2021 Winter Universiade

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Lucerne 2021 Winteruniversiade
Univesiade logo new 2021.png
Welcome Home!
Host cityLucerne-Central Switzerland, Switzerland
Nations participating- approx. 50
Athletes participatingapprox. 1600
Opening ceremony21 January
Closing ceremony31 January
Athlete's Oath-
Judge's Oath-
Torch lighter-
← 2019
2023 →

The Winter Universiade is the largest winter multisport event after the Olympic Games. In 2021 the 30th occasion of this unique event will take place in Central Switzerland. The organisation is a joint project of the six cantons of Central Switzerland Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden and Zug, and the City of Lucerne. The programme from the 21st to the 31st January 2021 comprises ten sporting disciplines, to be contested at seven event venues. Students aged between 17 and 25 from more than 540 universities in 50 countries are expected to attend. A total of over 2500 individuals will take part.[1]

Bidding process[edit]

"Central Switzerland dreams of the Winter Universiade", was the headline in the Neue Luzerner Zeitung on 26 September 2014, after the canton of Lucerne had informed the press of its interest in running for a Winter Universiade in Central Switzerland. The following year and a feasibility study later, the association Winter Universiade Lucerne-Central Switzerland 2021 was founded. After intensive preparatory work and numerous clarifications, the Bid Committee submitted the bid dossier in January 2016.

The result is known: On 5 March 2016, the cantons of Central Switzerland and the city of Lucerne were selected to host the Winter Universiade 2021.


The organisation of the event is a joint project of Central Switzerland’s six cantons (Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Zug) and the city of Lucerne. “The Winter Universiade is further proof of the good cooperation between the six cantons of Central Switzerland”, says Othmar Filliger, Cantonal Councillor of Canton Nidwalden and board member of the Association Winter Universiade Lucerne-Central Switzerland 2021. Only existing infrastructures are being used for the Winter Universiade and all sports facilities are well accessible by public transport.[2]

Venue Sports Venue Dicipline(s)
Andermatt-Realp (UR) Realp Nordic Center Cross-Country Skiing
Engelberg (OW) Sporting Park Curling
Jochpass 2222 Snowboard, Freestyle Skiing
Lenzerheide (GR) Biathlon Arena Lenzerheide Biathlon, Ski Orienteering
Lucerne (LU) Regional Ice Center Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating
Stoos (SZ) Franz-Heinzer-Piste / Maggiweid Alpine Skiing
Sursee (LU) Sursee Ice Center Ice Hockey
Zug (ZG) Bossard Arena Ice Hockey

Organisations Involved[edit]

The successful realisation of the Winter Universiade depends on the interplay of three organisations: the International University Sports Federation FISU, the Association Winter Universiade Lucerne-Central Switzerland 2021 and Swiss University Sports. It was in 1959 that FISU launched the Universiades, now the largest multi-sport event for students. Since then, a total of 29 Winter Universiades and 30 Summer Universiades have already taken place. Unlike the Olympic Games, both Universiades are held in the same year and in a two-year cycle. In March 2016, FISU assigned the 30th winter edition to Central Switzerland with Lucerne as the host city. The six cantons of Central Switzerland and the city of Lucerne founded an association for the purpose of this major project. Government representatives from each of the six cantons and Lucerne’s city council are responsible for strategic decisions under the chairmanship of Guido Graf, Cantonal Councillor Lucerne. The organising committee, directed by the Managing Director Urs Hunkeler, reports directly to this board.

The organising committee works closely with Swiss University Sports. The National University Sports Federation of Switzerland is a member of FISU and is in charge of the selection of Swiss athletes for the multi-sport event. It has set itself the goal of building a strong Swiss team for the upcoming Winter Universiade at home.[3]

University of Lucerne[edit]

The organising committee can count on the generous support of the University of Lucerne and the PH Lucerne. During the Winter Universiade, the University/PH building will be transformed into the hub of the multi-sport event.

In the building you will find the accreditation centre, the information centre for all participants, the canteen as a catering centre for volunteers, the organising committee and other customer groups, the media centre as well as a room for press conferences and the international broadcasting centre.

In addition, the following rooms/facilities in particular are available for use by the delegations: a waxing and storage room for skis and snowboards in alpine snow sports, meeting rooms, individual offices of the delegations.

Moreover, the Uni/PH building will also be the headquarters of the organising committee during the event. The organising committee will be using rooms for the following purposes: offices of the various departments, meeting rooms, main operation centre of the multi-sport event.

Student Projects[edit]

The Winter Universiade offers space for innovative projects, scientific research and creative ideas. Students at Swiss universities can actively get involved in the planning and organisation of the event by submitting student projects. "For us, the involvement of students is key," explains Esther Müller, Director of Academic Liaison, and continues: "This event is a unique opportunity. We want as many students as possible to benefit".

In addition to a study on the suitability of a venue or a bachelor's thesis on how to maintain sponsor satisfaction, the Winter Universiade mascot, for example, was also designed by students. Four aspiring female artists from the Lucerne School of Art and Design have each designed a character. A seven-member jury selected Luisa Zürcher's proposal to be the mascot of the Winter Universiade 2021. The four students volunteered for the student design project and worked on it in their spare time. The decision to take part was easy, as the 23-year-old Luisa Zürcher explains: "What could be more exciting than designing a mascot that you can later hug?" In addition to numerous design tasks, the students support the marketing department, especially in the area of social media.

By the way: interested students can still work on numerous projects and contribute their ideas. The complete overview can be found on the website of the organising committee at winteruniversiade2021.ch/en/universities.

World Conference[edit]

The FISU World Conference on Innovation – Education – Sport will be held during the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade on 25 and 26 January 2021. Under the main topic Challenges and Opportunities in Sport in modern society researchers will focus on three subthemes: Dual career / Digitalization / Women in top-class sport. The conference is located at the building of the University of Lucerne and organized by the University of Lucerne, the Universities of teacher education Lucerne, Zug and Schwyz and the Universities of applied sciences of Lucerne and Grisons.



Whether "Cooly", the mascot of the Ice Hockey World Championships 2009 and 2020, the FC Lucerne mascots "Siegfried & Leu" or "Yodli" at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne 2020 – all mascots have one thing in common: they captivate audiences and have become an integral part of major sporting events. On the occasion of the "One-Year-To-Go" event, the Winter Universiade 2021 has also introduced an event mascot. This fabulous creature was designed by Luisa Zürcher, an animation student at the Lucerne School of Art and Design. The young artist was inspired by Yeti, the mountains of Central Switzerland and its myths, and the carnival, which has deep roots in the traditions of Central Switzerland. Luisa Zürcher has created a character perfectly suited to the Winter Universiade: the fabulous creature has its origins in the myths of Central Switzerland, loves carnival, and lives in the mountains of the region. The curious mascot will travel to Winter Universiade venues to make friends with athletes from all over the world. The sporty mascot will help visitors to the Winter Universiade 2021 feel at home, in keeping with the event motto "Welcome Home".

Luisa Zürcher volunteered for the student design project, and created the mascot in her spare time. The decision to take part was easy, as the 23-year-old explains: "What could be more exciting than designing a mascot that you can later hug?" This moment became reality for Luisa Zürcher at the "One-Year-To-Go" event. Over the next twelve months, the fabulous creature will put a smile on the faces of many more people with a hug.

The Organising Committee of the Winter Universiade 2021 named the mascot ‘Wuli’ in a ceremony held at the IBU Biathlon Youth and Junior World Championships in Lenzerheide. The name is a combination of the initials of "Winter Universiade" with the typical Swiss word ending "-li". It was chosen by the public in an online vote on the social media channels of the Winter Universiade 2021. The naming ceremony was conducted by the Head of Marketing & Sponsoring Fabienne Meyerhans, and Hannes Parpan, President of the local organising committee in Lenzerheide.  


External links[edit]