade came on the men’s football pitch when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea took the final over Uruguay.


For the 15th edition of the Winter Universiade, Asia would welcome the games for the first time. In Sapporo, the cross-country skiing events saw for the first-time athletes from Greece and Mongolia competing, countries not traditionally associated with winter sports.


The Beijing Summer Universiade sets a then record, with 6,757 participants from more than 165 countries competing.


Daegu, Republic of Korea is the Universiade standard-bearer when it comes to getting the world to come to compete with 174 countries and 6,643 athletes participating.


The Kazan Summer Universiade goes down as one of the most epic. No fewer than 11,759 participants from 159 countries were involved in 27 sports over 350 competitions.


The first World University League is launched in 3x3 Basketball as FISU and FIBA team up to promote the sport on campuses worldwide. Today, 3x3 is the number one urban team sport in the world.


Taipei City, the capital city of Chinese Taipei, hosts the 29th Summer Universiade. In the last two years, over 20,000 students take participate in FISU events.


The 2018 World University Championship programme is the most ambitious yet, with 35 sports on tap to crown the victors of university sport. Six of these sports are brand new to FISU’s championship calendar.


FISU launches the University Football World Cup, with 10 continental qualifying tournaments leading to the 2019 finals in JinJiang, China where the 24 best men’s and women’s university teams will compete for the University Football World Cup title.


The 29th Winter Universiade returns to Russia, this time to the city of Krasnoyarsk. The southern Italian city of Naples stages the 30th edition of the Summer Universiade. Naples marks the eighth time an Italian city has hosted either a Summer or Winter Universiade.


#WelcomeHome as the Winter Universiade heads back to the Swiss Alps for the first time since Villars 1962 as Lucerne hosts the 30th edition. The bustling metropolis and university-centered city of Chengdu, China (home of the panda bear!) is set to host the 31st Summer Universiade.


The FISU Flame makes its return to North American soil for the first time since 1993 as Lake Placid hosts the 31st Winter Universiade. This northern New York town makes history as the first winter host returned to. The 32nd Summer Universiade, meanwhile, will be held in Ekaterinburg, Russia.