Native Youth Olympics Kick Off
Events test strength and endurance
ANCHORAGE - The 42nd annual Native Youth Olympic Games runs from Friday through the weekend at the Dena'ina Center.
Many of the 500 student athletes and their coaches have traveled hundreds of miles to attend the games, representing dozens of schools across the state.
"They are very excited. they put a lot of effort into their practices," said Assistant Coach Stephanie Evans from Nanwalek Elementary High.
“They practice all year long to get as high as they are now,” Evans said.
Evans leads a team of six boys and six girls from the Nanwalek school, a half hour flight across Kachemak Bay from Homer.
“It's a test of strength and pain endurance in a lot of games, like you would traditionally, being out hunting and surviving,” said Sam Strange, one of the event's head officials.
There are a range of games including the Kneel Jump, the Alaskan High Kick and the Two Foot High Kick.
“The games here are just a symbolization of what the culture is, the value of the games, traditionally they were hunting signals or survival techniques or how to gather and bring meat and bring it back to the village or the town," said Sam Strange.