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Photos: New world record set at Native Youth Olympics

Autumn Ridley, a 16 year old from West High in Anchorage, celebrates after breaking the girls Alaskan high kick world record on Friday, April 27, 2012. Her new record is 82 inches.
Loren Holmes photo
Jorden Lisac, senior from Dillingham, is consoled by her teammates after competing in the wrist carry at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 17, 2012. She was upset because she didn't make her personal goal of two laps around the course (approx. 460').
Loren Holmes photo
A competitor in the girl's wrist carry, at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
13 year old Terry Johnson from Clark Middle School in Anchorage practices the toe kick during the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Competitors gather for the opening ceremonies before the start of the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Mark Montalvo, Senior from Wasilla, practices the two foot high kick at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Autumn Ridley, a 16 year old from West High in Anchorage, preparing to break the girls Alaskan high kick world record on Friday, April 27, 2012. Her new record is 82 inches.
Loren Holmes photo
Autumn Ridley, a 16 year old from West High in Anchorage, breaking the girls Alaskan high kick world record on Friday, April 27, 2012. Her new record is 82 inches.
Loren Holmes photo
Autumn Ridley, a 16 year old from West High in Anchorage, with her fellow competitors after breaking the girls Alaskan high kick world record on Friday, April 27, 2012. Her new record is 82 inches.
Loren Holmes photo
Yako McCarr prepares for his attempt at breaking the world record for Alaskan high kick at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012. He was unsuccessful, but he did tie the record.
Loren Holmes photo
Jens Irelan of Nome discusses Alaskan high kick strategy with David Thomas at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Coach Troy Jones, right, offers tips to his brother Todd Jones, a junior from Karluk, during the Alaskan high kick at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Isaac John Giles competes in the Alaskan high kick at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012. A junior at Houston High School, he's been competing for five years.
Loren Holmes photo
Daniel Miller of Dillingham winning the wrist carry at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012. His winning distance of 593' 4 1/2" was over 100' further than second place.
Loren Holmes photo
Dillingham's Daniel Miller celebrates with teammates after winning the wrist carry at the Native Youth Olympics on Friday, April 27, 2012. His winning distance of 593' 4 1/2" was over 100' further than second place.
Loren Holmes photo
Van Williams,Loren Holmes

Click for live video coverage of Native Youth Olympics

Photos by Loren Holmes | Alaska Dispatch

Story by Van Williams | The Arctic Sounder

If it’s late April, it must be Native Youth Olympics Longtime Alaska tradition is back for 42nd year.

Each year some 600 kids from all over Alaska converge on the Native Youth Olympics in Anchorage for three days of traditional competition of power and precision. 

It might be a new experience to some, but the message has been the same since NYO started in 1971. 

“It gives our youth an opportunity to share their culture with their peers because this is not a Native only event,” said NYO coordinator Stephanie Hayes of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council. “Sharing values has always been a very important part of the games.” 

The 42nd annual Native Youth Olympics kicked off Friday and continues through Sunday at the Dena’ina Center. 

Games include fan favorites such as the one-foot high kick, seal hop and Eskimo stick pull. 

Many of the athletes are second and third generation athletes, sons and daughters of great champions. Some are newcomers looking to try something different. There’s a place for everyone at NYO. 

The athletes come from small villages, tiny towns and big cities. They represent the face of Alaska’s future. 

And that’s why the Cook Inlet Tribal Council has added an ‘Opportunities Expo’ to give them something to think about moving forward. 

“A lot of places don’t go out and talk with our youth out in the rural areas because it’s so cost prohibitive,” Hayes said. “So we took this opportunity for them to look at employment opportunities and school opportunities. 

“We figure that we’ve got a captive audience, let’s show them there’s a whole world out there.” 

There will more than 30 booths set up at the Dena’ina Center featuring arts and crafts, traditional foods and much more. 

“The main focus is for our youth to see the opportunities that are out there for them here in Alaska as well as possibly going outside and bringing those skills back,” Hayes said. 

For years, the Cook Inlet Tribal Council has played a pivotal role in turning and the NYO games into one of the true marquee events of the spring. 

This year’s event will feature a blanket toss, Pilot Bread recipe contest, drumming and dancing and motivational speakers. 

Last year the keynote speaker was John Baker, 2011 champion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. 

“This is a chance to celebrate Alaska’s amazing heritage,” said Kelly Hurd, director of development at Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

Schedule

Friday

Opening Ceremonies

Kneel Jump

Hand Games

Wrist Carry

Alaskan High Kick

Cultural Dancing

Saturday

Eskimo Stick Pull

Toe Kick

One-Hand Reach

Two-Foot High Kick

NYO Athlete Dance 

Sunday

Indian Stick Pull

WEIO Blanket Toss

One-Foot High Kick

Seal Hop

Closing Ceremonies

This article originally appeared in The Arctic Sounder and is reprinted here with permission.