Wednesday, July 16, 2008

World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

If you've never heard of this event (which is taking place in Fairbanks this year), check it out at
I considered taking the kids, but Ellie is at camp and it would be a chore to sit with the little ones.

Some of the events are pretty amazing (this is only a few of them):

This is a game of endurance to pain and a testing of strength. The object is to see how far on can go in a "push-up" position, with elbows bent and knuckles down. The only parts of the body touching the floor are knuckles and toes. From this position, the participant "hops" forward as far as possible keeping the back straight and elbows bent. This games originally was played o n the floor of a traditional community center or hut, or outside on the ground. Now, this game takes place on the arena floor.
Often during a successful hunt there comes a time when the games caught has to be packed for long distances. This is true of packing wood or ice. The for man carry not only test the capability of carrying heaving loads, but it also tests the "weight" - those volunteers "draped" over the participant during the event. Distance is the objective.
The weights used in this event are 16 one pound lead ingots, which are threaded through twine. The contestant must loop the twine around one ear and by lifting straight up, without using the cheek, pack the "weight" and go for distance. Before lead weights were used, sacks such as twenty-five pounds of flour were used. Distances of over 2,000 feet are attained.
The high kick event requires the athlete to jump off the floor using both feet, kick a suspended object with one foot, and land on the floor using that same foot demonstrating balance to the floor officials. Distances the height of a basketball's net is not uncommon. It is supported that when a messenger from a hunting or whaling crew is within visual distance of the villagers, he will kick high into the air thereby giving a message that a whale has been shot, or the caribou are running near. The two-foot high kick means a different but similar message. The high kicks are considered the premier events of the WEIO.
This game requires the athlete to balance on his/her hands with at least one elbow tucked under the lower abdominal area. The rest of the body is parallel to the floor. The participant will then use one hand to reach up and touch the suspended target. Upon doing this, the participant must get that hand back to the floor before any other part of his/her body touches the floor while demonstrating his/her balance to the floor officials. This is a game demonstrating balance, athletic prowess, and strength. Height is the objective.

Here is a video of the 2 Foot High Kick:

Here is a video of the women's ear pull. Yikes!

This is a link to some great pictures of the events:

Here is an article about the World-Eskimo-Indian Olympics pageant. No tap dancing or answering questions on how to save the world in this pageant :)

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