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University of Alaska Fairbanks Athletic Department hosts “Nanook Olympics”

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:24 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Nanooks athletic department hosted the “Nanook Olympics,” Saturday. The internal event gathered all ten Nanook athletic teams to compete in a competition against one another. Six different sports were played throughout the day, and each team’s finish in a given sport added to their cumulative total.

If a team was playing their natural sport, a “handicap factor” was implemented to level the playing field which only added to the fun of the day. For example, during hockey, the hockey players couldn’t lift their skates from the ice rendering them unable to take full strides, and they played with the butt-end of their sticks (upside down). The basketball players couldn’t score via a three-pointer or score in transition, and they were forced to wear a sock on their dominant hand.

“It was difficult,” Nanook hockey defenseman, Garrett Pyke said about the handicap rule. We got eliminated in the first round, and we would’ve like to do better there.

The athletic department also joined in on the fun, assembling a team featuring administration and coaches. The all-day affair was meant to bring student-athletes together and have fun.

“It’s a great time for all the athletes to come together and hang out, really,” said Dr. Nicole Bernsen. “Especially after COVID, during the past couple of years, they’ve had to stay in bubbles and wear masks and not really interact. This is a great time for everybody to come together and have fun.

As the day went on, fewer teams were still in contention for the gold medal finish, and “hockey team blue” were the ones that walked away victorious capturing the gold. The administration team finished second, and volleyball third.

“The staff... are you kidding me,” women’s basketball’s Olivia Kraska said when asked which team was most surprising. “The staff got second! You don’t ever really think of them because they all used to be college athletes. So, them coming out here, they kind of whooped a lot of our teams. I was really impressed by them.

Nanook Olympics had its fair share of fun, and the competition was never lacking. With every athletic season finished for the academic year, it seemed like perfect timing for the Nanooks to hold an event like this.

“It’s always good to kind of get this day where we can go out and just be competitive and have fun,” said hockey’s Harrison Israels. “Obviously not taking it too seriously, but no one here wanted to lose. It was good. It relaxes the mind a little bit and everyone has fun. It’s a good morale boost for everyone in the athletic department.”

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