Arctic Winter Games

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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.

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It might be one of the loneliest roads in Canada but, luckily for Kim and Dave Halpine, the Dempster Highway was seeing a spike in traffic this March.

The Inuvik residents, set to compete in Arctic sports at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games, were two of several Team NWT members coming out of the Beaufort Delta who decided to use the 2012 Arctic Winter Games as an excuse to travel the iconic Northern highway to Whitehorse.

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Biathlon and speed skating athletes led Team NWT to third place in the medals after the first full day of competition on Monday.

Although tied with Yukon for second with 21 ulus – six gold, seven silver and eight bronze – Yukon's six-gold, nine-silver and six-bronze-medal day put them into second spot behind Alaska which finished first with 26 ulus.

AWG opening ceremonies

NWT athletes joined thousands of others from across the circumpolar world at the Canada Games Complex in Whitehorse Sunday to open the 2012 Arctic Winter Games. Following fanfare truly befitting a Northern celebration, the Winter Games were officially open.

Bantam Boys

The Northwest Territories bantam boys hockey team got off to a good start at the Arctic Winter Games Sunday in Whitehorse, defeating their Yukon rivals 7-4 in the first game of round-robin play.

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Four members of Aqsarniit Ujauttaq (Northern Lights Gymnastics) are brimming with excitement over travelling to the Yukon this week.

Competing in gymnastics at the Arctic Winter Games (AWG) from Rankin are Desiree Autut, 16, Jayda Pilakapsi, 12, Annette Paniyuk, 11, and Shanti Dias, 9.

Gymnastics coach Lisa Kresky said the four young athletes from the club's competitive group are counting the days until the Games.

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Kyle Hainnu, 17, of Clyde River and most of his
teammates shaved their hair as a
team bonding experience.

Surrounded by teammates at the Iqaluit airport March 3, Derek Hainnu of Clyde River was looking forward to representing Nunavut at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.

"I just want the gold," said the basketball guard, whose cousin Kyle is also on the team.

AWG airport

Fort Smith athletes, from left,
Veronica McDonald, 17, Dezmond McDonald, 18,
and Taylor Phillips, 18, wait patiently
at the Yellowknife Airport for their charter flight
on March 3.

By land and air, 400 strong, Team NWT made its journey to Whitehorse on Saturday for the 22nd installment of the Arctic Winter Games. 

At the Yellowknife Airport, Rita Bertolini, a sport consultant with the Sport North Federation, staffed a small podium; she and a small group of marshallers were happily greeting waves of athletes armed with duffel bags, biathlon rifles, snowshoes and pillows, ushering them to one of two charters ferrying the team to the Yukon capital.

"By the end of the day, it is kind of organized chaos and everyone gets to where they have to go,” she said.

She has served in this capacity for 12 years and despite both her aircraft delayed by an hour on Saturday, she seemed unfazed.

Jane Charlie

Jane Charlie Sr. has
12 family members 
participating in
the AWG
in Whitehorse.

When the Arctic Winter Games kick off this week, Jane Charlie Sr. will have 12 reasons to be proud.

That's because the Fort McPherson elder has one son, four daughters, three granddaughters, three grandsons and one great granddaughter participating in the games.

"That's the way we raised them," said 81-year-old Charlie. "I'm proud, of course."

Although her husband, former chief Johnny D. Charlie, died years ago, she said it's his legacy that is being carried on through her children.

"We both never went to school that much. I think we went to school about two or three years, so because of that we told them to go to school and try really hard and we made sure they all graduated," she said.

Contingents travelling to the Arctic Winter Games are participating in a relay this year, but participants are not carrying a burning torch as one might typically expect. A song relay to develop a compilation video for the Arctic Winter Games' theme song was launched last March, and made its way through all nine of the participating regions.

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