All roads point to China and the United States this year in preparations for the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games this summer and the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games next winter.

FISU kicked off this year with fire and tradition by holding its Flame Relay and flag handover ceremonies in Turin, Italy, on Monday 17 January. Exceptionally, both ceremonies took place at the same time in the historic courtyard of the Torino University.

“It is with great enthusiasm that we start of the new year with such a meaningful event. Every time I see another host city carry the FISU flag and the FISU flame back to their respective new homes, it brings me joy to know that the tradition is being carried on with pride and new ambition from one generation to the next,” said FISU Acting President Leonz Eder.

Leonz Eder, FISU Acting President, Eric Saintrond, FISU Secretary General/CEO,  the Rector of Torino University, Guido Saracco, the Rector of Polytechnic University, Stefano Geuna, the Rector of Torino University, Stefano Lo Russo, Mayor of Turin, Maria Grazia Grippo, President of the Turin City Council, Fabrizio Ricca, Piedmont Councillor of Sport, Riccardo D’Elicio, the CUS Torino President and Lorenzo Lentini, the CUSI representative, Alessandro Ciro Sciretti, President of the Organising Committee (OC) of the Turin 2025 FISU Games and President of EDISU Piedmont, along with representatives of the Lucerne 2021 and Lake Placid 2023 OCs, students and volunteers were all present for the ceremony.

The ceremony consisted exceptionally of two main events: The Flame Relay, which is now on its way to Chengdu, China, for the next summer edition of the FISU World University Games on 26 June – 7 July 2022, and the flag handover from Lucerne 2021 to the Lake Placid 2023 OC, the next hosts of the winter edition of the FISU Games on 12-22 January 2023.

“The flame symbolises brightness and dreams. It enlightens the world with equity, unity and friendship, illuminates the FISU Games with progress and prosperity, and acts as a beacon to inspire university students worldwide to come together, grow together and create a mutually beneficial future together,” said Fengchao Wang, Mayor of Chengdu, Vice President of the Chengdu 2021 FISU Games OC, and President of the Chengdu 2021 Executive Committee, during his on-line speech addressed to the whole student community.  “While Covid-19 is still surging, I believe the FISU Games flame could bring confidence, warmth and hope back to us.”

Monday was also marked by the official handover of the FISU flag from the Lucerne 2021 OC to Lake Placid 2023, who will be bringing the flag back to USA and celebrate their FISU Flag Raising Ceremony on 22 January.

The Lucerne 2021 OC was represented by Mr. Andreas Barraud, Government Council of canton Schwyz and member of OC Board of Directors, Mr. Beat Hensler, member of OC Management Board and Mr. Urs Hunkeler, Managing Director of Lucerne OC, who were all on-site to witness the passing of the FISU flag to the next FISU Games Winter organisers.

Receiving the flag from Lucerne 2021 and representing the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games OC on-site were Ms. Ashely Walden, Executive Director, Chris Carroll Managing Director of Marketing, and Ms. Kim Beach, Operations Coordinator.

“It has been nearly 50 years since the FISU flag has been flown in Lake Placid. We are honoured to have the opportunity to travel to Torino to receive the flag from Lucerne and look forward to displaying it once again in Lake Placid as we count down the days to the opening ceremony,” said Ashley Walden, Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games OC Executive Director.

In a separate message to FISU, Village of Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin added: “When Lake Placid was awarded the FISU World University Games in March of 2018, the town became a beehive of activity. Our Olympic sites have undergone total revitalisation. By the time the FISU World University Games come to Lake Placid, all of our venues will be world-class and will benefit Lake Placid for many years to come. The FISU Games will leave a legacy behind in the improvements they will bring to Lake Placid area. On January 12, 2023, Lake Placid will be ready and proud to once again welcome the world.”

For the first time, Wuli and Adirondack Mac – the mascots of Lucerne 2021 and Lake Placid 2023 respectively – were united on stage to witness the handing over of the responsibility of the FISU flag from one organiser to the next.

FISU Acting President Leonz Eder concluded: “After a successful Heads of Delegations Meeting in Lucerne at the beginning of September, followed by a wonderful starting ceremony for the water relay here in Torino that same month, everybody was prepared and looking forward to the Winter Universiade in Central Switzerland. With high expectations and joy in mind, we then sent Wuli on his journey from Torino and throughout Switzerland, reaching around 15 Universities, promoting FISU, our Games and the dual career. Unfortunately, as we all know, this great story didn’t find a happy end. I would like to thank all the persons and institutions for their strong involvement and unique contribution to this project. The journey goes on, not only with many legacy projects in Switzerland but also with the FISU Games. Therefor I wish the Lake Placid OC all the best in the final preparations for the 2023 FISU World University Games Winter. May good luck be your and our loyal partner.