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Team to Represent Juneau in Native Olympics for the First Time in Thirty Years

Games open Thursday in Anchorage


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Back row: Coach Kaytlynne Lewis, Joe Dundore, Derrick Roberts, Josh Sheakley, Erick Whisenant, Bryan Johnson, Coach Kyle Kaayák’w Worl. Front row left to right: Kalila Arreola, Arthur McVey, Matthew Quinto, Trinity Jackson, Skylar Tuckwood.

Credit: Brian Wallace, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute

For the first time in nearly 30 years, athletes will represent Juneau at the Native Youth Olympics, which will open Thursday in Anchorage.

Ten middle and high school students from Juneau will vie in competitions, including the Alaskan high kick, Eskimo stick pull, one-foot high kick and the seal hop. The athletes who qualified for the team are Joe Dundore, Derrick Roberts, Josh Sheakley, Erick Whisenant, Bryan Johnson, Kalila Arreola, Arthur McVey, Matthew Quinto, Trinity Jackson and Skylar Tuckwood.

While athletes train to compete, NYO games differ from other sports in that cooperation and collaboration are key tenets. Even competitors help each other, as historically this was an important survival skill, said Coach Kyle Kaayák’w Worl, a veteran of the games who has won many medals.

“The games are based on hunting and survival skills that allowed indigenous people to thrive in the harshest conditions,” Worl said. “To survive, people had to work together and support each other, and that spirit is very much a part of the games and something I try to instill in the athletes.”

The games will take place Thursday through Saturday, April 26-28, at the Alaska Airlines Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, in Anchorage. The event will be streamed live at http://bssd.org/.

 

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