Unique games highlight of NYO

Posted: Friday, April 29, 2005

The Salamatof and Kenaitze teams will assemble with nearly 400 youth from across Alaska in Anchorage to demonstrate their skills next week. According to the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau's Web site, the NYO have become so popular for spectators, that the competition this year moves to Anchorage's largest venue, the Sullivan Arena, for the first time.

Competition runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will include a grand entry of teams and dance performances.

The following is a list of Native Youth Olympic events and description of how they're performed:

Stick pull — A game of strength. Successful hunters must be able to pull a seal out of the water. This is no easy task while maintaining balance on snow and ice. Hand, back and leg strength are essential.

Scissor broad jump — In this event, the landing is just as important as the jump and is scored accordingly. Developed balance and quick reflexes helped seal hunters jump from one ice floe to another, while maintaining their balance on melting, shifting and breaking ice.

Wrist carry — A test of survival. This event has origins based on hunters being able to carry their game back to the village. Hunters had to develop endurance and strength in order to carry the game over a long distance.

One-hand reach — A game to test a person's control over their body. If a hunter was to become lost on water, for example, they must know the skills to control their body in order not to panic and tip their kayak.

Arm pull — A game for fun and excitement, as is the two-foot high kick, to show off brute strength and ability. After a hunt, the men would challenge each other to games during the village celebration to show off their skills.

Kneel jump — Similar to the scissor broad jump in that the hunters must develop the skill of quick movement to be successful in jumping from one ice floe to another. This game also develops leg muscles necessary to lift heavy game and carry it back to the village.

Alaskan high kick — A test of both the mind and body working together to maintain control.

Seal hop — A game of sheer endurance to see how far a person can go on pure determination. This game originated from the hunter imitating the movement of a seal during the hunt.

Information courtesy of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau.



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