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From student competitions to Olympics

On July 23, the long-awaited 2020 Olympic Games have started. 33 sports, 339 medals, over 11 thousand athletes, many of whom are students.

The opening ceremony was held at the Japan National Stadium, which was reconstructed specifically for the Olympics. Apart from a colorful show, the traditional athletes’ parade representing over 200 participating countries was held.

The honor of holding the Russian Olympics Committee flag fell on the Olympic volleyball champion Maksim Mikhaylov and Olympic fencing champion Sofya Velikaya. Russian fencer is one of many for whom student sport was an important step on the way to the Olympic gold. Winning gold at the Izmir 2005 Universiade was one of her early international successes.

Overall, more than 70 out of the Russian athletes are Universiade medalists. For many of them, those victories were an important step towards the global sporting stage. 15 out of 335 athletes on Russia’s team arrived from the Sverdlovsk Region, where the 2023 FISU World University Games will be held.

Many students have become a part of different countries’ Olympic teams, which yet again proves the importance of student sport in upbringing and developing Olympic talents. For example, more than 60% of all medals at the 2012 London Olympics were won by student-athletes.

The Tokyo Olympics will be a welcome breath of fresh air for the global sports community. The experience acquired at these Games will become an important foundation for both young athletes and organizers of future major international competitions.