January 2023: 2029 World University Games to be Held in North Carolina USA

Welcome to our first update after North Carolina USA was awarded the 2029 FISU World University Games! It is exciting to be reporting, for the first time ever, from the vantage point of an Organizing Committee, rather than a Bid Committee.

The Granting of the 2029 FISU Games

Leonz Eder, Hill Carrow, Dan Guerrero and Eric Saintrond display the contract for the 2029 FISU World University Games
Leonz Eder, Hill Carrow, Dan Guerrero and Eric Saintrond display the contract for the 2029 FISU World University Games

On Monday, January 9, 2023, an Official Delegation representing North Carolina traveled to Albany, the capital city of New York State, where they would overnight in preparation for a 2.5 hour road trip the next morning to Lake Placid, NY, host of the 2023 Winter World University Games. There were no accommodations available in the Greater Lake Placid region due to the Games; thus the reason for staging Team North Carolina in the Albany area.

The next day, approximately two-thirds of the way to Lake Placid, accumulations of snow and ice began to appear on the roadsides, a clear sign the NC USA Team was approaching the New York Adirondack region, a globally-renowned hub of winter sports. The delegation arrived at the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid Hotel, Headquarters Hotel for the Winter World University Games. The Crowne Plaza was also the Games headquarters for the International University Sports Federation (FISU), the international governing body for the Games. On that day, FISU was holding an all-day meeting of its Executive Committee at the hotel, conducting organizational business prior to the formal start of the FISU Winter Games two days later on January 12.

The NC Delegation members registered at the FISU Welcome Desk, had lunch at the hotel, and then proceeded to prepare for their big moment in front of the FISU Executive Committee. FISU had invited North Carolina Team Leaders to come to Lake Placid to update their Executive Committee members on the status of North Carolina’s bid and continuing interest in hosting the World University Games. With North Carolina’s excellent technical scores from its two FISU Site Visits, combined with the fact that North Carolina’s bid featured existing world-class venues on university campuses with no new construction required, FISU CEO, Eric Saintrond, had indicated publicly that FISU wanted to find a way for North Carolina to host a future Games. Here was that chance: after hearing from Team North Carolina, FISU’s Executive Committee was willing to consider the possibility of awarding North Carolina USA the 2029 FISU World University Games!

Approximately 3:30pm that afternoon, the NC Delegation members were invited into the FISU Meeting Room. North Carolina’s presentation was led by Hill Carrow, Chairman & CEO of the North Carolina Bid Committee. Joining him in making the presentation were Elaine Marshall, North Carolina Secretary of State; Brian Ralph, President of William Peace University; Brenda Howerton, Chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners; and Dan Guerrero, President of the U.S. International University Sports Federation (USIUSF), the U.S. member of FISU. With the actual music clip playing, Carrow concluded the presentation by suggesting that the immortal lyrics by the Rolling Stones best expressed the sentiments of Team North Carolina in pursuing the 2029 World University Games after missing out on the 2027 FISU Games:

“You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes, you might find
You get what you need.”

The presentation and some limited Q & A took about 30 minutes, and then the NC Team was asked to leave the room, while the FISU Executive Board deliberated. When the North Carolina Delegation was called back into the meeting room, there was a great deal of hopeful apprehension. The President of FISU, Leonz Eder, addressed the Executive Committee members and their North Carolina guests: “There are 21 voting members of the FISU Executive Committee present, and by a unanimous vote of all 21 members, the 2029 FISU World University Games are hereby attributed to North Carolina USA!”

This thrilling announcement was followed immediately by lots of applause, back-slapping, hugging, hand-shaking, and overall tremendous excitement and enthusiasm throughout the room. FISU then asked Dan Guerrero and Hill Carrow to come forward and join Eric Saintrond and Leonz Eder in the Official Contract Signing Ceremony – thus sealing the deal with North Carolina USA as the official 2029 host of the Games! Photo ops, live interviews, and even Zoom interviews with media in North Carolina continued long after.

The North Carolina USA Delegation

The North Carolina USA Delegation at the Lake Placid Winter World University Games
The North Carolina USA Delegation at the Lake Placid Winter World University Games

In addition to the presenters during the FISU Executive Committee Meeting, the North Carolina USA Delegation in Lake Placid included Richard Beard, President & CEO of the Greensboro Sports Foundation; Dragomir Cioroslan, Director of International Strategies and Development for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee; and Wendy Coulter, CEO, and Morgan Gustafson, Associate Graphic Designer, both of Hummingbird Creative Group, a major sponsor of NC’s World University Games bid. In addition, there were several members of the NC Bid Committee Leadership Team including Monte Brown, Vice President of Administration for Duke Health and Co-Chair of the Bid Committee’s Medical Services Committee; Stan Campbell, retired international university fundraising executive;  Chuck Lovelace, retired Executive Director of the Morehead-Cain Foundation at UNC Chapel Hill and a NC Bid Committee Fundraising Committee leader, Michael Lowder, retired executive director of Artsplosure and Chair of the NCBC Cultural Program Committee; and Shannon Mizell, Vice President of Operations at Broadcast Solutions International.

The delegation wrapped up its momentous trip to the Adirondacks by gathering for a celebratory dinner at the historic Stagecoach Inn, an iconic boutique hotel that provided an intimate setting, great food, and wonderful camaraderie to put an appropriate positive wrap on an outstanding day. To cap it all off, Olympic Figure Skating Silver Medalist, Paul Wylie, long-time resident of Charlotte (but now residing in Lake Placid to help manage the Games venues and events) and his wife Kate, joined the celebration and helped Team NC toast the major victory that will see the world’s largest event for student athletes, which is also the planet’s second largest global Olympic multi-sport event, held in the heart of North Carolina, in the state’s central region, also known as North Carolina’s University Hub, in July of 2029!

Support the Games

You can support the Games in a number of ways: corporate contribution, individual contribution, or volunteering. We encourage you to visit our website at www.ncusa2029wug.com and join our team.

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