Scissor jumpers wrap up Eskimo-Indian Olympics

By Renee Thony
Fairbanks, Alaska (AP) July 2010

The scissor broad jump is one of the lesser known events at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, but its competitors are just as serious.

Erica Meckel took first place in the women’s division of the event recently at the Carlson Center with a jump of 27 feet, 2 1/4 inches.

“About six weeks before WEIO, I practice and lift weights,” the 22-year-old Fairbanks native said after her win, “and I do jump training, too.”

“About six weeks before WEIO, I practice and lift weights,” the 22-year-old Fairbanks native said after her win, “and I do jump training, too.”

Meckel has been competing in the scissor broad jump since 2006. She also competes in all the high kick events.

“I like the one foot high kick and knuckle hop the best, I think,” she said. “The one foot high kick is all about having to jump high and aim, and the knuckle hop is all about pain tolerance.”

The scissor broad jump looks like a combination of the triple jump and a dance on ice, which isn’t too far-fetched an image. The jump is used to represent the technique Natives use when they have to cross melting, moving ice.

Athletes must take off on two feet, jump the pattern and land on both feet. If they fall forward or backward, the jump doesn’t qualify. Falling over or not having a solid two-foot landing would mean the person would have fallen off the ice and into the water. The landing is most important.

“I just think ‘don’t fall’ when I get up there to jump,” Meckel said. “The last jump is the hardest part.”

 
Sticking the landing gave Chris Warrior a bit of trouble during the men’s scissor broad jump.

Warrior, who finished second with a jump of 33-6 1/2, only landed one of his three jump attempts.

“There’s a lot to think about when you’re up there,” he said. “I’m thinking about the first jump and the last jump. Momentum is something to think about, too. Momentum plays a huge role. The landing is the most difficult part.”

The 22-year-old from Wasilla has been competing in the games for about five years, and said he participates in “most things” WEIO has to offer.

“I have a new favorite this year,” he said. “The Indian stick pull was awesome. They did it different this year; it wasn’t very technical. You were allowed to do whatever you had to win. Well, you couldn’t physically contact someone, but pretty much anything else was allowed this time.”

Warrior finished the scissor broad jump behind Tim Field, who took first place with an effort of 34 feet, 1 1/4 inches. Casey Ferguson and his jump of 32 feet, 6 3/4 inches finished third.

For the women, Marjorie Tahbone placed second (22 feet, 7 1/2 inches), and Nelowa Nunsunginya finished third (22 feet, 4 1/4 inches).

Both Meckel and Warrior enjoy the WEIO games and see the significance they have in bringing people together.

“I enjoy WEIO,” Meckel said. “I get to see friends I haven’t seen in a year.”

“WEIO is ... totally awesome,” Warrior said, after pausing to find the perfect phrase. “It’s always friendly, and you get to see lots of people you haven’t seen in a while.”

Although competing and spending time with people is what she enjoys most about WEIO, Meckel said there are other perks to the games as well.

“There’s always really good dancing,” she said, “and really good food.”




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