‘Discipline that lives with them;’ Senator Stevens says of Arctic Winter Games athletes

Posted: Tuesday, March 07, 2006


  Senator Stevens checks out the Ulu News Photo By Charlotte Nicolet

Senator Stevens checks out the Ulu News

Photo By Charlotte Nicolet

United States Alaska Senator Ted Stevens agrees with the many people who say the participants in the Arctic Winter Games could be our next Olympic athletes and his positive outlook for our young people is infectious.

Stevens was on the Kenai Peninsula to help celebrate the Opening Ceremonies of the Games on Sunday and took some time for a press conference with a number of international media representatives.

“I hope they turn out real well. I think it’s a grand idea,” said Stevens. “I’ve participated in them before and think it’s a marvelous thing. I think the whole Olympic movement’s a great thing,” he added.

Stevens is the sponsor of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act adopted in 1998 that currently charters and grants monopoly status to the United States Olympic Committee and includes the Paralympics Games. The USOC is a non-profit organization for the United States that approves and trains athletes who want to participate in the Olympics as well as the Pan American Games.

“I think encouraging the young people to be involved in activities like this develops a discipline that lives with them all their lives,” Stevens explained. “You very seldom find a person who’s devoted the time that’s necessary to become an expert in a sport. It’s a good influence on our young people,” he said.

When asked what he liked best about the games: “I like it best because they are indigenous games. The Arctic Winter Games are bringing, for all of us to see, the games of this culture, of the Arctic,” said Stevens.

Stevens remembers the first time he saw the games, he observed the High Kick as athletes kicked a ball hanging from the ceiling. “I couldn’t believe what I was watching,” he exclaimed.

Stevens has enjoyed the games for some time, and thinks that of all the various types of Olympic Games, the Arctic Winter Games are unique, “because it is indigenous to the Arctic, and these are the games of the Arctic,” said Stevens.

“I think it’s good for us to be a part of this and I hope we’ll continue to support the concept of the Arctic Winter Games because it brings these young people together from all over the Arctic,” said the senator. He believes it’s beneficial they get to know one another, to see one-another, and form friendships for the future. “But above all,” he said, “they commit themselves to their sport, so they develop the discipline in terms of health and how to handle their schedules that make them better citizens in the long run.”

Because the Arctic is a place of isolation, “it’s a place where you need reasons to get together, and to share experiences, and to compete. I really enjoy these games,” said Stevens.

Taking into consideration the camaraderie that the games inspire, and whether the games encouraged good foreign policy: “Athletes still see winning as the goal, and I don’t think that’s wrong.

“I think they should learn that if you really work hard to win you can achieve something. But, I think that the spin off from all this is international friendship, and that’s very essential for the world right now,” he said.

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