Never too late to go for gold

At 20, Wrigley Dene games athlete makes first appearance at Arctic Winter Games

Wrigley's Dwight Norwegian warms up before the snow snake competition. He placed ninth in the open male category.

Dwight Norwegian is ecstatic to be competing in his first Arctic Winter Games.

His excitement was evident on Monday afternoon as he mingled with teammates while warming up for the snow snake competition.

The 20 year old handgames player was asked to tryout for the team despite having little experience in other Dene events – which include pole push, finger pull and stick pull.

“They asked me to in Wrigley and I said 'OK, I'll try it,' ” he said. “They put me down for handgames, but it was for all the Dene games.

"I tried it out and I came out the top one.”

He said he is not letting his inexperience hold him back, and is looking forward to testing his skills against the other competitors, with high hopes of taking home a few gold ulus.

“It's something new for me and I like it,” he said.

Norwegian is a newcomer to what has been traditionally a strong component of Team NWT's entry into the Arctic Winter Games.

In 2010, Dene games athletes brought 12 medals home from Grande Prairie and in 2008 the Dene games team won 14 ulus in Yellowknife.

Norwegian's enthusiasm for tests of dexterity, eye hand co-ordination, stretching and agility will be welcome when the competition begins Wednesday as the open male division looks to repeat its gold-ulu performance.

He said he is thrilled to have a shot at a gold medal in his favourite event, but admits being a rookie on the title-holding team brings a certain amount of pressure.

Aside from the chance to compete, Norwegian, like many athletes, is relishing the experience of the games.

“Meeting new people, meeting new friends and seeing Whitehorse for the first time … I like it,” he said.

He finished ninth in the snow snake on Monday.

Wrigley's Joey Moses, 17, is also competing in his first games as a Dene games competitor.

Moses grew up playing handgames and decided he wanted to try his skills at the rest of the events as well.

He placed 11th in the junior male division for snow snake on Monday.