Veronica McDonald is a returning athlete to the Arctic Winter Games. She won three gold medals and one silver by Tuesday afternoon. She broke the record for triple jump. (Mitch Wiles/CBC) Two women from the Northwest Territories are smashing years-long records at the Arctic Winter Games.
Zhanayii Drygeese, a 15-year-old from Dettah, N.W.T., broke the women’s juvenile snow snake record — which has stood since 2010.
Drygeese threw her snake a whopping 246 feet.
The previous record? 226 feet.
"It feels great. I’m proud of myself that I got first," said Drygeese, a first-timer at the games.
Her record-breaking throw earned her a gold medal in snow snake on Tuesday. But Drygeese is proud of herself for other reasons — she was able to beat her sister’s personal best.
"My older sister, she was like really shocked," said Drygeese. "My mom was really proud, so was my dad." Zhanayii Drygeese, 15, is a first-timer to the games. She won gold for juvenile women’s snow snake, and broke the previous record. (Mark Hadlari/CBC) The teen says she is pretty new to the sport and her previous best was 53 feet at the trial run.
"The track wasn’t as good as the ones here in Hay River," she said.
But her preparation was thorough. Drygeese said she practised three times a week on the Dettah ice road.
"I’d take my Ski-Doo and throw the snake, and then chase after the snake with my Ski-Doo … over and over," she said, adding she hopes to win more gold Ulus this week. ‘I always got to impress my grandpa’
Veronica McDonald is also enjoying an impressive showing at her seventh Arctic Winter Games.
As of Tuesday night, she had snagged a whopping three gold medals in the open women’s kneel jump, arm pull and the triple jump. She also won a silver in the two-foot high kick.
But little did she know she had broken a triple jump record, flying in at 28 feet and three inches, just a few inches more than the previous record of 28 feet and 0.5 inches.
"Honestly that was just a super surprise," said McDonald, a 23-year-old from Fort Smith, N.W.T.
"Everybody’s coming up to me congratulating me, and usually that’s just what happens when you finish something. But they were saying I broke the record. I actually had no idea."
But breaking the record wasn’t a first for McDonald, who comes from a family of AWG athletes.She broke the world record for junior women’s kneel jump back in 2014.McDonald thanks her grandfather, her coach since she was five, for her most recent record-breaker. He also trained McDonald’s mother."He knows me best, he knows my technique and he always has … the best pointers. He told me that I needed to go faster on my approach and so that was the one thing I really focused on," she said."I always got to impress my grandpa."Some Canadian men were also beating records by Wednesday.Drew Bell from Arviat, Nunavut, broke the men’s record in the one-hand reach, touching at five feet and seven inches.Nathan Saviadjuk from Nunavik, Que., broke the record in the junior male kneel jump at four feet, 11.5 inches.With files from Mark Hadlari, John Last, Mitch Wiles
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