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Arctic Winter Games are a family affair for Newtok brothers

By Heather Hintze 2:11 PM March 8, 2016

Isaiah and Murphy Charles' first trip outside of Alaska to Greenland for AWG 2016

NUUK, Greenland –

When it comes to the kneel jump, 17-year-old Isaiah Charles is one of Alaska’s top athletes. It’s a skill he learned from his father, who coaches him back home.

“He’s been helping me improve from the first time I started,” Isaiah said.

Being at the Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland is his first time traveling outside the state. He’s thankful to have a familiar face on Team Alaska, his 15-year-old brother, Murphy.

“It’s good moments spending time with him, teach him what he has to know,” Isaiah said.

The boys are from Newtok, a village of about 400 people near Bethel. Yupik is their primary language and their home doesn’t have running water. The Charles brothers are soaking in the new experience together.

“It’s brother bonding. At home, we don’t really get along with each other,” Charles smiled.

His brother Murphy is soft spoken; he sticks with his teammates and prefers to use his Native language. Their coach Candice Parker said the games are a way to get the kids out of their shell.

“They’re very shy, but they’re willing to explore,” Parker said. “It’s fun to watch them from the beginning to the end, how they mature.”

Isaiah took fourth place in the kneel jump open category. For the juniors, Murhpy took second. Isaiah said the games are more about camaraderie than competition.

“It feels great to learn new things,” he said.

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