Recap: XXVII Summer Universiade in Kazan
Last week, Russia wrapped up the XXVII Summer Universiade in Kazan, the first of several high-profile sporting events to be hosted by the country, and an opportunity for Russia to fine-tune many logistical details that come with running such a monumental event.
At this year’s Universiade, organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), more than 10,000 university athletes from 162 countries participated in the events, making the 2013 games the most expansive to date. Of the thousands of athletes, Russia’s delegation was the largest, and came out of the games with a record 155 gold medals.
“Our team features over 25 Olympic champions, 50 Olympic medalists, over 160 Merited Masters of Sport International Class,” said Ilgiz Fakhriev, Chairman of the Kazan Committee for Physical Culture and Sport.
The 2013 games were not only the biggest, but the broadest: competitions spanned 27 sports, with the list expanding to include belt wrestling, rugby sevens, sambo, synchronized swimming and boxing for the first time. The number of medals awarded jumped to 351 from last year’s 302 in London.
What’s more, this year’s Universiade was the first to be broadcast live in the United States. ESPN provided more than 40 hours of coverage, focusing largely on basketball, water polo, swimming, and volleyball and increasing U.S. interest in the games.
"I am extremely pleased that ESPN will bring the FISU flagship event to the homes of our American student athletes, their family and friends and the sport-loving American audience," said FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien.
Eurosport also offered unprecedented coverage, making the Kazan Universiade the most covered one in history.
"The Universiade events are the breeding ground of future Olympians." said Eurosport's global director of communications, Heather Bowler, before the games. “We are very excited to be involved.”
Aside from the much-anticipated 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russia will continue its “decade of sport” by hosting the World Athletics Championships in Moscow later this summer and the FIFA 2018 World Cup.