Every edition of the Universiade gives athletes a chance to etch their names in the history books. While all those who qualify and enter the Universiade competition arena are champions in their own right, some athletes dazzle on the stage, producing moments that stand the test of time.
Some Universiade Legends announce their arrival to the world’s sporting stage while at the Universiade. Other Legends go on from their university athletic career to attain their storied status, while a few sport icons put a capstone on their careers with dominating Universiade performances.
These are the stories of the Universiade Legends. Check back here from time-to-time. With over eight decades of Universiades to draw on, we have many stories to tell so we will be regularly updating this section.
Wayde van Niekerk
2013 Universiade, Kazan: 400 metres semi-finalist; 4x400 metres gold medallist.
The Summer Universiade of 2013, in Kazan, was where Wayde van Niekerk won the first significant international medal of his stellar athletics career.
Within three years of taking gold in the men's 4x400 metres at the Central Stadium, he was the Olympic champion and world record holder.
The South African made his international debut in 2010, when he finished fourth in the 200m at the World Junior Athletics Championships.
Van Niekerk's performance caught the attention of a remarkable veteran South African coach - Anna Botha, popularly known as Tannie "Auntie" Ans - and they started working together in 2012.
The following year he began to experiment with one-lap running, but it was not until 2013 that he took up the 400m seriously at Botha's suggestion, in order to improve his endurance and help him recover from persistent hamstring injuries.
By the time he entered the Universiade in Russia he had lowered his personal best to 45.09sec in chasing home the 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada in the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting.
But clocking 46.39 in the semi-finals saw him miss out by one place on the final eventually won by home athlete Vladimir Krasnov in 45.49.
In 2014, Van Niekerk chased home James to take silver in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 400m final, and the following year he made his global breakthrough, winning the world title in Beijing in an African record of 43.48, beating the 2008 Olympic champion, LaShawn Merritt, into second place.
The following year at the Rio 2016 Games he produced one of the great Olympic athletics performances of all time as he won 400m gold from the outside lane in a world record of 43.08, beating the mark of 43.18 set by Michael Johnson of the United States in winning the 1999 world title.
At the 2017 World Championships in London, Van Niekerk successfully defended his 400m title, clocking 43.98, and he narrowly missed a double two days later after taking 200m silver in 20.11.
But on October 31, 2017, the all-conquering South African suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury while playing rugby and it was not until September 15 of 2020 that he made his return to racing outside his homeland, having won a university 100m race on grass in Bloemfontein in February.
A planned comeback in Italy in August was called off when he tested positive for coronavirus, but in September he made an emotional return as he won the 400m at the Gala dei Castelli meeting in Switzerland in 45.58.
How fast will he be if and when he gets to defend his Olympic title in Tokyo? No-one knows, but Botha, who is due to turn 80 in 2021, is back guiding his fortunes.
"She's an amazing woman," said Van Niekerk after his Rio 2016 win. "She's played a huge role in what I am today."
2001 Summer Universiade, Beijing: Silver in men's basketball.
At 7ft 6in, Yao Ming had a head start over many other mortals in seeking a high level basketball career – and he certainly capitalised on it as he became one of the leading performers in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for Houston Rockets, as well as winning numerous honours for China.
The only child of two professional basketball players – 6ft 7in father Yao Zhiyuan and 6ft 3in mother Fang Fendgi – Yao began playing the sport at the age of nine and by the time he was 17 he was playing for the senior Shanghai Sharks team.
After five seasons of increasingly impressive performances, Yao was persuaded to enter the 2002 NBA draft, joining the Rockets, with whom he would remain until his enforced retirement through injury in 2011.
While his stock in the game was growing, the center had already earned honours for his country, earning gold medals at the Asian Championships in 1999 and 2001. He would go on to add two further golds in this arena in 2003 and 2005, as well as helping China to silver at the 2002 Asian Games.
In 2001 he made his mark for his country at the Summer Universiade in Beijing, where China took the silver medal behind Yugoslavia.
A year before he had made his Olympic debut for China at the Sydney Games, and three years later he was the Chinese flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony for the Athens Games, where he was in the team that qualified for the quarter-finals, losing 95-75 to Lithuania.
Four years later he played again for his country at his home Olympics in Beijing, where once again they were defeated by Lithuania in the quarter-finals.
In 2003, Yao became the first rookie to start an NBA All-Star Game since 1995, and he finished the season as runner-up in the Rookie of the Year competition. He would take part in the next two All-Star Games as well, breaking Michael Jordan's record for the most All-Star votes in 2005 with a total of 2,558,278.
In 2005 the Rockets made the NBA play-offs for the second consecutive year.
For the next six years Yao's level of performance would be undermined by persistent injuries, culminating in a third fracture to his left foot which prompted him to retire in 2011.
2005 Winter Universiade, Innsbruck: Short track speed skating: 1500 metres gold; 3000m gold; 5,000m relay gold; 1000m bronze.
Spectators at the Eissschnellaufbahn in Innsbruck could hardly have been surprised by the short track speed skating performance of Ahn Hyun-soo at the 2005 Winter Universiade – but it was spectacular nevertheless.
Aged just 19, the South Korean was already an Olympian and ten times a world gold medallist.
His racing at the Universiade only confirmed the astonishing trajectory upon which he was launched, as he took gold medals in the 1500 metres, 3000m and 5,000m relay, as well as adding a bronze in the 1000m.
Four months later he had improved his world gold total to 12 having won the 1500m and overall title in Beijing, where he also won silver in the 1000m, 3000m and 5,000m relay.
At the following year's Winter Olympics in Turin, Ahn produced his finest performance in South Korea's colours as he won 1000m, 1500m and 5,000m relay gold, as well as bronze in the 500m.
Shortly after these Games he competed at the World Championships in Minneapolis, where once again he won overall gold and individual titles in the 1000m and 1500m.
Upon returning to South Korea, however, he became involved in a row with the national skating federation, with his father claiming the men's coach did not associate with him and that attempts had been made to try and prevent his son claiming the overall title.
The row was patched up in time for Ahn to contest the following year's World Championships in Milan, where he won his sixth overall title and golds in the 1000m and 5,000m relay.
The following year he fractured his knee during training, and he failed to make the 2009 World Championships.
Having missed out on two World Cup seasons, Ahn needed to finish in the top three at the trials for the 2010 Winter Games, and failed to qualify after finishing seventh.
The following year he became a Russian citizen and began competing for his new country. There was a predictable uproar in his native country, but the ire was directed at the skating federation rather than at him.
At the 2014 Sochi Winter Games Ahn – who had now taken on the name of Viktor Ahn – delivered in gold on the Russian investment, winning the 500m and the 1000m and contributing to victory in the 5000m relay, as well as earning bronze in the 1500m.
He thus became the first short track skater to win gold in all four Olympic events, and also became the skater with most Olympic golds – six in all. He drew level with Apolo Ohno of the United States as holder of the most Olympic short track medals – eight in total.
After winning his golds in Sochi, Ahn explained his reasons for joining the Russian team, saying: "I wanted to train in the best possible environment and I proved my decision was not wrong."
He went on to add two more gold medals to the Russian account at that year's World Championships in Montreal, winning the 1000m and his seventh overall title.
Despite a part-move into coaching, Ahn continued to win medals at the world and European championships for Russia, but was denied what would have been a final Olympic appearance in his homeland when he was ruled out of the Pyeongchang 2018 Games as part of the international sanctions against his adopted country for doping offences.
Having retired, he temporarily reversed his decision. Last November, aged 33, he won silver in the 500m at the International Skating Union Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Salt Lake City before anchoring his team to gold in the mixed gender 2000m relay.
2005 Winter Universiade, Innsbruck: Figure skating pairs silver (with Stanislav Morozov); 2007 Winter Universiade, Turin: Figure skating pairs silver (with Stanislav Morozov).
The Winter Universiades of 2005 and 2007 played their part in Tatiana Volosozhar's soaring career as a pairs figure skater, which has spanned three partners, two countries – Ukraine and Russia – and world and Olympic gold.
Born in Ukraine to Russian parents, Volsozhar began skating at the age of four, and after switching to pairs aged 14 she formed a partnership with Petr Kharchenko which saw them become national champions in 2004, after which they parted company.
The following season Volsozhar linked up with another Ukraine skater, Stanislav Morozov, and in their first season together they finished second at Innsbruck in the Winter Universiade, finishing behind the Chinese pairing of Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao.
In third place was the Russian pair of Maria Muhortova and Maxim Trankov – the latter of whom would become Volosozhar's partner on and off the ice five years later, enjoying Olympic and world success.
The Ukraine pairing followed their Innsbruck success by finishing fifth in the European Championships.
After placing 12th at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Volosozhar and Morozov got their next season off to another promising start as they returned to Turin to earn a second Universiade silver.
Once again they finished runners-up to the defending Chinese pair, with Russia's new pairing of Arina Ushakova and Sergei Karev earning bronze.
The Ukrainian pair followed up by finishing fifth again at the European Championships and then took a tantalising fourth place at the World Championships.
That was to prove their high point, as they finished eighth in the 2010 Winter Olympics and Morozov retired before the World Championships.
In May 2010 Volosozhar was allowed to apply for expedited Russian citizenship, and began her partnership with Trankov. They made a striking pair – she is 5ft 3in and he is 6ft 2in – and they were soon successful.
After Volosozhar had completed a statutory year out of international competition following her nationality switch, they soon began to make an impact at the top level, taking silver at the World Championships in 2011 and 2012, and winning the first of four European titles in 2012.
In 2013 they won world gold, and at Sochi 2014 they became the first skaters to earn two golds in a single Olympics as they won the pairs and were among the victors in the inaugural team competition.
After Trankov was forced to miss the 2015 season following a shoulder operation, during which time they got married, the pair returned to the ice to take their fourth European title in 2016 before skipping the next season after announcing they were expecting a baby.
On February 16, 2017, Tatiana gave birth to their daughter, Angelica Maximovna Volosozhar-Trankova.
2005 Summer Universiade, Izmir: discus gold (65.29m).
Estonia's Gerd Kanter reached the top of the tree as a discus thrower by earning world and Olympic titles – and the Universiade played a key part in the take-off of his long and illustrious career.
When this hugely popular figure arrived in Izmir, Turkey to take part in the 23rd version of the International University Sports Federation's flagship event, he was a highly promising 26-year-old who had appeared at the 2003 World Championships in Paris and the 2004 Athens Olympics, albeit without managing to reach the finals.
But 2005 proved to be his breakthrough year. On August 7, at the World Championships in Helsinki, Kanter took silver with an effort of 68.57 metres as Lithuania's Virgilijus Alekna made a successful defence of his title with a Championship record of 70.17m.
Just 10 days later in Turkey, the 6ft 5in athlete from Tallinn achieved his first global gold as he dominated the Universiade competition in the Izmir Ataturk Stadium.
Having nudged over the qualifying mark of 59.00m with a conservative effort of 59.52m, Kanter cut loose in the final, recording a best of 65.29m. His three other recorded marks were superior to the silver medal performance of 62.68m by Egypt's Amar Ahmed El Ghazaly.
Kanter finished the season on another big podium as he took silver in September's World Athletics Final in Monaco, recording 66.01m.
The following year, Kanter earned another silver at the World Athletics Final, his second of the year following a second place at the European Championships in Gothenburg, where he threw 68.03m to finish just 64 centimetres adrift of Alekna.
But when Kanter returned to Sweden the following month, to compete in Helsingborg, he produced the high mark of his career with an effort of 73.38m. It stood then, and as of July 2020 still stands, as the third best throw of all time behind Alekna's 2000 effort of 73.88m and the longstanding record of 74.08m set in 1986 by East Germany's Jurgen Schult.
The next two years marked the peak of his career as he won the World Athletics Finals with 68.47m and 66.54m respectively, and secured the twin peaks of world and Olympic titles.
At the 2007 World Championships in Osaka he finally got the better of Alekna, the 2003 and 2005 world champion, who finished fourth on this occasion. Kanter claimed gold with a best of 68.94m.
The following year Kanter took Olympic gold in Beijing, throwing 68.82m, with silver going to Poland's Piotr Malachowski on 67.82m and Alekna, the Olympic champion of 2000 and 2004, earning bronze with 67.79m.
At 29, Kanter had reached his peak – but his top-level career continued for another decade, during which time he earned Olympic bronze at the London 2012 Games, a world silver and two bronzes, as well as two European silvers and a bronze.
He placed fifth in the Rio 2016 Olympics aged 37, and signed off with another fifth place, this time at the 2018 Berlin European Championships, before announcing his retirement.
More than 3,000 people packed into the Kadriorg Stadium in Tallinn for his farewell competition. The 39-year-old signed off with a final 60m-plus effort, earning sixth place in a world class field.
Kanter, a model of consistency, holds the unofficial world record for the most consecutive competitions over 60 metres, an astonishing total of 319 between August 20, 2002 and September 10, 2017.
2011 Summer Universiade, Shenzhen: 4x100 metres freestyle relay gold (3min 40.03sec GR); 50m freestyle bronze (25.17sec).
By the time 19-year-old Australian Cate Campbell won swimming medals at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China, she already had Olympic and world honours to her name.
At the Beijing Olympic Games of 2008 she won bronze medals in the 50 metres freestyle and the 4x100m freestyle relay, and at the following year's World Championships in Rome she added another 50m freestyle bronze.
Campbell, who moved to Australia with her South African parents from Malawi in 2001, picked up her first international gold medal at the 2011 Universiade as a member of the victorious 4x100m relay team in a Games record of 3min 40.03sec.
She also earned bronze in the 50m freestyle, clocking 25.17sec behind gold medallist Aleksandra Gerasimenya of Belarus, who clocked 24.66, and Ukraine's Darya Stepanyuk, who timed in at 25.12.
At the London 2012 Olympics, Campbell earned a gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay, helping set an Olympic record of 3:33.15. She also reached the 50m freestyle semi-finals, as did her younger sister Bronte. They were the first Australian siblings on the same Olympic swimming team since the 1972 Munich Games, and the first Australian sisters to compete in the same swimming event at the Games.
At the following year's World Championships in Barcelona, Campbell won the 100m freestyle title, finishing ahead of Sweden's Sarah Sjöström and the Olympic champion, Ranomi Kromowidjojo of The Netherlands, by clocking 52.34.
She also teamed-up with Bronte in a 4x100m freestyle relay team that took silver.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow saw her take another 100m freestyle gold, along with two relay golds in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley.
Another world 4x100m freestyle relay gold was added to her collection at the 2015 championships in Kazan, but she had to settle for bronze in the 100m freestyle event as gold went to her younger sister and silver to Sjöström.
The two sisters joined up again at the Rio 2016 Olympics, helping Australia win gold in the 4x100m freestyle in a world record of 3:30.65, and Campbell added a silver in the 4x100m medley relay.
But, despite being favourite for the Olympic 100m title, she suffered disappointment, fading to sixth, and she took the early part of 2017 off before returning to set a 100m freestyle world record of 50.25 at the Australian Championships.
In company with Bronte, she helped create another world record at her home 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast as the hosts earned the 4x100m freestyle title in 3:30.05.
While Bronte took the 100m freestyle title ahead of Cate, in a Games record of 52.27, the elder sister earned gold in the 50m freestyle in a Commonwealth and Games record of 23,78, with her younger sibling tying for silver.
Cate also won the 50m butterfly title – a stroke at which she had no competitive history – having decided to "try something new and different".
The 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, saw five more medals added to her collection.
She won golds in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m mixed medley, silvers in the 100m freestyle and 4x100m medley and bronze in the 50m freestyle.
2011 Summer Universiade, Shenzen: hammer throw gold (78.14m); 2013 Summer Universiade, Kazan: hammer throw gold (79.99m); 2015 Summer Universiade, Gwangju: hammer throw gold (80.05m); 2017 Summer Universaide, Taipei: hammer throw gold (79.16m).
Speaking to insidethegames in 2017, Oleg Matytsin, President of the International University Sports Federation, said: "We know that many of our Universiade participants will go on to the Olympic Games and to World Championships in Olympic sports.
"South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk is a Universiade legend and now we have been watching him compete at the Athletics World Championships in London.
"Another athlete, the Polish hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek, came to London looking to add his third World Championship gold medal to the three Universiade titles he's won."
In the same month that he won that third world title, Fajdek added a fourth Universiade title in Taipei. And after taking European silver in Berlin in 2018, he brought his world title total level with his Universiade tally at Doha 2019.
Fajdek is one of the greatest examples of an athlete who has developed into a global champion having won at the summer Universiade. But, by a quirk of fate, this affable Pole has never managed to win an Olympic medal of any colour.
A throw of 78.14 metres was enough to earn Fajdek his first Universiade gold at the 2011 edition in Shenzhen, China, finishing more than four metres clear of Slovakia's Marcel Lomnicky, who reached 73.90m.
Fajdek beat Lomnicky to the title again two years later in the Russian venue of Kazan, although this time it was closer, 79.99m to 78.73m.
In between these wins, however, the 6ft 1in Pole suffered disappointment as he only finished 11th at the 2011 World Championships and then failed to register a mark at the London 2012 Olympics.
Having successfully defended his Universiade title, Fajdek went on to claim his first world title in Moscow in 2013, where he won with 81.97m, adding the Jeux de la Francophonie gold later in the year.
A throw of 82.05m at the Zurich 2014 European Athletics Championships only earned him a silver, but the following year he successfully. He then retained his world title in Beijing with an effort of 80.88m.
The latter triumph took place despite the fact that his then 80-year-old coach, Czeslaw Cybulski, was recovering in hospital after surgery to his leg after being accidentally hit by his hammer in training.
In 2016, Fajdek swapped silver for gold at the European Championships in Amsterdam, throwing 80.93m, but his form faltered again at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where he failed to qualify for the final having managed a best of 72.00m.
The following year witnessed business as usual, however, with his wins in Taipei, where he reached 79.16m, and London, where he won with 79.86m.
And after his European silver in Berlin, Doha offered him the opportunity to win a record fourth men's hammer world title with an effort of 80.50m.
"It was a very difficult season with a very good end," Fajdek said. "I had to go from zero to 100 per cent in just one year, coming back from injury. I basically had only seven months for the preparation.
"I had some back problems, knee problems, but that is our job to deal with it. It is normal.
"Now, taking the fourth World Championship title – it is very emotional for me and I feel very proud tonight."
Describing his mindset after the London 2012 Games, he said: "After the London Olympics that was a disaster for me, I told myself I want to win 10 medals during the next seven years. Medals of any colours."
Doha 2019 brought his post-London 2012 collection to nine golds and two silvers.
2009 Summer Universiade, Belgrade: triple jump gold (17.22m); 2011 Summer Universiade, Shenzhen: triple jump gold (17.31m).
For many athletes, competing at a Summer World University Games is a precursor to world or Olympic success.
Nelson Évora did things the other way round – by the time he earned the first of his two Universiade triple jump titles he was already the world and Olympic champion.
Évora, who was born in the Ivory Coast, moved to Portugal when he was five and represented his adopted country aged 20 at the Athens 2004 Olympics, although he failed to qualify for the final.
However, he had already proven himself as an athlete who knew how to win, having taken the long jump gold with 7.49 metres at the 2001 European Youth Olympic Festival and the European junior long jump title two years afterwards.
In 2006, maintaining his competitive challenge in both long and triple jump, he finished sixth in the former and fourth in the latter at the European Athletics Championships.
The following year, he recorded his long jump personal best of 8.10m in winning the European Cup First League event, adding the triple jump title for good measure.
That was an ideal warm-up for his big breakthrough at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, where he won gold with a national record of 17.74m.
After he had won triple jump bronze at the 2008 World Indoor Championships, his career reached its peak as he took the Olympic title in Beijing with an effort of 17.67m, ahead of Britain's Phillips Idowu on 17.62m.
That competitive edge proved as cutting as one might have expected when the 25-year-old earned his first Universiade gold in the Serbian capital of Belgrade with a best of 17.22m.
Two years later at Shenzhen in China, Évora retained his title with an effort of 17.31m, well clear of his nearest challenger, Ukraine's Viktor Kuznyetsov who reached 16.89m.
Further triple jump golds lay ahead of the then 27-year-old as he won the European indoor title in Prague in 2015 and retained it in Belgrade two years later.
The following year, at a packed Olympic Stadium in Berlin, the 34-year-old phenomenon earned an extraordinary gold with a best of 17.10m.
Last year he added another European indoor medal, this time silver, in Glasgow before competing in his seventh World Championships in Doha.
His Olympic ambitions remain alive...
Hugues Fabrice Zango
2013 Universiade, Kazan: triple jump, sixth place. 2015 Universiade, Gwangju: triple jump silver medal (16.76m). 2017 Universiade, Chinese Taipei: triple jump silver medal (16.97m PB).
Like the hop, step and jump which characterise his athletics event, the Summer Universiades of 2013, 2015 and 2017 have crucially advanced the career of Hugues Fabrice Zango – Burkina Faso's historic high-achiever.
In September 2019 in Doha this ebullient 26-year-old triple jumper became the first track and field athlete from his country to earn a medal at the World Championships as he claimed a surprise bronze in an African record of 17.66 metres.
Zango – who spends winters in France and is studying for a PhD in electrical engineering at university in Lille – produced an effort of 17.77m in Paris in February 2020, putting himself equal fourth on the world indoor all-time list and just 15 centimetres shy of the world indoor record held by his French coach, Teddy Tamgho.
Later in the month, at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Liévin, Zango tried everything he knew to provide what he regarded as his home crowd with a world indoor mark, but had to settle for four escalating jumps of 17m-plus, culminating in a fourth round of 17.51m. He then fouled out on his two final efforts – one of which looked close to or on 18m.
"Every winter I work here," he had said beforehand. "I know the stadium like my pocket. So the stadium is my home and I come here like twice a week, so here is really good."
Zango's performance in Doha – where gold went to defending and Olympic champion Christian Taylor with 17.92m and silver to his US rival Will Claye on 17.74m - was also a model of consistency. Apart from his best, he had four other leaps beyond 17m – 17.18m, 17.46m, 17.29m, and 17.56m.
"First of all, I wanted to get a medal," Zango told World Athletics. "I felt really strong. I was able to fight against the big guys. Next time it will be even better.
"I was in really good shape to do something special and I achieved my goal.
"We are all working on going further and further and working on some technical improvements.
"It means a lot to finish third behind Christian Taylor and Will Claye and beat Pedro Pablo Pichardo to win the bronze medal.
"They all jumped over 18 metres in their careers. For Burkina Faso it is really a big thing. Finally we entered into world athletics, because we have never had a medal on the world level.
"I am the first and I hope more medals will follow. My next goal is to win a medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and make athletics more popular in my country."
Zango began his sports career as a football player before his PE teacher spotted his athletics potential.
"I went to the athletics track and he told me that I was more skilled in jumping events than in running events," Zango said. "This is how I started with triple jump. I then came to France to study electrical engineering at university."
Zango's debut at an international athletics competition was at the 2013 Summer Universaide in the Russian city of Kazan, where he finished sixth with an effort of 15.96m.
By the time of the 2015 Summer Universiade at Gwangju in South Korea, Zango was a far more accomplished performer. He competed in both the long and triple jump, failing to qualify for the final in the former event but earning silver in the latter with 16.76m. Gold went to Russia's Dmitry Sorokin with 17.29m.
Before competing in his third Universiade, Zango went to the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, where he failed to qualify, the 2016 African Championships, where he took silver with 16.81m, and the Rio Olympic Games, where he reached 15.99m but failed to go on to the final.
The following year he competed at the Universiade in Chinese Taipei and earned another silver with a personal best of 16.97m, just four centimetres shy of gold medallist Nazim Babayev of Azerbaijan.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics looming, this is an athlete who looks on the brink of great things.
2005 Winter Universiade, Innsbruck and Seefeld: Gold in the classical mass start 15km, silver in the 5km freestyle and bronze in the individual sprint. 2007 Winter Universiade, Turin: Gold in individual sprint, 5km freestyle and 10km double pursuit.
Competing in the Winter Universiades of 2005 and 2007 earned Polish cross-country skier Justyna Kowalczyk a healthy collection of medals and laid the foundation for an illustrious career in terms of Olympic and World Championship success.
Born in Limanowa, southern Poland, on January 19, 1983, Kowalczyk was 22 when she travelled to her first Winter Universiade, where she collected a complete set of medals in her various competitions at the Seefeld Arena in Austria.
By the time she returned home, Kowalczyk was 23 and the owner of a bronze medal for the individual sprint, a silver for the 5km freestyle and a gold for the classical mass start 15km event.
Two years later, she returned to the FISU arena and earned three individual Universiade golds in the individual sprint, the 5km freestyle and the 10km double pursuit event.
The competition was held in Turin, where a year earlier she had marked her Olympic debut by taking bronze in the 30km freestyle event.
Kowalczyk graduated from the Jerzy Kukuczka University of Physical Education in Katowice with an MA in physical education, and in 2014 completed a Ph.D at the Bronisław Czech University of Physical Education in Krakow.
Two years after her triumphs in Turin, she became world champion in the 15km pursuit and 30km freestyle in Liberec, where she also claimed bronze in the 10km classical competition.
A year later, in Vancouver, she earned a complete set of Olympic medals as she won gold in the 30km classical event, silver in the individual sprint and bronze in the 15km pursuit.
She added another Olympic title four years later in Sochi, where she won the 10km classical event.
Following her initial success in the World Championships, she went on to amass another three silver and two bronze medals between 2011 and 2015.
She made her fourth Olympic appearance in Pyeongchang in 2018, finishing seventh in the team sprint and 14th in the 30km mass start.
1961 Universiade, Sofia: Tennis bronze in the men’s singles and mixed doubles. 1965 Universiade, Budapest: Gold in the men’s singles and mixed doubles, bronze in the men’s doubles
Ion Tiriac first came to public notice as a child table tennis champion, and thereafter as a member of the Romanian ice hockey team that finished 12th in the 1964 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck.
But his name would be made in tennis, first as a player, then as a coach and a promoter of tournaments, as he progressed in life to the point where, in 2010, he was declared by TOP 300 Capital to be the richest man in Romania.
In 2018, Tiriac ranked #1867 on the Forbes World's Billionaires list, with wealth listed at $1.2 billion.
After his Olympic appearance, Tiriac decided to concentrate his energies on tennis, and the following year he got onto the gold standard at the Summer Universiade in Budapest, where he won the singles and mixed doubles titles and took bronze in the men’s doubles.
That brought his collection of FISU medals to five, as he had earned bronze in the singles and mixed doubles four years earlier at the Universiade in Sofia.
As a tennis professional Tiriac won one Grand Prix event, at Munich in 1970, but was mainly known for his successful doubles pairing with fellow countryman Ilie Nastase, who won French and US Open singles titles, and was twice runner-up at Wimbledon.
Tiriac and Nastase were runners-up in the 1966 US Open final, and won the French Open title in 1970, defeating Arthur Ashe and Charlie Pasarell of the United States 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
After retiring, Tiriac coached players including Nastase, Guilermo Vilas, Goran Ivanišević and Marat Safin, and also managed Boris Becker’s career between 1984 and 1993.
On July 13, 2013 he joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame as a successful promoter and tournament director for numerous events including the two of the largest Masters 1000 events, the Italian Open and the Madrid Masters.
1959 Universiade, Turin: Athletics gold in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m. 1963 Universiade, Porto Alegre: Bronze in the 100m and 200m. 1967 Universiade, Tokyo: Gold in the 4 x100m
The Vialle delle Olimpiad – the Walk of Fame of Italian sport – in Rome’s Olympic Park honours 100 athletes in the nation’s sporting history, each of whom has their name on a tile along with the sport in which they have distinguished themselves.
On May 7, 2015, in the presence of the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), a tile bearing the name of Livio Berruti was formally added to the illustrious collection.
Berruti’s performance at the neighbouring Olympic Stadium at the 1960 Games was one of the home highlights as he surprised the watching world by winning the men’s 200 metres gold and twice equalling the world record of 20.5 seconds on the same day.
A year before his breakthrough home performance at the Games, Berruti – a chemistry undergraduate in Turin – had earned three golds at the first FISU-organised Summer Universiade, which was hosted by his native city.
He took the 100m title in 10.5, the 200m title in 20.9 and was part of the team that won the 4x100m gold in 41.0.
The following year, wearing his trademark dark glasses and white socks, Berruti announced his talent with a world record in the semi-finals, reproducing the time in the final later that day to take the Olympic title.
Berruti ran at two more Universiades, adding 100 and 200m bronze medals at the 1963 edition in Porto Alegre before collecting another 4x100m relay gold at the 1967 edition in Tokyo.
He had finished fifth in the Olympic 200m final in Tokyo three years earlier, and he made a third Olympic appearance a year later in Mexico City, reaching the 200m quarter-finals and being part of the 4x100m relay team that finished seventh.
International University Games: 1933,Turin - Athletics silver in the 1500m; 1935, Budapest – gold in the 1500m. 1934 British Empire Games – gold in the 1500m. 1936 Berlin Olympics – gold in the 1500m.
A year before winning the 1936 Olympic 1500 metres title in the Berlin Stadium with an audacious and effective race plan, New Zealander Jack Lovelock had secured the gold medal at what was then known as the International University Games.
There was no need for ingenuity on this occasion as – at a Games held in Budapest – he beat home runner Mihaly Ignatz by almost four seconds as he came home for the 1500m gold in four minutes exactly.
At the 1933 University Games in Turin, Lovelock – who studied medicine at the University of Otago before earning a Rhodes Scholarship at Exeter College, Oxford – had a far harder task. He had taken on the home runner, Luigi Beccali, who had earned the Olympic 1500 title the previous year in a race where Lovelock had finished seventh.
The Italian took gold in 3min 49.2sec, with Lovelock – who earlier in the year had set a world mile record of 4min 07.6sec - earning silver in 3:49.8.
It later emerged that Lovelock had not been in the best of health during his preparation.
But his 1933 defeat would prove a marker for three years of outstanding success.
In 1934, Lovelock won gold in the mile at the British Empire Games, recording 4min 13.0sec. And a year after exchanging silver for gold at the University Games he engineered the victory for which he will best be remembered.
Facing an Olympic 1500m field that included the US runner who had surpassed his own mile world record in 1934, Glenn Cunningham, Lovelock – renowned as a sprinter in the home straight, made a cleverly disguised break from 300 metres out that caught out his opponents and finished a full second inside the world record - 3min 47.8sec. Cunningham took silver in a time that was also inside the previous world mark.
1970 Universiade, Turin: Athletics gold in the long jump (6.84m, world record)
Heide Rosendahl’s haul of two golds and a silver at her home 1972 Olympics in Munich were the culmination of an athletics career that had promised such achievement for more than five years. The West German’s first international flourish came at the 1966 European Championships, where she won silver in the pentathlon, and she upgraded to gold at the 1971 Europeans in Helsinki.
By the time of that victory, she was already long jump world record holder after an astonishing performance at the 1970 Universiade in Turin, where she reached 6.84m, adding two centimetres to the mark set by Romania’s Viorica Viscopoleanu in winning the 1968 Olympic title in the thin air of Mexico City. Rosendahl’s world record stood until 1976.
Rosendahl won the Munich Olympic long jump with 6.78m, beating Bulgaria’s Diana Yorgova by one centimetre, and she anchored the West German team to victory in the 4x100m, holding off East Germany’s individual champion Renate Stecher. She also took silver behind Great Britain’s Mary Peters in a dramatic pentathlon competition.
Rosendahl, German sports person of the year in 1970 and 1972, is the mother of pole vaulter Danny Ecker, 2007 world bronze medallist and European indoor champion.
1973 Universiade, Moscow: Athletics gold in the 400m. 1977 Universiade, Sofia: Gold in the 800m (1:43.44, world record)
This huge and hugely talented Cuban athlete, who was originally steered towards a basketball career, announced his international potential in track and field as he won the 400m title at the 1973 Universiade in Moscow.
Four years later, he secured another Universiade gold in Sofia - this time over 800m.
In between these two victories, the 6ft 2in athlete from Santiago de Cuba produced one of the all-time great Olympic performances at the 1976 Montreal Games as he became the first since Paul Pilgrim at the 1906 Intercalated Olympics to complete the men’s 400m and 800m double.
Juantorena had only taken up two-lap running the previous year, but he led the field in the 800m final for most of the race before clocking a world record time of 1:43.47. Three days later, he added the Olympic title over the single lap in a low-altitude world record of 44.26.
His Universiade career ended with a flourish in Sofia as he improved his own world 800m record to 1:43.44.
1973 Universiade, Moscow: Gymnastics all-around gold
Olga Korbut’s Olympic debut at the 1972 Munich Games earned her gymnastic gold medals for the beam, floor exercise and team competition. But it was the technical daring and emotional impact of this tiny 17-year-old Soviet athlete - known as the Sparrow from Minsk - which was to create a lasting legacy in the history of the sport.
In her first event in Munich, Korbut created uproar as she successfully performed something that no one had tried at an international competition: a backward flip on the 4.5in thick beam. When she slipped and made several errors in the uneven bars, effectively ending her winning chances in the all-around competition where gold went to team-mate Lyudmila Tourischeva, she publicy wept. At the next day’s final of the bars, however, she unleashed the "Korbut flip" - a unique standing back somersault move that had never been seen before. To huge crowd disapproval, her score only earned her silver.
In 1973, she earned home victory at the Universiade in Moscow with a performance that was described as "even more spectacular than Munich".
Hampered by injury at the 1976 Olympics, she nevertheless added another gold in the team event, and took silver in the beam. Korbut graduated from the Grodno Pedagogical Institute in 1977 and retired from gymnastics to become a teacher.
1973 Universiade, Moscow: Athletics gold in the 200m, bronze in the 100m, 4x100m. 1975 Universiade, Rome: Gold in the 100m and 200m. 1979 Universiade, Mexico City: 100m and 200m gold (200m, world record 19.72A)
Italian sprinter Pietro Mennea, who won the Olympic 200m title in 1980, competed in three Universaides, producing one of the competition’s outstanding performances in 1979 as he recorded a 200m world record that lasted for 17 years before Michael Johnson broke it at the 1996 US Olympic trials.
In the rarified atmosphere of Mexico City, Mennea clocked an astonishing 19.72, beating the time of 19.83 Tommie Smith of the US had set on the same track in winning the 1968 Olympic title. The time still stands as the European record.
Mennea’s Universiade career had begun in Moscow six years earlier, a year after he had taken Olympic 200m bronze in Munich. He won the 200m gold in Russia, plus bronze medals in the 100m and 4x100m. In 1975, a year after taking the first of three European titles, the Italian won two more Universiade golds in Rome over 100m and 200m.
His crowning moment arrived in the city where his Universiade career had begun, Moscow, as he lived up to his billing as favourite for the 200m title as he defeated a field including Jamaica’s reigning champion Don Quarrie, 100m silver medallist Silvio Leonard of Cuba and 100m champion Allan Wells of Britain, whom he beat to gold by just 0.02.
1973 Universiade, Moscow: Competed in foil fencing; 1979 Universiade, Mexico City: Competed in foil fencing
While Thomas Bach, now President of the International Olympic Committee, did not earn any medals at the two Summer Universiades in which he took part, his fencing career nevertheless hit the heights during the 1970s.
In 1973, at the World Fencing Championships in Gothenburg, Bach - who earned a Doctor of Law degree from the University of Wurzburg, his native city, in 1983 - won his first big international medal, a silver, as part of the West German men’s foil team.
Three years later, in Montreal, Bach and his West German team-mates Harald Hein, Klaus Reichert, Matthias Behr and Erk Sens-Gorius earned the Olympic gold medal in the men’s team foil, defeating Italy 9-6 in the final.
The following year came another gold medal for the team in the 1977 World Championships at Buenos Aires, and two years later Bach and Co completed their set with a bronze at the World Championships in Melbourne.
FISU President Oleg Matytsin told insidethegames: "You would have to ask him for his memories, but as he said, each Universiade is an unforgettable experience, a moment of excitement which is shared by all athletes.
"I also would say with some pride that Dr Bach is the perfect example of how sport can positively shape leaders. Clearly, he reached the pinnacle of his sport and was able to use success to positively shape his career.
"A world where the leaders of society are positively influenced by their university sport experience is the guiding vision of FISU. What Thomas Bach has achieved, both inside and outside the sports arena, is an embodiment of the FISU vision."
1981 Universiade, Bucharest: Freestyle wrestling (100kg-plus) gold
Baumgartner, one of the most accomplished US wrestlers of all time, ranked as one of the top super-heavyweight freestyle competitors for more than a decade - and his international career got underway with victory in the 100 kilograms-plus freestyle competition at the 1981 Universiade in Bucharest.
The 20-year-old from New Jersey defeated Bulgaria’s Sergey Stoytchev in the final to earn the first of a long sequence of gold medals. His first world championship medal, a bronze, came three years later. He ended with three world titles to his name.
Home Olympic gold in the 130kg freestyle category was delivered in Los Angeles in 1984. Baumgartner had to settle for silver in Seoul four years later after defeat by Davit Gobejishvili, but he earned his revenge over the Georgian in the 1992 Barcelona final to claim a second Games gold.
After his world titles in 1993 and 1995, Baumgartner was favourite to end his Olympic career with another home gold in Atlanta, but a loss to Russian Andrey Shumilin left him with a bronze medal.
1981 Universiade, Bucharest: Gymnastics gold in vault, floor exercise
Romania’s Nadia Comaneci made Olympic history at the 1976 Montreal Games when she became the first gymnast to earn a perfect 10 score, which she did during the team compulsory competition on the uneven bars. By the time those Games finished, the slight, dark-haired 14-year-old had added another six scores of 10 as she won gold in the beam and became the first gymnast from her country to win the individual all-around competition.
At the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Comaneci won gold on the beam and floor exercise. Her international career ended a year later as, taller and heavier than she had been in Montreal, she earned two 10 scores at the Universiade in Bucharest to huge home acclaim in what turned out to be her last championship appearance.
Comaneci graduated from the Politehnica University in Bucharest with a degree in Sports Education that qualified her to coach athletics. She defected to the United States in 1989. In 1996, she married US gymnast Bart Conner, a double gold medallist at the 1984 Olympics. The ceremony took place in Bucharest and was televised live throughout Romania.
1983 Universiade, Edmonton: Swimming gold in 200m and 400m individual medley
By the time Alex Baumann competed in the 1983 Universiade at Edmonton, in his adopted country of Canada, his swimming career was already well established. Having taken up the sport aged nine, soon after his family had moved from their native Prague to Sudbury, Ontario in 1969 following the political upheavals in Czechoslovakia, Baumann earned two golds at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. In winning the 200 metres and 400m individual medleys, he set world and Commonwealth records respectively.
The performances were all the more creditable for the fact that his preparations had been marred by a 10-month absence from the pool because of a chronic shoulder problem.
Baumann, who attended Laurentian University in his home town of Sudbury, Ontario, repeated his Brisbane individual medley victories at the following July’s Universiade, and finished his season by lowering the 400m individual medley world record at the Olympic trials.
Baumann won both the 200m and 400m individual Olympic titles at the 1984 Los Angeles Games - where he was Canada’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony - setting respective world records of 2min 01.42sec and 4:17.41. He thus became one of only six Canadians to have won two Olympic golds.
He added two more Commonwealth medley golds in his last championship appearance at the 1986 Edinburgh Games.
1983 Universiade, Edmonton: Diving gold at 3m springboard and 10m platform
Louganis is the only male and only the second diver in Olympic history to have swept the golds in consecutive Games, which he did in 1984 and 1988.
For many sports followers, however, he will be remembered more clearly for the horrendous accident during the preliminary competition at the 1988 Seoul Olympics when he was left with cuts and concussion after hitting his head on the end of the springboard. Louganis came through, however, responding with the highest single score of the qualifying round with his next effort.
His Universiade success came the year before the Los Angeles Olympics, in Edmonton, and he warmed up well by winning the 3m springboard and 10m platform golds. By then, Louganis, a longtime gay rights activist, was highly experienced, having won 10m platform silver at the 1976 Montreal Olympics at the age of 16 and 10m platform gold at the 1978 World Championships.
Favourite to win Olympic gold four years later, his chances were ended by the US boycott of the Moscow Games. Two years later he won the first of two world championship golden doubles at Guayaquil and Madrid, becoming the first diver in a major international meeting to get a perfect 10 score from all seven judges.
2005 Winter Universiade, Innsbruck: Women’s skeleton gold
Victory in the women’s skeleton event at the 2005 Winter Universiade at Innsbruck in Austria prepared Britain’s Shelley Rudman for an unexpected Olympic flourish at the following year’s Winter Games in Turin.
But in order to take part in those Games, Rudman needed £4,000 ($5,100/€4,800) for a new sled, and her home town of Pewsey helped raise the money with a sponsored canoe event. Once in Turin - Rudman, who took up teaching after doing a BSc at St Mary’s College, Twickenham - was aiming for a top-10 finish, but after being fastest in practice, she took fourth place in her first run and claimed silver with second place in the final run.
Despite recording the fastest second run at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, she only finished sixth. But her competitive standing took another huge upward jump in 2013 when she secured the world title before making a final Olympic appearance in Sochi the following year.
2007 Winter Universiade, Turin: Speed skating gold at 500m. 2009 Winter Universaide, Harbin: Gold at 500m, bronze at 100m.
South Korean speed skater Lee established a winning pattern ahead of her consecutive 500m victories at the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. At the 2007 and 2009 Winter Universiades, this hugely competitive athlete earned gold over the same distance.
Her exploits in Vancouver and Sochi meant her becoming the first woman since Canada's Catriona Le May Doan at the 2002 Games to defend her gold at the event. She also became the third woman to win back-to-back Olympic golds at the 500m, and was the first Korean to do so.
Lee established herself on the international scene with a bronze medal in the all-around competition at the 2005 World Junior Championships and another bronze, over 500m, at the World Championships. The world title over 500m was hers in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
She is also the 500m women’s world record holder thanks to her time of 36.36 set in Salt Lake City in 2013.