The ‘Spirit of the Games’ remains strong as closing ceremonies near

Posted: Saturday, March 11, 2006

Many people involved with the Arctic Winter Games realize that the Games are as much about kindness, honesty and hard work as they are about competition. Examples can be found nearly every day.

“After exchanging $600 in currency, one young man lost his wallet. The wallet was returned with all of the money still in it,” said Tim Dillon, general manager of the Games.

“Here’s another example. The Yaml-Nenents figure skating team did not have enough skaters to compete. So other teams volunteered a skater to Team Yamal so they could participate,” said Dillon.

When the vehicle transporting Dylan Salvisberg’s dog team from Yukon was derailed by a collision with a moose, members of competing teams loaned Dylan some of their own dogs.

“This is just another amazing event that really makes up the spirit of the games,” said Dillon.

The dog team situation garnered a lot of media attention, which came as a surprise to Dylan, his father, Mark Salvisberg, and coach Shawn Fitzgerald.

“It’s part of our tradition and our culture. If someone can’t compete, others give up their dogs. It comes from the nature of the sport,” said Mark Salvisberg.

“It’s a problem-solving sport. Things happen on the trail every single day. The dogs are like little ambassadors. They don’t know about nationalities,” said Fitzgerald.

“There is something very special about the participants. It does not matter where they are from; all of them have huge hearts,” said Dillon.

With the closing ceremonies approaching and the cauldron still burning, the spirit of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games lives on in the hearts of all the participants, volunteers and all the people who have helped to make the games a reality. Everyone has transformed his or her vision of what can be done with some positive energy, leaving everyone a winner. On that note, one could propose a toast, “Ulus to all.

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