As Fairbanks readies for the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Arctic Winter Games, athletes from around the globe have already begun to face off in the world's "coldest" competition.
Over 2,000 athletes from above the Arctic Circle have gathered in Fairbanks to compete in games developed in northern cultures and steeped in the traditions of the communities represented. Since 1970, the AWG International Committee has striven to unite athletes who would normally not be able to participate in sporting events with their southern counterparts.
Included in the games are traditional ice and snow sports like skiing, skating, hockey, and snowboarding, as well as indoor games like soccer, table tennis, and wrestling. Unique to the AWG is the inclusion of the Dene games, which were originally used by northern native cultures to cultivate strength, speed, agility, patience, and teamwork among their peoples, traits needed to survive the harsh climates and lifestyle their environment imposed.
Representing Alaska are over 300 young athletes from 40 communities around the state, from large cities like Anchorage to rural villages like Delta Junction and recently spotlighted Nome.
Sunday morning saw the start of competitions between the 9 teams representing individual communities and countries. Junior male and female competitors for volleyball, indoor soccer, and curling will be the focus for teams and locals until the opening ceremony at 6 pm at the Carlson Center.