September 2023: World University Games Update

Happy First Week of Fall to everyone. It’s that time of year where college and university sports are in full swing across the United States, and there is much news to share in that regard. But first we are going to start with a look back at World University Games history in America.

30th Anniversary of First Summer Games in the U.S.

Thirty years ago, during the summer of 1993 (July 8-18, 1993), the World University Games Summer were hosted for the first and only time thus far in the United States. Buffalo, New York was the host city for the more than 5,100 participants from 117 countries. Opening Ceremonies, with over 80,000 in attendance, were held at Rich Stadium (now Highmark Stadium), home of the NFL Buffalo Bills. Athletes were housed at the University of Buffalo and while the university hosted training and competition facilities, too, venues were spread throughout the greater Buffalo area and even into neighboring Canada. The Erie Community College Burt Flickinger Center, featuring a 3000-seat aquatic center, was built for the Games and continues to serve as a major aquatic competition destination today.

The Buffalo Games included 12 Olympic sports, including Athletics (Track & Field), Baseball, Basketball, Diving, Fencing, Football (Soccer), Gymnastics, Rowing, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, and Water Polo. (Baseball and Rowing were “local option” sports added by the Buffalo Organizing Committee to the other 10 required or mandatory sports.) Over 15,000 volunteers helped stage the Games, and the event was broadcast nationally by ESPN and internationally by Eurosport.

A number of athletes who were to become legends in their respective sports, such as UNC Chapel Hill’s Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly in Soccer, and Charles Barkley and Karl Malone in Basketball, represented the U.S. The USA topped the medal count with 73 medals, including 31 gold, 23 silver, and 19 bronze. Canada was second with 38 medals followed by Japan with 30. The U.S. Men’s Basketball Team captured the gold, the Women’s Soccer Team won Silver, and David Fox of NC State University won Gold in both the 50 and 100-meter freestyles in Swimming. Other North Carolina-connected athletes included both Antonio Lang (Duke) and Donald Williams (UNC Chapel Hill) in Men’s Basketball; and Andy Barkett (NCSU), Pat Clougherty (NCSU), and Bret Wagner (Wake Forest) in Men’s Baseball. The reigning Olympic champions in both Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics competed in Buffalo, and thirty athletes from those Games went on to win medals in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.


News Briefs

International Day of University Sport

One week ago, on Wednesday, September 20, organizations and individuals around the world commemorated the International Day of University Sport. First proposed by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), the international governing body of the World University Games, to the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO), the day was officially proclaimed by UNESCO in 2015 and first celebrated in September of 2016. Since 2016, the day has been recognized annually as one dedicated to emphasizing university sport around the globe. UNESCO encourages university sports stakeholders to share knowledge and awareness of university sports and to stress the importance of sports as key to a healthy lifestyle. Leonz Eder, President of FISU, used the day to emphasize to students the importance of exercising each day “to get stronger, to get more fit, and to have the mind ready for our daily work.”


The Importance of Regional Teamwork

On Thursday, September 21, at Bay 7 in the American Tobacco complex in Durham, the Triangle Business Journal recognized its regional Corporate Leadership Award Winners. In accepting his award, Hill Carrow, who led North Carolina USA’s bid for the World University Games cited the tremendous team effort that involved 5 cities, 5 counties, 13 colleges and universities, 29 individual contributors, 53 corporate sponsors, 57 national and regional supporting organizations, and more than 1000 individuals who came together to successfully land the bid for the Games. In his remarks, Hill emphasized the critical importance of continued teamwork: “You may have seen recently that Cary came in second to Atlanta for the new US Soccer Headquarters. Had Cary used the regional team approach, which we used in beating Atlanta for the USA Baseball Headquarters, now located in Cary, the result may have been different. It is critically important, therefor, to always keep in mind that in order to have the greatest opportunity for success in securing truly once-in-a lifetime, transformative projects for our region and state, we need to all come together as a significant and very powerful team.”


College Game Day Comes to Duke University

Many collegiate sports fans see the arrival of ESPN’s College Game Day on campus as a defining moment in their school’s sports history. While Duke University has hosted College Game Day for its Men’s Basketball Team more than any university in America (12 times), Duke has never hosted College Game Day for its football program. That will change this Saturday, when ESPN College Game Day, hosted by Rece Davis and featuring analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and Pat McAfee, will air from 9am to noon at Duke prior to the Duke-Notre Dame football game scheduled to kick off later that day at 7:30pm. This marks the third time that ESPN’s College Game Day for football has been in the Triangle, with a 1997 November appearance at UNC Chapel Hill and a 2004 October appearance at NC State.


Top Tennis Collegians Compete in Cary

Beginning this Saturday, September 30, and continuing through Sunday, October 8, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the governing body for men’s and women’s varsity tennis at all collegiate levels, brings its ITA Women’s All-American Championships to Cary Tennis Park, a 2029 World University Games venue. The Championships will feature the top Women’s NCAA Division I players in the country and is being hosted by the Town of Cary, a 2029 World University Games Host City, and our three largest local D-I universities: Duke, NC State, and UNC Chapel Hill. Considering that UNC Chapel Hill and NC State finished 1-2 in the nation respectively during the NCAA Tennis Championships earlier this year, it promises to be a highly competitive and exciting event. Pre-qualifying matches take place this Saturday and Sunday, followed by two days of qualifying matches. Matches of the main draw, 32 singles and 32 doubles, begin on Wednesday, October 4 and run through Sunday the 8th.


Owner of First NC USA Bid Sponsor Celebrated

The first person to commit their company to be a sponsor of the North Carolina USA Bid for the World University Games was Anthony Blackman, owner of Atlantic Tire and Service. Unfortunately, Anthony passed away on September 15. On Thursday, September 21 a Celebration of Life for Anthony was held to an overflow crowd at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. Anthony was a well-respected business leader and an amazingly kind and giving individual, but what set him apart was his deep and very generous commitment to the community – including business, charity, and even sports (such as the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships). He was an incredible person and wonderful sponsor. The 2029 World University Games owes Anthony a special debt of gratitude, and he will be sorely missed.


Don’t Forget to Shop Local and Support the WUG

It’s been 90 days since our new online store opened with 2029 FISU World University Games t’s, polos, hoodies, tanks, caps, and more. Items come in a wide variety of colors, and the store has proven to be quite a popular online shopping destination since it went live May 31. Don’t miss your opportunity to show your support of the 2029 FISU World University Games and snag some excellent quality, name-brand clothing and caps to boot!

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