Charles Barkley among top athletes who competed at Summer Universiade

The world's largest multi-sport event outside of the Olympic Games, the Summer Universiade has provided a launching pad for several athletes who went on to achieve fame.

Larry Bird, Ben Johnson also starred in biennial event

From August 19-30, Taipei City will host the 29th Summer Universiade. 

More than 7,000 athletes from 131 nations will compete in 21 different sports in what is the world's largest multi-sport event outside of the Olympic Games.

Over the years, the Summer Universiade has served as a launching pad for various athletes before they became the notable figures they are today.

Basketball legends

Before their Hall of Fame NBA careers, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird represented the United States at the Summer Universiade. 

Barkley's squad, which also included Karl Malone, was famously upset by Canada in the semifinals of the 1983 edition of the event, while Bird won gold in the 1977 Games just prior to being drafted by the Boston Celtics. 

(Paul K. Buck/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

World-record swimmers

Canada's Alex Baumann won a pair of gold medals in the men's 200- and 400-metre individual medley events and a bronze in the 200 freestyle at the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton. The following summer, at the 1984 Olympics, he duplicated his double-gold feat in the medley events, setting a pair of world records.

(Getty Images)

Kylie Masse was victorious in the women's 100 backstroke at the 2015 Summer Universiade. She followed that up with a bronze in the event at the Rio Games and a world-record performance en route to gold at this year's FINA world championships.

(Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

A longtime rival of Michael Phelps, Laszlo Cseh competed at the 2011 Summer Universiade, coming away with three gold medals. 

(Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

Track stars

Before his rise and fall from grace, Ben Johnson anchored the Canadian men's 4x100 relay team to a silver medal on home soil at the 1983 Summer Universiade.

(Mike Powell/Getty Images)

Glenroy Gilbert is perhaps best known for his role in Canada's gold-medal winning 4x100 men's relay team at the 1996 Olympics but also won an individual medal by virtue of a third-place finish in the 100 race at the 1993 Summer Universiade.

(Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

Jessica Ennis-Hill is a world and Olympic champion in the women's heptathlon but first won bronze at the 2005 Summer Universiade.

(Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)

Rio Olympian and 2015 Pan Am Games champion Evan Dunfee captured bronze in the 20-kilometre team race walk event at the 2013 Summer Universiade.

(Felipe Dana/Associated Press/Canadian Press)

Olympic champions

Three years before winning gold in Rio, Canadian Erica Wiebe was a bronze medallist in the 72-kilogram division of women's freestyle wrestling at the Summer Universiade in Russia.

(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Marnie McBean is a three-time Olympic gold medallist rower. In between her gold medals in Barcelona and Atlanta, the Canadian participated in the 1993 Summer Universiade, winning a pair of medals.

(John Gibson/AFP/Getty Images)

Unlike the previous athletes on this list, Nadia Comaneci competed in the Summer Universiade after her shining moment at the 1976 Games in Montreal where, at the age of 14, she became the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10.0 in artistic gymnastics. Five years later, Comaneci dominated the Summer Universiade in front of her native country of Romania, sweeping all five of the events.

(AFP/Getty Images)


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