January 16, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
Arthur Lussi competed in Štrbské Pleso 1987 FISU World University Games in alpine skiing. However, his first memories of the biennial multi-sport event date back to 1972, when he walked alongside the Japanese ensign at the opening ceremony of the Lake Placid Games.
“I was impressed,” said Lussi, explaining the emotion he remembers. “I knew that one day I wanted to be one of those athletes who can go to a party with people from all over the world.”
He was selected to represent the USA 15 years later in Štrbské Pleso, in slalom and giant slalom.
“I’ve never really had an American uniform before,” Lussi said of the beginning of his trip to Europe.
His dream of playing at the international Olympics came true in February this year.
“I will never forget crossing the finish line of the first race and looking at 12,000 fans. Also seeing a board with your name, country and time was something special.
The tradition of the University Games of exchanging pins was already present at that time. It’s something that connects athletes from all over the world. During this time, Team USA made a small twist.
“We traded our American hats for Polish sweaters, which I still own. It’s a really good memory to look back on.”
Fast-forwarding another 35 years, Lussi was the torchbearer on Thursday at the 2023 Lake Placid opening ceremony held at the historic Herb Brooks Arena, accompanied by his daughter Nina, herself a talented ski jumper.
It seems that the FISU Games have accompanied him all his life.
“Stronger Body, Stronger Mind” is a philosophy he believes in. “People say you can’t be a great athlete and a great student. I do not believe that. Athletes competing at the University Games or at the international level can do both.”
Today, Lussi, who grew up in Lake Placid, owns the Crowne Plaza Hotel, FISU’s official hotel for the Games. Over the years he did every possible job in the hotel and learned a lot.
And behind every successful person is a successful team.
“I am lucky because I have sisters who help me. It’s never just one person, it’s a family. And my parents, unbelievably, are still involved.”