April 2021 NC World University Games Bid News Update

April 30, 2021

Welcome back to our monthly news update on North Carolina’s Bid for the 2027 Summer World University Games. If you are receiving this news update for the first time, it may be because you recently participated in a presentation about, or a meeting on, the bid project, or you might have previously attended or competed in sports events hosted in North Carolina involving one or more of the 19 sports of the World University Games. If you are a first-timer, hopefully you’ll stick with us through the international phase of the bid process, currently projected to conclude approximately one year from now, but if not, there is an easy unsubscribe at the bottom of the page.

 Chengdu 2021 Summer World University Games Postponed 

As we hinted in our March News Update might happen, the International University Sports Federation (FISU), rightsholder of the World University Games, in a joint decision with the Local Organizing Committee of the 2021 Summer Games scheduled for August in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, announced on April 1 that the Games will be postponed until 2022. FISU cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation combined with international travel restrictions. FISU also made reference to the many university athletes worldwide who have had their training halted or seriously interrupted by the Covid crisis. Dates for the Games next year have not yet been finalized but are expected to be announced sometime next month. Similar to this year’s Summer Olympic Games that will still be called the 2020 Olympic Games, the 2021 Summer World University Games will retain that name even next year in 2022. Meanwhile, this year’s Winter World University Games remain on schedule to take place Saturday, December 11 to Tuesday, December 21, 2021 in Lucerne, Switzerland. 

Passing the Torch from One WUG Veteran to Another 

While some thought it might be a joke coming as it did on April Fool’s Day, iconic UNC Men’s Basketball Coach Roy Williams was not kidding when he announced his retirement after 18 years at the helm at Carolina and a total of 33 years in NCAA Division I Basketball. During Coach Roy’s tenure at UNC he won 3 NCAA Championships, 3 ACC Tournament Championships, and 9 ACC Regular Season Championships. Despite this highly impressive record, from our perspective one of Coach Williams’ standout achievements was serving as Assistant Coach of the USA’s Men’s Basketball Team at the 1991 World University Games in Sheffield, England, where he helped coach Team USA to a Gold Medal finish.  Fortuitously, one of the star players on that 1991 USA team was a young athlete from UNC, by the name of Hubert Davis (Coach Williams was coaching the Kansas Jayhawks during that year). Looking back, it might be perceived as predestined that with his 1991 WUG Gold Medal in hand, Davis was now clearly on a trajectory to finish his collegiate career as a Carolina standout, followed by equal success in the NBA, then professional commentating on ESPN, and finally succeeding legendary Roy Williams as Men’s Basketball Head Coach at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. While we like to point to the sport, cultural, economic, community, and global impacts of the World University Games, one could argue that based on the Williams – Davis transition, personal connections made at the World University Games just might hold the potential for the most life-changing impacts of all.

Sports of the Games

There are currently 15 sports required to be held in the Summer World University Games. Those required sports are Archery, Artistic Gymnastics, Badminton, Basketball, Diving, Fencing, Judo, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Water Polo. This lineup includes a number of more high-profile sports that you would typically expect to see in an Olympic sports event, such as Basketball, Diving, Gymnastics, Swimming, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Tennis, but actually every one of the required Summer WUG sports is an Olympic sport that will be contested in this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.  In addition to those 15, the Local Host can recommend up to 3 additional sports for the Games. Our North Carolina Bid Committee is proposing Baseball, Rugby 7s, Soccer, and Softball. While this has the appearance that we exceeded the limit of 3, in reality Baseball and Softball are under the same international governing body, so we are counting on getting “two-for-the-price-of-one” with our recommendation of their inclusion in the Games. Of course, with the National Governing Body of Baseball, USA Baseball, headquartered right here in the Triangle, this was an easy choice. Soccer, given our outstanding array of soccer venues across the region, our excellent championship record of collegiate soccer, our two local professional teams, and the largest youth soccer program in the country, was also a natural. Rugby 7s was selected because it is one of the fastest growing Olympic sports in the world, and the Triangle Sports Commission has completely outfitted three fields, including the stadium field, at WakeMed Soccer Park.

News Brief

  • Recent WUG Bid presentations have been made to the Durham Sports Commission Advisory Committee; the Cary Sports Alliance, a committee of the Cary Chamber of Commerce; and the NCSU Sports Finance Class of Professor Mike Edwards of the NC State University Sports Administration Program. 
  • Newest sponsors of the North Carolina Bid Committee include Martin Marietta and Wasserman. The Committee is also receiving special support from the Cary Chamber of Commerce. 

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