6 August 2023 – Chengdu

Excellence in Mind and Body

Finding the balance between sports and studies is a challenge that student-athletes around the world have to face. The participants of the FISU World University Games in Chengdu have shared their practical strategies and stories on how they manage to thrive in both their academic and athletic pursuits. These athletes prove that with determination, discipline, and a well-thought-out plan, it is possible to excel in both domains.

Embracing the FISU motto of Excellence in Mind and Body, the summer edition of the FISU World University Games incorporate educational and cultural aspects, encouraging student-athletes from around the world to combine high sports performance with their intellectual pursuits. By putting a special focus on studies and student life, the FISU World University Games are different from other sport events. It is for college and university students first. Not all students can be that professional but can still qualify for these international Games. Striking the right balance between sports and studies is not only possible but also immensly rewarding.

FISU Games Village ©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

One such example is Mariana Machado, an athlete from Portugal, who is studying medicine. She acknowledges that it is tough to balance both her studies and her race training, but she firmly believes in the value of pursuing a career in medicine while also participating in athletics. „Learning medicine helps me learn how to organize and concentrate on my race training, as well as how to utilize all parts of my body.“

Anya Mostek, a swimmer from the USA who studied applied mathematics at Harvard University, emphasizes the importance of sticking to a strict schedule. She acknowledges that balancing academics and sports is difficult but manageable with proper time management. „I just need to make sure I stick to a strict schedule, so I can balance everything. It's hard but endurable.“

Mariana Machado ©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

Henry von der Schulenburg, a tennis player from Switzerland, is currently studying economics and applied mathematics at Harvard. He recognizes the challenges of juggling practice, classes, and homework but believes in the value of his chosen major. He attributes his success in managing this busy lifestyle to the discipline he has developed throughout his life. Von Der Schulenburg also finds support from his team, making the process enjoyable. “It takes a lot of work but since I've done it all my life, I am used to such a busy life.“

Liam Krall, a tennis player from the USA, chose to study physiology at Southern Methodist University while pursuing his passion for tennis. Acknowledging the difficulty of balancing academics and sports, Krall prioritizes consistent daily practice to continue improving while preparing for a professional tennis career in the future.

Henry von der Schulenburg ©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

Lukas Küppers, a water polo player from Germany, emphasizes the importance of self-motivation and focus in managing both sports and studies. "It's a lot of psychological persuasion that you have to do yourself, just to focus again and again. It's important to find your own optimal plan. When it gets really stressful, work through everything step by step."

Carlo Hörr, an artistic gymnast from Germany, advises on the importance of organization in managing studies and sports. „Think about the sequences, when do I start, how much time and when do I invest and, above all, when do I take a break. Because the breaks are just as important as the work itself.“

Lukas Küppers ©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

These athletes have shown that with careful planning, dedication, and self-discipline, it is possible to strike a balance between sports and studies. While the road may be challenging, the rewards are significant, and the skills gained in both domains can complement and enhance each other's growth. The FISU World University Games serve as a platform for student-athletes to showcase their abilities and demonstrate the immense potential of combining excellence in both mind and body.