Long before I joined the Compete staff, I was part of the National Bilingual Training and Resource Center where I was primarily serving Alaska. One of my fun times was attending the Indian and Eskimo Olympics. They have unique competitions with no Johnny Weir moments. Their sports are based on arctic survival skills. I had no idea how fast women could skin a seal. Then there’s the Ear Pull–a string is looped around your ear and around the ear of your opponent to see who can keep pulling back and endure the most pain.
Cut to one of the most remote parts of Russia where the Native folks there recently invited their chill cousins to their own version of these games. The First Annual Beringia Arctic Games brought athletes from seven Arctic nations — including Canada, Norway, the United States, Iceland and Greenland — to Russia. The games are based on the strength and endurance needed to survive when the temperatures fall to 60 below zero and then it gets colder. Yeah–that’s not a typo.
The Knuckle Hop is a game of endurance to pain and a testing of strength. The object is to see how far one 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.
I’m also fond of the Four Man Carry–often during a successful hunt there comes a time when the food caught has to be packed for long distances. This is also true of packing wood or ice. The Four Man Carry not only tests the capability of carrying heavy loads, but it also tests the “weight” – those volunteers “draped” over the participant during the event. Distance is the objective.
And not a single sequin in sight.