Whitehorse’s Emily King was in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO) from July 17 to 20 where she won seven medals, including four gold medals.
King won gold in kneel jump, two-foot high kick, bench reach and one-foot high kick, as well as silver in scissor broad jump and bronze in one-hand reach and Alaskan high kick.
She also received the Howard Rock Outstanding Athlete Award.
Not too shabby for someone who, in her own words, hasn’t really practiced lately.
“I haven’t actually trained Arctic sports in a couple months, so I wasn’t expecting to have the success that I did,” said King. “I knew I had the capability to do well, but I wasn’t sure… how I would compare to the other athletes, especially because I haven’t been to WEIO before.”
WEIO differs from other Arctic sports competitions like the Native Youth Olympics in that all involved must have native ancestry per the rules – King is Tahltan from northern B.C. – and as a result, the field was smaller for women than at some other events.
“It was definitely less competitive than NYO just because it was a smaller competition,” said King. “There is still so much sportsmanship there. Everyone is so kind all the time, giving you pointers, helping you reach your max potential. That’s always nice.”
King said her favourite discipline is the one-foot high kick. She won this competition with a kick of 87 inches (2.2 metres).
“Once you get up to those higher heights, the crowd is getting excited, they’re getting into it,” said King “It just feels like you’re flying when you’re kicking. It’s all just so exciting.”
WEIO includes a number of sports not seen at NYO or the Arctic Winter Games, and King said she’d like to give them a shot if she goes back next year.
“These games are really in touch with native culture,” said King. “So there is muktuk eating, which is crazy to watch, there was (an event) called greasy pole walk, which is exactly as it sounds – walking as far as you can across a greasy log.”
King did try something new at this event though, competing in the knuckle hop.
“I tried knuckle hop for the first time at this competition, which is traditionally a men’s sport so I had to compete against the other men,” said King. “It went pretty good. I didn’t do nearly as well as any of the guys – I got around 20 feet, hopping on my knuckles across the hard gym floor. Some of the guys there are crazy. They were doing like 150 feet and stuff like that.”
Next up for King are the annual Arctic Sports Inter-school Competition in December, and then – hopefully – the Arctic Winter Games in March.
“I plan on going, that is if I make the team,” said King. “But it is the plan so far.”
With results like this, a third trip to compete in Arctic sports seems quite likely.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com
Scissor broad jump – female
1 Alexandria Ivanoff 27’1”
2 Emily King 25’5½”
3 Auna Reed-Lewis 23’ 2 ¼”
Kneel jump – female
1 Emily King 42 ½”
2 Alexandria Ivanoff 42”
3 Camille Bernard 37 ½”
One-hand reach – female
1 Camille Bernard 56” (0 misses)
2 Sophie Swope 56” (3 misses)
3 Emily King 55”
Alaskan high kick – female
1 Sara Steeves 72”
2 Camille Bernard 67”
3 Emily King 66”
Two-foot high kick – female
1 Emily King 70”
2 Alexandria Ivanoff 67”
3 Sara Steeves 62” (0 misses)
Bench reach – female
1 Emily King 32 ½”
2 Crystal Worl 30 ¼”
3 Auna Reed-Lewis 29 ½”
One-foot high kick – female
1 Emily King 87”
2 Alexandria Ivanoff 84”
3 Erica Meckel 80”