Lucerne 2021 cancelled due to Omicron variant

TORONTO, ON – There will be no flame lit and no Canadian student-athletes hitting the ice and snow in Central Switzerland. On Monday, FISU and the Lucerne 2021 organizing committee announced the cancellation of the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade due to the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant across the world. 

The Lucerne 2021 games were pushed back to December after being postponed from their original January 2021 date, hoping the later months would have a world less impacted by COVID-19. Less than two weeks ahead of the Games’ Opening Cemereony on Dec. 11 and days before Canadian student-athletes were set to make their way over, the organizing committee cancelled the events.

The curling teams were to be the first Canadians to travel, with the hockey teams flying out on Dec. 6. Neither will travel to Switzerland. 

Canada had named a 102 student-athlete delegation to compete in men’s and women’s hockey and curling, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, snowboarding and short-track speedskating.

“We are incredibly sad that we will not be able to hold this great event and would like to thank everyone who has worked and invested so much over the past years. Said Mike Kurt, President of Swiss University Sports. “We are convinced that Lucerne 2021 will leave a long-term legacy for Swiss sport despite the cancellation.”

Lucerne 2021 was to be the first Universiade hosted during the pandemic, with the last Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia in 2019. Canada took home five medals, including a silver in women’s hockey and a bronze in men’s hockey.

“U SPORTS and Team Canada would like to thank the organizers of the Lucerne Games for their efforts,” said Canadian Chef de Mission Ben Matchett. “They worked diligently to present these games in a secure manner. Their dedication and enthusiasm despite all the obstacles, a postponement, and now the cancellation are inspiring.”

U SPORTS, who supports Team Canada’s mission to the World University Games supported FISU and the Lucerne 2021 organizing committee in the decision to cancel the 2021 Games. “We are incredibly disappointed for our Canadian student-athletes and coaches who were so excited to compete on the international stage”, said U SPORTS Chief Sport Officer Lisette Johnson-Stapley.

With no possible postponement of the Games, the Lucerne 2021 games will go down as a blip in the history books. An event with a logo, venues, teams, and athletes, yet no competition. The next edition of the Winter Universiade is scheduled from Jan. 12-23, 2023 in Lake Placid, New York. 

As a result of the cancellation, 49 Sports will not be going to the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade as previously announced.

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