World University Games (Universiade)

World University Games, also known as Universiade, were first held in conjunction with the Congress of the International Students' Federation (CIE) in Warsaw, Poland, in 1924. They were the brainchild of Frenchman Jean Petitjean and attracted some 60 students, mainly from Great Britain, Poland and France. Between 1927 and 1939 the Games were held in various European locations: Rome (1927), Paris (1928), Darmstadt, Germany (1930), Turin, Italy (1933), Budapest (1935), Paris (1937) and Monte Carlo (1939). After 1928 the Games began to attract many Olympic competitors and champions. The 1933 Games in Turin had manifest political overtones - the host country's victory seemingly reflecting the strength of its fascist government - and pushed the Games to the forefront of the athletic world. By 1937 some 26 nations were represented by over 1500 athletes contending for honours in 12 sports.

The CIE organized postwar Games in Paris (1947) and Budapest (1949) before the International University Sports Federation (FISU), founded in 1948, took over. The Games have since been held in Luxembourg (1951); Dortmund, West Germany (1953); San Sebastian, Spain (1955); Paris (1957); Turin, Italy (1959); Sofia, Bulgaria (1961); Port Allegre, Brazil (1963); Budapest (1965); Tokyo (1967); Moscow (1973); Sofia (1977); Mexico City (1979); Bucharest, Romania (1981); Edmonton, Alta (1983); Kobe, Japan (1985); Zagreb, Yugoslavia (1987); Duisburg, West Germany (1989); Sheffield, England (1991); Buffalo, NY (1993); Fukuoka, Japan (1995); Sicily, Italy (1997); Palma de Mallorca, Spain (1999); Beijing (2001), Daegu, South Korea (2003); and Izmir, Turkey (2005). They will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2007. Since the 1950s, the Games have attracted world-class competitors such as the Press sisters (USSR), Harry Jerome (Canada), David Hemery (Great Britain), Tommie Smith (US) and Alberto Juantorena (Cuba), and have become second only in prestige and importance to the Olympic Games.

The games have been held only once in Canada, at Edmonton, Alberta in 1983. At the Edmonton Games, over 3500 athletes from 74 countries competed in 10 sports, the primary focus being track and field, swimming and basketball.