FISU president George Killian speaks to AIPS
SHENZHEN, August 8, 2011 – On the eve of the FISU General Assembly and election in Shenzhen, president Mr George Killian spoke to AIPS.
The energetic 87-year old from Valley Stream New York will stand for a fourth term as president of the world's governing university sports body, FISU.
Mr Killian was confirmed as FISU President in late 1999 following the death in office of Italian Dr Primo Nebiolo. Tomorrow he hopes to lead the federation for another four years.
Having been involved in sports administration since 1954 the FISU president boasts an impressive CV. A former basketball head coach, Mr Killian was President of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for eight years from 1990 – 1998 and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
A profile on the FISU website describes the president as having an "inborn sense of human relations" and a "contagious enthusiasm". This is not wrong. When we met Mr Killian at the official FISU hotel – the Wuzhou Guest House, he was bursting from the seams with enthusiasm for the future university sport.
"University sport will grow because of our continental development program. When we extend our hand to everyone, then you are going to have more and more university sport programs," the former director of the director of the National Junior Colleage Athletics Association (NJCAA) told us.
"I am not saying that one day university sports will be bigger than the Olympic Games – that's not true, because the Olympic Games are the games of the professionals, they are the best athletes in the world, and the best paid.
"We are not trying to be some super-duper organization down the road, what we're trying to do is to give every student an opportunity to participate in some sport and the academics programs which we sponsor, and so far we're doing a pretty good job," Mr Killian said.
The president related a statistic he had heard – that 60 percent of the Russian Olympic team had participated in a universiade.
The "biggest kick" Mr Killian gets is having constant contact with young people.
His advice to young athletes: "Go and introduce yourself to the person standing next to you at the village. You never know, one day they could be the prime minister of president of a country'!
"The one common denominator is sport, especially our university sport. It is an opportunity to learn different cultures. And if you don't understand culture you don't understand people," Mr Killian enthused.
Praise for Shenzhen 2011 OC
The FISU president praised the organizers of the Shenzhen Universiade. "We are very happy. You never worry. This is our third university games in China (Beijing 2001,Harbin 2009). The Chinese like sport and they have become one of the dominant nations in athletics and all phases of sport.
"You know when you come here it's going to be the very best – if you take a look at the venues for example, where else are you going to get venues like that?"
Regarding tomorrow's election: "There is no pressure. No matter what organization it is, some people think they can do a better job or have better ideas than you – it doesn't put pressure on," Mr Killian said.
FISU and AIPS
"You can't argue with AIPS! Sometimes when I look at your magazine I think there is so much (FISU) space in it. We have never been able to get that kind of publicity from a magazine other than our own. AIPS takes care of the world, so if you read the magazine pretty soon you're saying to yourself university sport must be pretty good – it's been great for us.
"In general the international media is becoming more interested in university sport. The media is a group of people that live within their own world and if they decide something is important you will get huge coverage," Mr Killian said.
An avid fan of further education the FISU president is right behind the FISU-AIPS Shenzhen 2011 Young Reporters' Program which will debut at the Shenzhen Universiade.
"We were supportive of that simply because it gives young people and opportunity to see if this is the craft they wish to do or not. Leonz (Eder) and Verena (Burk) really pushed for this and we gave them our support," Mr Killian said.