The Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade will not take place from January 21 to 31, 2021 as originally planned.
USPORTS announced their support on August 31 for the decision to postpone the 2021 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Winter Universiade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Citing issues with international travel and competition, USPORTS ultimately deemed the Universiade unsafe to take place in January 2021.
“Canada is fully behind FISU’s tough but necessary announcement to delay the 2021 Winter Universiade,” U SPORTS Chief Sport Officer, Lisette Johnson-Stapley, said., “This was the right decision for the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches and mission staff. We look forward to Canada’s participation in future FISU events.”
The Winter Universiade, also known as the FISU World University Games, is the largest winter multisport event, right behind the Winter Olympic Games, and takes place in the similar fashion as the Olympics, with biannual alternating seasons.
The Winter Universiade was scheduled to take place in Central Switzerland and Lenzerheide in January,2021, with students aged between 17 to 25- from more than 540 universities in 50 countries- expected to attend. A total of over 2500 individuals would normally participate.
“After more than four years of preparation, it is a painful decision, but in the end an easy one,” Guido Graf, President of the Organising Committee and Cantonal Councillor of Lucerne, said. “The health of all the participants has always been the top priority in our evaluations.”
The competition, as well as the unity it fosters between nations, is seen as a deep loss for all parties. “We are deeply sorry for this decision, but we are convinced it is the only right decision in the current situation,” FISU president, Oleg Matytsin, said. “The Winter Universiade is a world sports event. In addition to the sporting competition, the exchange between nations is enormously important to us, as an element that brings people together. The current situation would have made this scenario impossible,” Matytsin said.
All varsity sporting activities were cancelled by USPORTS for the fall term, also due to COVID-19. While USPORTS supports the postponement of the Universiade in the upcoming term, they have not yet announced a decision about whether USPORTS sanctioned activities during winter will be taking place.
U SPORTS remains in touch with FISU and the Lucerne 2021 Local Organizing Committee on the ongoing status of the Winter Games. Whether it will still take place at all, or be cancelled entirely, remains unclear.