30 July 2023 – Chengdu

Opening Ceremony Chengdu 2021

The Chengdu 2021 FISU Games were officially declared open on Friday night at the Dong'an Lake Sports Park Stadium. The sports world turned its eyes to China to witness university students from across the globe coming together to celebrate the splendid gathering of youth. The ceremony drew inspiration from the Sun and Immortal Birds Gold Ornament, the logo of China Cultural Heritage as well as a symbol of the ancient local Shu civilization and the Tianfu culture.

The ceremony included multiple spectacular elements and vibrant themes such as countdown fireworks, athletes' march, arrival of the FISU flag, gala performance, cauldron lighting. President of the Organizing Committee of the Chengdu FISU Games Huai Jinpeng and FISU Acting President Leonz Eder delivered their speeches on the rostrum surrounded by delegation flags. At 9:15 p.m. Beijing time, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the Games open, in front of a crowd of around 40,000 and a host of state leaders and international dignitaries.

©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

Huai Jinpeng: „Young people are pioneers in promoting the common values of humanity and ambassadors for cultural exchanges. […] „As an old Chinese saying goes, „It is such a delight to have friends coming from afar.“ […] I sincerely wish all our young friends could challenge their limits, strive for their excellence, strengthen the intercultural ties and friendship, and display the charisma of youth here.“

Leonz Eder: „Make new memories, make new friends. Speak with each other. Speak with the volunteers, learn about this wonderful city of Chengdu that is hosting us. Its people, its history, its culture. Share what you have learnt with your friends, families, and followers.“

Goosebump moments at the Athletes‘ Parade

As the highlight of the ceremony, the athletes' march boasted the most participants, longest duration, and the most diverse elements. University sports delegations from 113 countries and regions entered the stadium one after another along the march pass paved with Sichuan brocade patterns. The Chinese delegation, which consists of more than 700 people, includes 411 athletes from more than 100 universities.

Germany, the host country of the next FISU Games Summer in 2025, has not missed even one edition of the Games. 2,500 athletes have competed over the past years. 160 athletes are representing the German flag in Chengdu, led by gymnast Aiyu Zhu (University of Cologne) and swimmer Henning Mühlleitner (HS Heilbronn).

©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

"It was an incredibly exciting feeling to walk into the full stadium with the flag," said Aiyu Zhu, who is taking part in the FISU Games for the first time, after the German team marched in. Henning Mühlleitner added: "We were greeted with roaring applause in the full stadium. That was a real goosebump moment. We are all looking forward to the upcoming competitions and the time together with the athletes from all over the world here in Chengdu."

©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

Spectacular show from students for students

A breathtaking show was delivered by a large group of performers and volunteers, which to 99 percent consists of college students. In addition to the impressive dance performances, decorations, and fireworks, the face-changing performance of Sichuan Opera made its debut at the opening ceremony, putting the traditional practice to an unprecedented level with cyberpunk-style music and Chinese civilization features. Performers donned red, green, yellow and blue masks, shifting their expressions with lightning speed and showcasing an impressive display of four different masks. All those 30 performers are the college students from Sichuan Film and Television Academy.

©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games

The FISU Games is the first international multi-sport event staged by China after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the capital of southwest Sichuan Province has also become the third city from the Chinese mainland to host the biennial summer event, following Beijing in 2001 and Shenzhen in 2011. During the Games, about 6,500 athletes from 113 countries and regions will share their happiness in sports and show the passion for life under the shining FISU Games flame.

The replay of this spectacular Opening Ceremony is available on FISU.TV.

©Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games