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Opening Day results from the return of the WEIO Games

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 7:26 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - When athletes leaped across the Big Dipper Ice Arena flooring for the Scissor Broad Jump at 11 a.m. Wednesday, it marked the return of the World Eskimo Indian Olympics, celebrating its 60th anniversary after the Games were canceled in 2020.

While champions were crowned in five different events on opening day, the gathering of various communities across Alaska in one place for the first time in two years was the real winner.

“It is one of the best feelings because this is an event where we can actually practice our culture at the highest and most dense way,” said Sara Steeves of Juneau, who won the Scissor Broad Jump with a distance of 24 feet, 9.5 inches. “There is Native food, Native games, there is art getting sold, it so nice to see.”

Finishing runner-up behind Steeves was Eden Hopson, of Barrow, who leaped 23′ 10.”, topping Awaluk Nichols’ (Nome) distance of 22′ 2″.

In the men’s division of the event that displays quick feet and good balance while navigating through the rotting ice during break up, Bernard Clark, of Wasilla, came out on top with a distance of 33′ 6″. Ezra Elisoff, Juneau, placed second (31′ 2″), while Alxavier Covy, of Anchorage placed bronze at 30′ 5.75″.

Kyle Worl, a traditional games athlete and coach in Southeast, Alaska, took the crown in the kneel jump at 56.75″, over half a foot further than runner-up Matthew Quinto, of Juneau.

Hopson was able to complete the furthest jump at 35.5″ for first, while Autumn Ridley, of Fairbanks, and Patrice DeAsis, of Juneau, each leapt 32″.

Later in the evening, the men’s Race of the Torch was won by Hutchison High School’s Elliot Evans, completing the 5-kilometer course in 22 minutes and 34 seconds, while Dawn Dinwoodie, also of Fairbanks, took the women’s title.

For the night cap event, Hopson took first in another event, this time the One Hand Reach at 56″, while Ridley and Teyah Clark, Wasilla, followed behind. For the men, Clark won his second event of the day at 70″, while Sage Worl took second and Virgil Kapotak, of Togiak, placed third.

Kelly Lincoln, of Bethel won the Fish cutting competition at 35.27 seconds, just edging Marjorie Tahbone, of Nome, at 37.55 seconds.

Walter-Sean Hawkins was the lone competitor in the Four Man Carry, which tests the strength of competitors who had a successful hunt and the games caught have to be packed for long distances. He went a distance of 186 feet, 2 inches.

The WEIO Games continue with events and celebrations through Saturday.

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