Originally Published: July 12, 2017 | Updated: July 13, 2018
Freeze or ‘Drop the Bomb’ at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. How this cultural game works, and what’s in-store for visitors this summer.
Indigenous athletes and dancers from across the United States, Canada and Greenland will gather at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks from July 18 to 21, 2018 for the annual World Eskimo-Indian Olympic Games (WEIO). This year, the theme is “Celebrating Our Elders.”
Freeze or ‘Drop the Bomb’
‘Drop the Bomb’ is one of the cultural games that will be featured at this Olympics. An all-round endurance game, the athlete freezes up resembling the shape of an airplane: face down, with outstretched arms, legs held together, keeping a straight back and low butt.
The athlete is then held by the wrists and ankles and carried by spotters over a distance until the athlete ‘Drop the Bomb’. This happens when the athlete can no longer carry their own weight. The athlete who can hold their shape for the longest distance will be declared the winner.
The four-day Olympics provide athletes the opportunity to test their strength, agility and stamina. Keeping you on the edge are competitive cultural games such as, knuckle hop, ear pull, high kicks and stick pulls. They mimic traditional real-world survival skills in the circumpolar north and bear cultural significance.
Indigenous Cultural Celebration
WEIO is a way of uniting the community, preserving and celebrating the indigenous heritage.
Bush pilots, A.E. “Bud” Hagberg and Frank Whaley developed the games in 1961. The inaugural Olympics featured a blanket toss, a seal-skinning challenge and a Miss Eskimo Olympics Queen contest. The event has since expanded to over 50 games, with a growing athlete base.
Showcasing at WEIO are also indigenous dances, story-telling, beauty pageants, other cultural activities as well as authentic Alaska Native arts and crafts sale. Meet the artisans behind the crafts.
Have fun dressing in traditional outfits including parkas, moose-hide apparels, mukluks, and moccasins. WEIO presents visitors a unique place to experience Alaska and indigenous cultures at its best.
Fairbanks: The Gateway to the Arctic and Denali
At 64 degrees north latitude, the sky takes on a capricious life of its own—a canvas for the aurora borealis, the midnight sun and sunsets and sunrises that last forever. – Explore Fairbanks Alaska
Summer is an ideal time to visit Alaska. You’ll feel nights are always young with the long days. Fairbanks is the gateway to the Arctic Circle.
A two hour drive or four-hour train ride from Fairbanks heading southwest will bring you to Denali National Park, home to North America’s highest peak. The park’s varied landscape of magnificent mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, stunning vistas and copious wildlife is a worthy experience.