The NWT won gold ulus in hand games, knuckle hop, snowboarding, figure skating, arm pull and one-foot high kick at the Arctic Winter Games on Wednesday, bringing the team’s total to 22 so far.
Jerrica Sanderson, Gabrielle McLeod and Desiree Charlo recovered from an opening defeat to win juvenile female hand games gold.
As this update was being prepared, Bridgette McKay, Monica Arey and Ariana Sundberg-Koyina won junior female gold. Team NT was also guaranteed either gold or silver in the open men’s event.
Sanderson, McLeod and Charlo – from Fort Resolution, Aklavik and Dettah respectively – only met for the first time at trials in December. They spent two days together at the games before competing.
“It’s my first time playing hand games and it’s my first time getting a medal,” said Charlo, 13.
“The beat of the drums feels like it’s inside of you, like there’s nothing else and all you can hear is the drums,” she added, describing her love for the sport. Team NT was defending a title the territory won in Fort Smith in 2018.
In Arctic Sports, Veronica McDonald defeated team-mate Danica Taylor for arm pull gold, while Taylor added her own one-foot high kick gold ulu to the tally.
Later in the day, Chris Stipdonk – a knuckle hop legend – won gold at the Arctic Winter Games for the first time since 2016 after travel issues prevented his qualification for 2018.
Stipdonk, who is the world record-holder in the event, fell three feet short of the Arctic Winter Games record of 191 feet, set in 1988.
At 37, he said this will be his last competitive knuckle hop. His wife and young family were in Fort McMurray looking on.
“I was really giving it all – really, really trying,” Stipdonk said. “I knew halfway around that I was going to be really, really close to getting it done.”
He concluded: “I’m not trying this again. I’m exhausted.”
Storm Cabell-White won an extraordinary third consecutive gold ulu of the week, this time in snowboard’s U15 female banked slalom, and she was joined by team-mate Grayson Marchiori, who won the U15 male title in the event.
Peyton Koe won figure skating’s U19 level two free skate, followed by a second gold ulu for Lily Brennan in the level three event.
Team results on Wednesday:
Female 71-30 Nunavut
Male 86-60 Nunavut
Female were in a play-off with Alberta North for a place in the final at the time of writing
Male beat Nunavut 10-2 in first play-off game, were in a play-off with Yukon for a place in the next play-off round at the time of writing
Junior female 3-1 Nunavut
Junior male 2-3 Alberta North
Juvenile female 4-1 Nunavut (qualified for semi-finals with unbeaten record)
Juvenile male 3-4 Yukon
U19 Female 6-2 Alaska
U18 Male 4-2 Yukon, 3-4 Nunavut
U16 Male 6-5 Nunavut
Female 1-3 Alaska
Male 1-2 Yukon
Medal Results on Wednesday:
Gabrielle McLeod, Desiree Charlo & Jerrica Sanderson Dene Games hand games juvenile female
Bridgette McKay, Monica Arey & Ariana Sundberg-Koyina Dene Games hand games junior female
Veronica McDonald arm pull
Danica Taylor one-foot high kick
Chris Stipdonk knuckle hop
Storm Cabell-White snowboard U15 female banked slalom
Grayson Marchiori snowboard U15 male banked slalom
Peyton Koe figure skating U19 free skate level 2
Lily Brennan figure skating U19 free skate level 3
Danica Taylor arm pull
Riley Venema snowboard U17 female banked slalom
Kenna MacDonald-Taylor snowboard U15 female banked slalom