the 2011 universiade

This year, Shenzhen hosts the 2011 Summer Universiade, which I gather (from the FISU website) is olympics for college students. The 2011 Winter Universiade is being held in Erzurum, Turkey from 27 Jan – 6 Feb, 2011.

As I gear up for a year of college athletics hype, I have two brief comments and a question.

First, the Erzurum and Shenzhen websites are remarkably similar, including countdown, strange anime mascots, and news about the city. So thinking that yes, boosterism fuels this Universiade business as much as joy in youthful athletics.

Second, I had no idea about the Universiade until I left the United States because we have college sports, which are linked to University boosterism; at this level of competition, US Americans cheer for our school rather than our country.

Third, is Erzurum an up and coming Turkish city? In other words, is Erzurum using the Universiade to do what Shenzhen is doing, i.e, using an international collegiate sporting event to assert the city’s international status because the “real” international events (Olympics, World Expo, and Asian Games) went to other cities (Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, respectively)? And if so, might this mean that the intended audience of the Erzurum Games, like the Shenzhen Games, is actually the local population. “See residents,” the government is saying, “we’re as global as the country’s first-ranking cities.” Please advise.

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