The Universiade is an international comprehensive sports event organized by FISU. It consists of three major competitions, namely the Summer Universiade, the Winter Universiade and the World University Championships.
In the early 1920s, the international university student organization at that time began to plan for the Universiade. In May 1923, the World University Sports Congress was held in Paris. The Congress decided to hold the first International Universities' Games the following year. In 1924, the first International Universities' Games was held in Warsaw, with three events: track and field, swimming and fencing. Since then, the Games had been held from time to time, and a total of eight sessions had been held by 1939. After that, the Game was interrupted by the World War II, and was resumed in 1947. But since 1951, due to the change of international situation, it had been divided into two games, the East and the West. In the West, it was called "International Student Sports Games", and in the East, it was called "Youth Student Sports Games" or "Youth Friendship Games". The two camps organized and held their own university games.
In 1959, the first Universiade was held in Turin, Italy. The 985 athletes from 45 countries attended it. Since then, it had been held every two years. By 1999, the Universiade had been held for 20 sessions.
The competition items officially stipulated in the Universiade include track and field, swimming, diving, water polo, gymnastics, fencing, tennis, basketball and volleyball, but the host country has the right to add another one. For example, Bulgaria, the host country, added wrestling in 1977; Mexico added football in 1979, and Japan added judo in 1985.
In 1960, the Winter Universiade was held in Chamonix, France, borrowing the Olympic system. Initially, the Summer Universiade and the Winter Universiade were held in odd and even years, respectively. Since 1981, they have been held in the same year. By 1999, the Winter Universiade had been held for 19 sessions, including speed skating, short track speed skating, figure skating, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, platform skiing, winter biathlon, ice hockey, Nordic biathlon and snowboarding.
In 1959, China participated in part of the track and field events in the first Universiade. From the second in 1961 to the eighth sessions, China did not send its delegation. In 1975, China was admitted as a full member of FISU. Since the ninth session in 1977, Chinese delegations have participated in all Universiade events so far.
Reactions from Different Countries
As the Universiade is the world's large comprehensive games second only to the Olympics in scale, since the first competition held in 1959, all countries in the world have attached great importance to it and sent their best athletes to participate in the competition. Since the 1960s, 18 world records in track and field and swimming have been broken in all previous Summer Universiades.