Winter Universiade 2019 draws to a close
The symbolic extinguishing of the Krasnoyarsk 2019 cauldron officially drew the curtain on a historic and highly successful 29th Winer Universiade in Russia on Tuesday evening.
After 11 entertaining days of top-level student competition involving almost 1700 athletes from 58 different countries, the 76 medal events had all been completed by the time the memorable Games’ closing ceremony got underway in the impressive multi-purpose Platinum Arena, which was the venue for figure skating at this year’s Universiade.
A video montage of some of the Games’ most emotional moments, showcasing athletes’ ecstasy of victory and despair in defeat, kicked off the ceremony.
Thereafter, as was in the case in the spectacular opening ceremony, the closing ceremony continued with a mesmerising show of dance, music and culture, with Sochi 2014 figure skating Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova amongst those performing.
This was then followed by the nations’ parade as the athletes had their final chance to bid Krasnoyarsk, and each other, goodbye.
In attendance was Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who revealed his pride at hosting such a successful event.
“We did everything to ensure our guests and all competitors felt the warmth and hospitality of Russia,” he said. “Eleven unbelievable days passed full of powerful emotions. I would like to sincerely congratulate all the champions of the Winter Universiade 2019. The greatest victory is our common one: you proved one more time that the most important things in sport are generosity, courage, team spirit and commitment to the principles of fair play!”
FISU President Oleg Matytsin then addressed the crowd, praising the hosts while leaving the athletes with a word of encouragement.
"Krasnoyarsk has set new standards for preparation and hospitality,” he said. "This will remain in our hearts forever.
"Athletes, your performances will have inspired millions around the world. We can be sure there will be many Olympic athletes from these Games in the future. Success is never achieved alone, I hope you take time to thank people around you.
"We look forward to seeing many of you in the future in Lucerne and at future Winter Universiades."
Matytsin then officially declared the Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk closed while joining Krasnoyarsk Mayor Sergej Eremin and Lucerne counterpart Beat Züsli on stage.
The trio then took part in the traditional handover of the FISU flag, with Züsli the recipient as 2021 hosts Lucerne continue with their preparations for the next Winter Universiade.
"In 2021 central Switzerland will host the next Winter Universiade,” Züsli said. "The region of Switzerland embodies the spirit of the country, including cultural activities and hospitable people. Music and sport are emotion, both make you feel at home. The symbol of that is the chapel bridge in Lucerne, which is nearly 600 years old. Bridges bring people together and that is what we aim to do. We are hoping to do that in Switzerland and we want to pamper you."
Krasnoyarsk and Lucerne then staged a joint performance to highlight the culture of both cities before the ceremony was brought to a close with the extinguishing of the Krasnoyarsk 2019 cauldron.
Over the eleven days of competition, hosts Russia proved a force too powerful, dominating the medal table with 41 golds, 39 silver and 32 bronze, taking their tally to an impressive 112 medals – 98 more than second-placed Republic of Korea, who claimed a total of six gold medals. Japan ended the competitive with five golds, as Austria, Finland and Norway claimed three gold medals each.