It's just as much about the culture as the competitions

Blanket toss at WEIO
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FAIRBANKS, (KTUU) - Throughout the next three days athletes will try to pull, kick, or use their strength to beat their competition. But they will also grow closer together as they compete in the World Eskimo Indian Olympics.

During the opening ceremony Wednesday evening Alaska's diverse cultures were recognized with songs and dancers in traditional regalia.

The winners of the 5k race from earlier in the day did one lap around the Carlson Center before lighting a traditional seal oil lamp, tended to by one of several elders.

The big event of the night was the blanket toss, where the judges score on skill and style.

WEIO Head Official, Sam Strange, says athletes find a lot of support from their fellow competitors.

"You're encouraging each other, even though they may beat you, that's what you want. It's always a great big family reunion."

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