At the end of an exceptional Closing Ceremony in Taipei Stadium, the 29th Summer Universiade drew to a successful close earlier this evening. The ceremony marked the end of an outstanding 12 days of sport, education and culture. 7,734 athletes from 134 countries competed in 271 medal events over 21 sports.
“Our student athletes came here to Taipei from all over the world. And when they came to train and compete, they found excellent conditions for sport,” FISU President Oleg Matytsin said.
Key among those conditions, athletes found exceptional spectator support. 83% of tickets (more than 700,000) were sold. This represented a new development in terms of the host city’s appreciation for live international sports events.
Taipei 2017 Chief Executive Su Li-chiung explained: “Countless people bought tickets to watch the games, which people in Taipei don’t usually do. The overwhelming cheering from the audience was also a great motivator for the athletes.”
Benefitting from high-quality fields of play and exceptional spectator support were the athletes that included many Rio 2016 Olympic champions. Two world records were broken, in archery and weightlifting. In the men’s javelin competition, both the winning and second place throws would have comfortably won gold at the recent IAAF London 2017 world championships.
“The best performances happen when there is a crowd filled with passion to lift up the athletes,” President Matytsin said. “That is exactly what FISU found for every sport in Taipei. The crowds had a great knowledge of sport. They made so much noise for the athlete in first place. And they made the same noise for the athlete in last place.”
Andreas Hofmann (Germany), who threw a world-leading javelin personal best only to find himself lose out on Universiade gold by 29 centimetres, said: “It was crazy. The competition, the result and the experience I had competing here were great, just great.”
Other records broken at Taipei 2017 included those related to organisation. More than 300 hours of coverage were broadcast to more than 100 countries, while live streaming brought in over a million viewers to a single game of volleyball that was featured as a Facebook live event on FISU’s fan page. The Bravo bear mascot sold out, as more than US $ 1 million of merchandising was sold.
In addition to the sports competitions, Taipei 2017 featured cultural activities and also educational programmes aimed at helping today’s student athletes become tomorrow’s leaders. The programmes notably included athlete dual career seminars.
Speaking at the Closing Ceremony to a sold out crowd of 22,500 at Taipei Stadium, President Matytsin said: “The athletes who are here now go will go on to be the leaders of tomorrow, I am sure they will remember the lessons they have learned here. They will have learnt from the values of sport and also from Taipei’s values.”