Britain's Lake Placid 2023 Chef de Mission Chris Purdie believes a multi-site Athletes' Village model will improve FISU's chances of securing hosts for future Winter World University Games ©ITG

Britain’s Lake Placid 2023 Chef de Mission Chris Purdie believes the International University Sports Federation (FISU) should follow the lead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham establishing a multi-site Athletes' Village model to help attract more Winter World University Games hosts.

Birmingham 2022 organisers decided to take a three-site campus approach after plans for a sole Athletes' Village had to be shelved due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move saw athletes housed at the University of Birmingham, the National Exhibition Centre  Campus and the University of Warwick.

Purdie, Scotland’s general manager for the University of Warwick site at Birmingham 2022, claimed the model proved to be a big success and hoped FISU would use that approach for future Winter World University Games.

"As a group of nations coming together, we have to try to improve the climate," Purdie told insidethegames.

"It is always a bit of a challenge given the amount of delegations that want to compete at the Games to find a location that is a one-fit model for all sports.

"Obviously there isn’t a host for 2027 [Winter World University Games] so my point is that we all need to work together to find that appropriate model.

"I was involved in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and we saw that we are heading in the direction of having smaller Athletes' Villages which doesn’t put the same strain on a host and allows for existing structures to facilitate the demands.

"My thoughts would be that going forward the Winter World University Games, Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games would start using existing structures as opposed to building a one Athletes' Village model that is more of a strain on those that would like to host the events but can’t do so.

"I think that’s the way the Commonwealth Games will be in 2026 and I would like to see that happen for FISU to encourage more cities to host the Games.

"It’s about creating a more sustainable approach."

Purdie was full of praise for Birmingham 2022's decision to house athletes across three sites ©ITG
Purdie was full of praise for Birmingham 2022's decision to house athletes across three sites ©ITG

Lake Placid 2023 organisers have also opted to use several hotels to house athletes and officials during the Games.

Britain’s 63-strong team is spread across the various sites with athletes competing in biathlon, figure skating, speed skating, short-track speed skating, freestyle skiing, ski cross, snowboarding, curling and ice hockey.

Purdie said he was delighted to send one of Britain's biggest-ever delegations to the Winter World University Games in Lake Placid and had hopes of achieving success.

Britain ranks 28th on the all-time Winter World University Games medals table, behind North Korea.

They have won a total of 16 medals, four gold, seven silver and five bronze.

At the last Winter Universiade, as it was called before it was rebranded, four years ago in Krasnoyarsk in Russia, Britain won a single bronze medal.

The team's last gold medal came at Almaty in 2017 when the men's curling team, skipped by Bruce Mouat, won the gold medal.

"Our curling teams have done really well in the past," said Purdie.

"In 2017, our men’s team won gold and last time out in 2019 they won bronze.

"Our women’s team also did well in 2011, winning gold.

"It’s an opportunity for our athletes to develop.

"A lot of the elements around the Games are very similar to an Olympic model so you have the Athletes' Village, the accreditation process and the enhancement of being at an international Games.

"For us, it’s about getting familiar with those aspects and allow them to go onto other international tournaments and potentially the Olympics."