Monday, March 17, 2008

One Foot High Kick, and so long for now

As promised, here is the One-Foot-High-Kick Junior Men's Gold Medal winning kick, as young Damien from Igloolik wins the gold medal.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read through this, and thanks to the good people at APTN for not saying NO when I proposed a different way of covering an event.

I'm calling it a success.

Remember, if any of you have any interesting photos from Yellowknife during the AWG's, let me know at

Like we say at the end of our stories on TV:

For APTN National News, I'm Kent Driscoll, back home in Iqaluit.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Hardest Working Team in Show Business

Blame Holly. She is the one who called our coverage of the AWG's a marathon event that we all deserved gold ulu's in... so instead of getting a good night off before getting on a plane tomorrow, I went off to cover Junior One Foot High Kick.

The upside, a kid from Igloolik Nunavut -- who I interviewed this afternoon -- got the gold. Well done Damien. Pics and vid of the Gold winning high kick tomorrow. I live and work in Nunavut, I wasn't so much objective on that one. I'm sure the kid from Alaska is a wonderful guy, I just had a rooting interest.

And if you have been reading the comments, yes, I took the term "bloggery" from a talented writer for Nunatsiaq News in Iqaluit. I just gave you a link, now we are even ;)

What's the line,

"Immature poets emulate,
Mature poets steal outright."

So Damien won, leading me to beileve in the power of being interviewed by APTN. Stephen Colbert has his Colbert Bump -- where people who are interviewed by the pseudo-right pundit have a bump in the polls. I am starting to believe in the APTN bump.

Back to Iqaluit tomorrow. Travel day, so don't expect to see the gold winner until the weekend.

Thanks for reading, it has been a lot of fun, and here is looking forward to Grand Prairie in 2010.


Tonight, on APTN National News

More AWG coverage.... I'm doing a wrap-up of the events today, which is a thinly veiled attempt for me to show all of you a bunch of the one foot high kick event from today.

The record for one foot high kick is 9'8".... think about it, a basketball net is at 10 ft.... these guys are literally kicking the mesh hanging from the bottom of the net.

Juanita's "The history of the Ulu" thing runs tonight, not last night as I posted earlier. I've seen it, tune in for great old time Inuit footage, many ulus, and take my recommendation, buy an ulu for your kitchen.

Dene-Za has a bit about the cultural performances at the Games for tonight's show, and Amos.... Amos took the day off, since he will be covering things on Saturday...

By Saturday, I'll be back home in Iqaluit. Save me a seat at the Navigator Friday night.... best Chinese Food Buffet in the North. Order the Ginger Chicken, you can't go wrong.

More bloggery to follow, I have been set free from TV reporting for the day, back to my webhead friends out there. The volume of hits on this site speaks volumes.... and I used volume twice in one sentence, time for more coffee.

Do you have any pics?

Just a brief respite from preparing a story for APTN National News tonight...

Every event I go to, I see all of you there, with your video cameras and digital cameras.... and that got me thinking, why should I be doing all the work?

If you have pics of competitions or athletes that you would like to see here, send them to and I'll post them here for you.

That goes for the competitors when they go home, I will keep updating this blog as long as you keep sending me things to update it with.

Alaskan High Kick

In the above pics, the kids from Team Alaska entertain the crowd as the judges sort something out. I heard one parent describing the kick to their child as half breakdancing and half ninja, sounds right to me.

What you can see below is a video of the Alaskan High Kick Women's Final, and this game is high drama. You could have heard a pin drop in the gym as this young Alaskan got ready to kick. The stuffed seal they kick at is at 5' 8", this girl kicking is only 5'6".... again, physics denied.

A major part of the kicking games is helping out the other athletes. Sportsmanship is the rule in traditional games.

For Alaskan High Kick, you hold your left foot with your right hand, and place your left hand on the floor. You kick with your right foot, which you have to take off on and land on....

Now get up and try it. Right now. You, I'm talking directly to you. Try it. It looks like this:

Now sit back down, shake off the stares of your co-workers, and watch the video.

Enjoy, it is a little bit longer than most of the vids here, but in order to enjoy her attempt, you need to take part in the anti....cipa...................tion.

Team Whale Cove

Whale Cove is a tiny town in Nunavut's vast Kivalliq region, and these three youngsters are from there. I met up with them after the Alaskan High Kick event, and check out that tie. I'm one of those old fashioned guys who thinks that youth hockey teams should always travel in shirt and tie (says the guy who only owns one tie)... the old fashioned guys on Team Nunavut agree, and it looks sharp.

And they gave me a Whale Cove pin... cool stuff.

Joshua Jeremick'ca

Joshua Jeremick'ca is one of the Youth Ambassadors for the Arctic Winter Games. By ambassador, I guess they mean the best face to put on the NWT is to have these kids out front and center, working hard, and volunteering. To me, that is a great role for an ambassador, I can't picture Frank McKenna painting when he was our ambassador in Washington, but you never know.

Darlene Hokanak

Darlene Hokanak is a coach for Nunavut's Inuit Games team, and hails from Kugluktuk in Nunavut's Western Kitikmeot Region. She was surprised to see that I knew how to spell Kugluktuk, but was not surprised by the success Nunavut has in all the traditional Games. She had high hopes for her girls heading into the Alaskan High Kick final.

Today in the AWG's

I did get to check out the High Kick event last night, and there will be video here before I hit the road. Today, it is my turn to do our "Today in the AWG" for APTN National News, so I need to get out from behind a computer and get out in the field.

I should be able to blog while I'm at it. I mean, Anderson Cooper from CNN blogs DURING his show...

I have this bizarre picture in my head of Larry King scolding me.

"I know Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper is a friend of mine. And you sir, are no Anderson Cooper."

Pics and people soon, stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

High Kick

I know what I am doing tonight, I'm going to the Alaskan High Kick finals. Just stopped by for a little (after sneaking aboard the VIP van, thanks to a Mayor who shall remain nameless).

For now, just a little taste of what I saw out there. More to follow, it seems exciting. The high kicking in the video below is of the Alaskan variety, and is just the prelims. Legs will fly tonight.

Tune in tonight

Just left the office.... tonight is a night to tune in to APTN National News for sure, especially if you are a fan of the AWG's.

Medal counts, interviews, and I hear that Juanita found a diamond ulu for her ulu segment... I want to see that.

Off to more events, and more bloggery to come.

6:30 Eastern.

Finger pull

Here comes the pain game. Finger pull looks like it hurts. It is a traditional Dene Game, and kids from all over were ready to try and dislocate each other's fingers.

You don't need to dislocate a finger to win, but it helps.

Sportsmanship (or sportswomanship) is a big part of this game. You help each other to your feet when it is done, that part is mandatory. It is a best of three, each side getting a chance on offence and defence. In the case of a tie after two rounds, there is a coin toss, and the winner gets to pick offence or defence... like overtime in the NFL without all the pointless dancing or lousy field goals deciding games.

Like Halifax singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett says,
"The reason I like the instrumentals
is 'cause they haven't got any words"

So, no more from me on Finger Pull (and no "pull my finger" jokes), just watch the video without any talking by yours truly... enjoy the "instrumental":

Dallayce Smith

Dallayce Smith -- Team Yukon -- must be one of the youngest competitors in the Arctic Winter Games, at the tender age of 12-years-old. She is here for Dene Games, and is having a fantastic time... even though she wouldn't smile for me. I tried everything I had, this young lady would not crack a grin for me.... but she would talk for the blog about her experience in Yellowknife.

Pin trading

They don't give out medals for pin trading, maybe they should. Earlier in this blog, I chatted with the pin-a-holic Mayor of Iqaluit. She said that the pin trading was great, because many of the kids are from small communities and get shy when they go to the AWG's. Pin trading brings them out of their shells. I had two media pins, I gave one to the Mayor. They are rare here, and she was on her way to a full set of official pins. In turn, I got a handful of City of Iqaluit pins.

From left are Don Oyukluk, Kelvin Kotchilea and Joe Audlakiak, and they were in possession of some very rare pin sets. Don't just look, listen, they will tell you about it themselves:

A few photos

Just some quick snapshots from my walking around today:

Come on, give the kids some credit here....

Team Alberta has their own newsletter.... and are doing better this AWG than is past years.... they have something to write about.

Nice looking jacket there.

More Nunavut/Nunavik Bonding

Everywhere I looked this morning, I saw kids from Nunavut and Nunavik hanging out together. Inuktitut is the common bond between the regions. Dialect isn't as big an issue as some seem to think.

From left are Margaret Tukkiapik, Madeline Annanack, Karen Weetaluktuk, Debbie Oyukuluk and Kristina Tulugak.

Here, I chat with Debbie -- from the Qikiqtani Region -- about speaking Inuktitut with Nunavik kids. There is a bit of an inside joke in there. I ask her if she can understand them better than people from the Kivalliq (the central region of Nunavut). She said yes.

Different dialects and regions are known for different things. I once asked a translator at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly the difference between the Qikiqtani (Baffin Island) dialect and the Kivalliq dialect. She said it was the difference between Paris French and Alberta French.

She also said it with a laugh. The translator was from the Kivalliq, guess where she thought the Paris French was coming from.

Then there are people from Sanikiluaq. They are known for speaking very quickly.

Me, I'm just happy I can ask her "How's it going" in her own language.

Medal Board

Here is the medal board at the Athlete's Centre, next to City Hall in Yellowknife.... alphabetical order, now that is democratic.

Shane Pollet

Shane Pollet didn't have to travel far to compete in snowsnake yesterday, he is from N'dilo... where snowsnake took place. Here, he explains the best way to make the snowsnake move along the ground, just before he was about to take part in the finger pull.

Shane won a Silver Ulu for his effort at snowsnake, check it out.

Lots on finger pull later... it looks like it hurts. One of the volunteers called it the Dene "pain game". Here is how Shane gets ready:

Scavenger Hunt

On the way to Dene Games this morning, I found a group of kids from Nunavut and Nunavik "harassing" employees at Canada Post, trying to find the Northern Lights...

As my caffeine kicked in, I asked them what they were up to.

SCAVENGER HUNT!!!! Put Northern Lights on the list, and see what the creative young minds come up with.

So I asked Larissa Annahatak (left) and Mary Tagalik about the hunt, and then about the bond between the Nunavik and Nunavut teams. Both speak Inuktitut, just in different dialects. They can communicate no problem, and just use English for the words that don't match up....

I also learned that Inuktitut for "HI" is "HI".... go figure.

Tonight, on APTN National News

Have you seen Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy?


Maybe that makes me Brick Tamlin?

Our news team is here in Yellowknife, and I checked in with them before they scattered to the various venues all over town. Here is what they are up to.

Amos Scott has a great story about government funding for sport. Here in the NWT, they are making large cuts to staffing in various government offices. Then, when the Games showed up, they announced more funding for sport. Amos asked the right question, "Are you guys going to spend that money on staff or what?"

Dene-Za Antoine is going to bring you a wrap-up of today's events. Last I heard, he was going out to the snowboarding venue. It should look cool.

Juanita Taylor -- my teammate in the Iqaluit bureau -- is explaining exactly what an ulu is. Not only is it the medal for the Arctic Winter Games, it is a traditional Inuit women's tool. I use the word tool on purpose. Yes, it is a knife, but it is so much more useful than just a knife. Plus, last time I called the ulu a knife, Juanita and I got into an extended debate about whether or not it is a tool or knife. She won.

Tonight. 6:30 Eastern. Watch and enjoy. My pics are done downloading, stay tuned right here.

Good morning blogosphere

Good morning all. I just got back from Dene Games, and I have some great video. Keep tuned in from your office cubicles all over Canada, and I'll do my best to keep you entertained.

You are watching and tuning in. I was recognized by my backpack after last night's broadcast, and the kids all know to "click on my head".

Stay tuned, I'm posting for the next hour and a half.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Live on location

Ever done that thing where you hold a mirror up to a mirror, and the reflection seems to stretch into infinity? That's a little what it felt like today, as I chatted with our anchor Holly Bernier for a segment about this blog for APTN National News. I'm looking into that big electric eye through one of my own... just a little weird for me.

Juanita took some pictures for me while I was doing my thing at the Athlete's Center.

When I started doing this, the Iqaluit camera operator Jimmie Papatsie said, "I don't want to be on the internet."

I agreed.

I lied.

Here is Jimmie from my point of view.

Here is Jimmie fixing my microphone and my shirt, making sure I don't look like a moron on national TV, as he always does.

and here we are from the point of view of people watching us, wondering who the heck I am talking to anyway.

Tune in tonight at 6:30 Eastern -- I'm still stuck in my own time zone mentally -- and see my interview, and see what the other reporters have been up to.... and from the sounds of things they have been up to a lot.

[Five minutes later] Now I know what they are up to. Dene-Za has a wrap-up of the first few days for you and Amos will be bringing you a very Northern, very aboriginal, very unique fashion show. If this makes me our online correspondant, does that make Amos our fashion reporter?

Well Dressed Men

Team Nunavik (Northern Quebec) are hands down the best dressed team at the Arctic Winter Games. Look at those parkas, that is real fur on the trim, and the jackets were produced through a corporation owned by the aboriginal people in Northern Quebec.

The first thing that George Berthe (left) and Michael Gordon told me about their parkas was that they were unwilling to trade it for my APTN National News jacket. Then they explained how well the jackets have been received.

Jan Jensen

Athletes are sleeping in schools throughout Yellowknife, and some are even staying at the military hangar near the airport. As you can imagine, sleep is a precious commodity when sharing housing with a small army of teens.

Jan Jensen is from Greenland, and after he woke up, we had a great chat about his time at the games. There was a bit of a language barrier, but his English is a lot better than my Greenlandic.

With their European influence, the Greenlandic are feared in soccer.... Jensen doesn't look so scary.... but he was still half asleep.

Clara Tutcho

Clara Tutcho is a 33-year-old Yellowknife Special Olympian. The AWG's have yet to include Special Olympics in their medal program, but this figure skater was invited to do a demonstration program at the Games. She just got back from the Special Olympics in Quebec City.

Douglas Ollie

Douglas Ollie is a hockey player from Arviat, a community in the central Kivalliq region of Nunavut (see, I told you about those people from the Kiv and their love of the puck). His AWG's were cut short, by taking a shot on his ankle during hockey. He is staying positive.

Douglas tells us a little about the town of Arviat, and along with hockey, they love Bingo.

Little Richard

Meet Richard Iyago and his mother Rosie. They are fom Baker Lake Nunavut, and were at indoor soccer to support the Nunavummiut competing. Check out Richard's Nunavut flag, signed by none other than Jordin Tootoo. People from the KIvalliq region love their hockey.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gjoa Haven Girls Go Shopping

You can always tell the Nunavummiut at the airport. They are the ones with giant black plastic containers full of all the things they can buy in the south. Sheila Konana (left) and Pamela Angutingunierk are no different.

Neither am I, on my last trip to YK, I filled two "Action Packers" If you know what Action Packers are, you probably live in the North.

These two girls are a part of the Team Nunavut Women's Hockey squad, and both are from Gjoa Haven, a small community in the western Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. It is pronounced JOE-Haven, but spelled with a G.

These two came to Yellowknife to compete.... but they also came to shop.

Lucky accidents

Usually in the media, when we make a mistake and it turns out ok, we just take credit for it.

Yeah, I meant to do it that way.

Have a look behind the curtain on this one. Here is what the flame for the Arctic Winter Games actually looks like:

Here is what it looks like when I left the exposure on for too long, moved while taking the photo, and then switched from manual to automatic halfway through. I couldn't get this pic again if I had to. All I know is that it looks good, so I must have meant to do it that way.

Aurora Warrior

I don't think I'll ever meet someone with as striking a name as Aurora Warrior, and this 15-year-old from Sitka Alaska is in Yellowknife to compete in Dene Games. Check it out, she already has an ulu.

More on ulu's later. They are the traditional Inuit women's tool and the design for medals at Arctic Winter Games. From personal experience, I can tell you that once you get an ulu in your kitchen, you will throw away your other knives. It slices, it dices, and cuts a mean pizza too.

Aurora has an ulu already, and above she is demonstrating her form in the snowsnake. She can speak for herself, just click the video below to listen.

Norman Angnatuk

15-year-old Norman Angnatuk comes from the Nunavik region of Northern Quebec, and is in Yellowknife to compete in snowshoeing. The snow is different here, but he doesn't think that is going to get in the way of competing.

Ms. Mayor

Meet Elisapee Sheutiapik, the Mayor of Iqaluit. Say it with me phonetically SHOE-TEE-AH-PICK, a lesson I learned the hard way on live radio.

I ran into her outside of the Explorer Hotel, where she was quite clearly waiting to get into the VIP suite, being a VIP.

She is an avid aports fan, a hockey mom, and the two-term Mayor. She has also attended many Arctic Winter Games.

Here, she describes her pin collection. I'm just wondering what is happening at the Grind and Brew with her out of town....

Stephen Harper waz heer

We checked into the hotel, only to find out that the Prime Minister had just fled the premises. He did leave this evidence of his visit, he signed the guestbook.

You know you are flying in the North

.... when the instructions for crash landing are in both Inuktitut and English.


If you are looking for game results, just click here

Gotta run, flight to catch.

Silaqqi Quvianaqtuliaq

Silaqqi Quvianaqtuliaq is the camera shy girl hiding behind the phone. In front is Debbie Oiukuluk, a competitor in Dene Games.

I met Silaqqi in Kinngait/Cape Dorset weeks ago. She was a member of their women's soccer team, but after her team was defeated at the regional championships, Baffin Island Champs Iqaluit invited her to join their team.

She was profiled on National News, and had to move to Iqaluit to get ready for the Games. Her parents could rest easy, she was staying at the Education Minister's house.... that's small towns for you.

She misses home a little, but watch out for her powerful shot. Iqaluit invited her for a reason, and this soft-spoken girl is all business on the floor for Indoor Soccer.

Getting ready

The Iqaluit Team is getting ready to leave, and Juanita and myself took a little drive in Iqaluit to get our last minute shopping done before getting on our plane to the Arctic Winter Games this afternoon.

What do you get with two reporters in a car? An interview, but feel free to invent your own punchline.

It could be an interesting flight, our stopover is supposed to be at Rankin Inlet, which is in the midst of a snowstorm.... as usual.

We talked about the AWG's, but first, I had to ask, where did she get that fantastic jacket... after she stepped on the brakes.

Better than coffee

Look up at the top of the page, with my lovely mug at the right. Well, that is the sight I faced when I logged into

Where I usually see Holly, Todd, Cheryl, or even Kyle and Janelle, I see me.

That my friends, will wake you up quicker than coffee. I AM THE INTERNET!

Today is a travel day for the Iqaluit bureau of APTN National News. Juanita and our camera operator Jimmie are out finishing off a story for you good people... ahh, they just got back, and Juanita pointed that with me pointing a camera, that photo is all people are likely to see of me.

Jimmie just said, "You are going to have to work hard now." Agreed.

So, we land in Yellowknife late afternoon, and I'm going to see what is in town as far as events go. Stay tuned.

Wow, that graphic is big on the homepage.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sarah Ali II

With a name matched with a boxer, allow me the II in the title of this post. Check The earlier parts of this blog for a look at Sarah and her very successful video. Sarah is the one in the middle. Sarah is joined on the left by Miranda Kirk, and Leetia Nuyalia on the right. All three are speed skaters.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Arctic Bay Dene Games Team

The title is right, this is a video of a group of Inuit kids from Arctic Bay competing in Arctic Sports. These ones are there for the Dene games. Last AWG, Nunavut won the Dene games, and these youngsters hope to repeat.

Pia Tikivik

Pia Tikivik is an 18-year-old table tennis player from Iqaluit. This is her second Arctic Winter Games, and she was also in the Canada Games. Her Dad was with her to send her off to Yellowknife, and we caught up to her as she was checking in at the counter.

Jutai Toonoo

Jutai Toonoo is from Kinngait (aka Cape Dorset) which is just about an hour by air west of Iqaluit. I first met him at the rec center in Dorset, when I was there for the QIA Truth Commission hearings. He was playing table tennis, and that is what he is doing at the AWG's.

Jutai is the youngest of 7 brothers, and they are all happy to see him playing any sport. He suffered from a form of Juvenile Arthritis as a child, but he took up table tennis just 6 months ago, and won the territorial championship.

Now he is off to Yellowknife, one of at least two Kinngait kids on the plane. When I first interviewed him, I was struck by his confidence, he is matter of fact about it, he thinks he can win. Just look at him in the photo, I was joking with him, saying, "Now give me your tough guy look." He was all business.

Fans of Inuit art, the display behind Jutai is one of several in the Iqaluit Airport, this one is from Clyde River.

So far, he really hasn't played a game against someone as skilled as himself. He likely will when he gets to the Games.

David Shooyook

David Shooyook is a 16-year-old from Arctic Bay, and he is travelling to the AWG's to compete in Inuit Games. Arctic Bay has athletes in both Inuit games and Dene games (more on that later). We have a nice little video of David talking about what he is looking forward to in Yellowknife. You'll never hear a pro athlete give as honest an answer as David does.

Special charter

You know you are a big deal when you get your own titled charter flight.

Welcome to YFB

Welcome to YFB. This bright yellow spacestationesque building is Iqaluit's airport, and where a large group of Nunavut Arctic Winter Games athletes met for a charter flight to Yellowknife, for the Acrtic Winter Games. It is one of the most distinctive buildings in town, and always draws a comment from first time visitors.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Meet Sarah

Meet Sarah Ali. This young woman is representing Nunavut at the Arctic Winter Games in speedskating. She has entered a contest with a Canadian financial institution -- endorsed by Catriona Le May Doan herself, how cool is that -- for the "Best Speed Skating Story in Canada".

I live and work in Nunavut, making me completely biased on this one. I say vote for Sarah. She has already won an I-pod for this video... she could win some fancy new speed skates. Speed skating is a sport where the technology matters, and her video called "Nunavut Pride" is a gem:

Just Click Here For the videos

You could vote for the Alberta guy if you like, watch them both and make up your own mind.

Meanwhile, look forward to seeing Nunavut's Fastest Woman on Skates next week at the Arctic Winter Games. I know I am.

Arctic Winter Games

The Arctic Winter Games will begin March 9th to the 15th in Yellowknife, North West Territories Canada. Check here daily for updates and new blog posts.