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26th Summer Universiade Wrap-Up
Cover Stories Series 2011> 26th Summer Universiade Wrap-Up
UPDATED: August 29, 2011 NO. 35 SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
A Different Universiade

On the night of August 23, the symbolic flame of the 26th World University Games went out slowly, marking the ending of the 12-day sports gala in the city of Shenzhen. Nearly 8,000 athletes from 152 countries and regions enjoyed a vigorous sports festival in the young city.

In keeping with the slogan of the Universiade "Start Here—Make a Difference," enjoying the games, communicating and celebrating became as important as the athletes' gold medals. In Shenzhen, competition reverted to the basic ideals of sportsmanship. Here, losers gained as much applause as winners.

This year's Universiade attracted much attention from Chinese audiences. Statistics from national TV station CCTV show audience ratings reached as high as 1 percent, higher than the NBA and second only to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Today, the audience's interests don't only involve star athletes or celebrity teams. Amateur competition has become a favorite as well. Some Chinese netizens regarded this year's Universiade as "a big international party."

The flexible schedule of the Universiade reflected the emphasis on people's participation. For instance, due to the relaxed rules governing registration for the games, the number of teams increased nearly to the point of being out of control. Different schedules, different purposes for participating in this event, different feelings about winning or losing, a simple and casual opening ceremony and firework-free closing ceremony all made this year's Universiade different from other previous sports events.

Shenzhen, a city only 30 years old, fulfilled its promise of holding a Universiade that "makes a difference." The 14 million residents of the city voluntarily opened green passages for it and adopted eco-friendly transportation methods. Shenzhen's people have become higher-caliber citizens because of the event.

Because of the Universiade, Shenzhen has built or renovated 67 sports venues. After the event, they will be important locations for the city to encourage all residents to participate in daily exercise. The welfare of Shenzhen's people has been further improved due to a series of projects, such as building refurbishment, rail transit construction and river water and air pollution treatment. In addition, with the precious opportunity of hosting a Universiade, Shenzhen made bold attempts to adopt new methods of social management. Emphasizing a "youthful, concise, low-carbon and less disruptive" competition was also a great innovation in the concept of big sporting events.

The Shenzhen Universiade was really different. Although the curtain has been lowered, for many participants and Shenzhen, their dreams have just started.

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