Members of the AWG International Committee, Jens Brinch, Greenland, Ian Legaree and Don Sian, N.W. Territories, Karen Thompson, Yukon Territory, and Marilyn Nelly, Nunavut, Canada, arrive in Kenai on their final visit prior to the opening of the 2006 Games.
With selection trials for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) in full swing across the 7 circumpolar nations, Chefs de Mission’s and members of the AWG International Committee made a final tour of the Kenai Peninsula last week. “Crunch time is here now, this is the last big meeting before the games begin and we’re looking for some great developments from the Host Society,” said IC committee member Ian Legarree, N.W. Territories, shortly after arriving at the Kenai airport. According to Legarree, N.W. Territories athletes are excited about the coming games, “The Alaska Games are always very popular and we’ll have the biggest selection trials ever to choose our team to come to Alaska,” said Legarree.
That could mean the keenest competition ever in the history of the Games for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Ulus, especially in venues such as hockey, speed skating and basketball says Legarree, “Canadians love the ice sports, so we’ll be tough in hockey, but Alaskans are hard to beat in basketball. We’ll see how things go. There might be some surprises. You can count on N.W. Territories to be in top three.”
AWG International Commitee & Chefs de Mission enjoy lunch at the Wings Family Diner at Kenai Airport before commencing their tour of the Peninsula.
When it comes to cross country skiing look for some stiff competition from Team Sami of Norway, Finland, and Sweden, “Sami’s are very good at cross country skiing and it is very popular in Norway, we have already selected our team and they are training hard already,” said Petter Balto, Chef de Mission for Team Sami. Balto is a famous name among Alaskans remembered as the name of the heroic lead dog that brought the diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska. “My grandfather’s brother Samuel Balto came to Alaska to help the Eskimo people learn about reindeer herding and he became very popular. His friend Nielson named his lead dog after him; Balto, and that was the dog that brought the serum to Nome even after the sledge man had collapsed who was driving the team, it was if the dog knew it was a race of life and death,” said Balto.
The 2006 Arctic Winter Games will be held in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in March, 2006 and is expected to include over 1,900 athletes and cultural performers and 1,500 special guests from seven participating circumpolar nations including Canada, Russia, Greenland, Norway, Finland, Denmark and the U.S.A. (Alaska). The 7-day event will require over 3,000 volunteers and is expected to attract between 6,000 and 8,000 spectators.
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