Native Youth Olympics begins tomorrow

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) The sporting event pays homage to subsistence hunters and the many methods they used to feed their families.

    More than 400 high school students from Juneau and across Alaska will compete in the Native Youth Olympics state championships.  It includes 11 events to test the athletes strength, endurance and agility.

    They include the Seal Hop, the procedure used to sneak up on sleeping seals, the Indian Stick Pull good practice for trying to grab salmon from the water by the tail, and the Scissor Broad Jump, that replicates leaping from once ice floe to another in the Arctic Ocean.

    Villages and communities from Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia also have Native Youth Olympics.  There also is the international gathering known as the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics and the Arctic Winter Games.

    The events teach competitors to respect their fellow athletes, which can have real-life applications in the circumpolar north, where harsh conditions can force people to rely on each other.

    Athletes do not compete against each other as much as they always try for their personal best, and it's tradition for competitors in the same event to give each other pointers and encouragement. So is always shaking hands with opponents and judges.

    The team from Juneau will be the first to compete in the event in nearly 30 years.

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