The Arctic Winter Games are an international competition where circumpolar nations send contingents that add up to over 2000 athletes for a week of intense competitions. This is a premier multi sport event that has no equal anywhere. There is a unique mix of elite and developing athletes that are well on the way to future World Cup or Olympic events.
Fair play and courtesy are recognized through special awards and the contingents also showcase their northern culture.
In Cross Country skiing, Esther and Sheena Walkley were part of the Team Alberta North that sent 213 athletes to compete at the games in Yellowknife. While competing in four races, their most memorable one was the skating event.
In the 5km freestyle race they both posted 13th place finishes in the junior and juvenile categories. In the elimination sprints, while not advancing to the medal rounds, they had exciting 1st (Sheena) and 3rd (Esther) place finishes in their last races. The Russians and Scandinavians dominated the cross country ski events.
In the final medal count Team Alberta North finished fourth with 90 medals. For complete results and more info go to www.awg2008.com.
Part of the culture of the games is trading pins and gear with other athletes at the closing of the games. The girls came back with coats and hats from Greenland, NWT, Russia and a few new words for their vocabulary.
Held from March 9th ? 15th 2008, the games left the athletes and volunteers with many fond memories and new found friends who are looking forward to the next Arctic Winter Games that will be hosted by Grande Prairie in 2010.