The Future of the World Eskimo Indian Olympics
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Wrapping up the 2023 World Eskimo Indian Olympics (WEIO), another year of friends and families reuniting over the celebration of culture and the passing of traditions comes to a close.
With the changing of the guard, the future of WEIO competitions and celebrations is in good hands.
Sixty two years of friendly competition and games will continue to be played and passed down from generation to generation. Every year brings in another group of young athletes full of excitement and willingness to do the best they can, while enjoying friendships, and the chance to learn more about their ancestors and culture.
“There’s a lot of great competition, but I think a lot of our athletes this year have the spirit of WEIO, of doing our best, the friendships that we make, so it’s been a great competition,” said Amber Vaska, 2023 WEIO athlete.
For the elder athletes, the love for the World Eskimo Indian Olympics can be seen and heard from anyone of them you talk to. The one thing they all mentioned was how the younger crowd was embracing the true spirit of WEIO.
“I love coming here, I love showing my culture. I got to go on the blanket, so I just love being here. It’s been so great,” said Eden Hopson, the 2023 WEIO Women’s High Kick champion.
Of course, there is the spirit of competition throughout the entirety of the games, but being able to see family and friends is also a big part of it.
“I think WEIO is like a reunion with your family, because NYO is my sport. I love it, I love doing everything with it, and it’s that time of the year WEIO when everybody gets together and you know you welcome each other,” said Colton Paul, who took first in quite a few different events.
In order for a culture to survive, the younger generations need to continue learning and passing it down year after year. For the future of WEIO, there will be no worries for years to come.
“It’s amazing, because it’s a part of our culture, it’s a part of who we are, our identity. To see these up-and-coming athletes coming in and doing these games so well and taking the time to learn how to do the form and to learn the form and technique is amazing. To see that they have this passion in these games, that ultimately leads to this bigger picture of what our culture is, of who we are,” explains Casey Ferguson, the 2023 WEIO Men’s High Kick champion.
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