David Thomas and Erica Meckel
The World Eskimo Indian Olympics Board of Governors and staff would like to extend our deepest condolences upon hearing of the passing of Robert “Big Bob” Aiken Jr, a WEIO athlete and former board member. As an athlete, Big Bob won 6 gold medals in the Eskimo Stick Pull, from 1982 to 1987. He still currently holds the world record for multiple WEIO games, and is considered a “WEIO legend”. These records also include the Indian Stick Pull, with 7 gold medals, and the Arm Pull, with the most wins to date.
In addition to being an exemplary WEIO athlete and announcer, Big Bob was also an influential coach and mentor for numerous WEIO athletes – past and present. Big Bob, the world’s largest Eskimo, was considered to be a “WEIO legend”, which is a title many would agree is suitable.
Again, our deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathies extend to Big Bob’s family and friends, within Alaska and beyond, during this time. WEIO won’t be the same without you.
The games that are played by these people display the preparedness one needed for survival. They require skill as well as strength, agility, and endurance. In this manner, the people could at least teach the children that they had to be tough to make it on their own, not just in one area, but in all. The games left no part of the body untested.
In the past, whenever there was a gathering of families or villages, there were feasts, dances, and games. Often, when these gatherings took place, a messenger was sent to neighboring villages to extend a formal invitation. Today, these games are played during the Fourth of July and Christmas holidays.
To better appreciate the background of these games, envision yourself in a community village hut three hundred years ago with the temperature outside at 60 degrees below zero, and everybody in attendance celebrating a successful seal hunt. While the young men are demonstrating their athletic prowess and strength, the umialiks, or whaling captains, are on the perimeter of the hut looking with great interest at the young adults - one or more of these young men would be incorporated into their whaling and hunting crews - the fastest, the strongest, the one showing great balance and endurance to pain would be the top pick.
Congratulations to World Eskimo-Indian Olympics
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame chose WEIO as the 2009 Event. WEIO is one of only three events to be inducted to the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. "It is obviously one of the cornerstone sporting events in our state and is very worthy of induction into the Hall." See the display at Anchorage's Ted Stevens International Airport. http://www.alaskasportshall.org/inductees_09.html#class09
The American Bus Association has chosen WEIO as one of the American Bus Association’s Top 100 Events in North America for group travel in 2009. A panel of ABA-member bus and tour operators selected WEIO from hundreds of entries nominated by state/provincial tourism offices and local and regional convention and visitors bureaus. http://www.buses.org/files/aba2009top100.pdf