Second to none!

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Welcome to Edmonton today and tomorrow to Stefan Bergh of Sweden, Luciano Cabral of Brazil, Malumbete Ralethe of South Africa, Kemal Tamer of Turkey and Hisato Igarashi of Japan.

I hope these men enjoy their inspection tour this weekend as part of the process of deciding whether to award the 2015 Universiade to our city, Gwanju (Korea) or Taipei City (Taiwan).

I'm sure the local bid committee is going to load them up with information about the past hosting successes here, but I'm not sure if they'll come right out and spit it out.

So allow me.

These guys need Edmonton more than Edmonton needs them. Just like back in 1983.

"What we did in 1983 was set a new standard for the event," remembers Ed Zemrau, the former U of A athletic director who headed the organizing committee.

"We did what no other hosts before had ever done. We took the event to an entire new level," he said of a city which had done exactly the same thing with the Commonwealth Games five years earlier and has done so many times with so many other events since.

This city also brought the event to North America to gain a footprint it never had before, one that has essentially evaporated over the last 26 years.

"FISU needed these Games to be truly international and you can't be international without North America," said Zemrau. "That was one of the reasons to bring them here in 1983 and that's one of the reasons to bring them back now."

Edmonton's success story in '83 opened the door for the U.S. to host the 1993 Universiade in Buffalo. Unfortunately that was an unmitigated disaster, complete with several changes in administration. It was an embarrassment in almost every area.

FISU needs to give the Universiade, the only major Games in the world other than the Olympics that includes all the nations, a reboot in North America in the one guaranteed- to-succeed host city.

I don't know the backgrounds of the five men on this committee, but I assume they are worldly enough to know there are three non-Olympic sized cities on the planet that have earned well-deserved reputations for big event hostings: Brisbane, Australia; Seville, Spain -- and Edmonton.

"We earned that reputation," said Zemrau. "We deserve that reputation."

If they've done their homework, the five men visiting our city and the others charged to do the voting May 22-23 in Brussels know that the 1997 Universiade in Sicily was in danger of being relocated and Mayor Bill Smith offered Edmonton as an emergency replacement location.

If there was an IOU due for that, Primo Nebiolo, the greasy guy who ran both FISU and the IAAF World Championships In Athletics, may have paid up by giving Edmonton the 2001 Worlds.

But it was also the same deal as in 1983. The world track and field show needed a successful North American debut - and it got a great one here.

If FISU owes Edmonton anything - and I'm not suggesting they do - the background involved should at least cancel the No. 1 reason to give it to Korea. There are politics in play here. The Korea bid for Universiade 2013 lost narrowly to Kazan, Russia, home of the Russian prime minister.

Edmonton will be up against a Korea sympathy vote for 2015.

I have no idea of the quality of the other two bids, but I do know they don't give them that guaranteed North America success story which isn't guaranteed to be an option for them here in 2017 or beyond.

The last seven Universiades, in order, have been awarded China, Korea, Turkey, Thailand, Serbia, China again and Russia.

Include the Winter Universiades and from 1995 to 2013, and they've all been awarded to Europe and Asia.

If they turn down Edmonton, particularly with the economic uncertainty around the world, nobody in international sport is going to have much sympathy for them for playing politics.

Just wanted Mr. Bergh, Mr. Cabral, Mr. Ralethe, Mr. Tarner and Mr. Igarashi, upon arrival, to know that we know.

Hope they enjoy the visit.

Hope we see them back in 2015.


Videos

Photos