WEIO 2023: Colton Paul shines on Day 1 of the games

WEIO 2023: Colton Paul shines on Day 1 of the games
Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 10:18 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTUU) - Colton Paul captivated crowds and re-wrote records as a Native Youth Olympics athlete — and now — the 18-year-old from Kipnuk, Alaska, is taking his talents to the World Eskimo Indian Olympics.

WEIO with a multitude of events including the scissor broad jump, four-man carry, kneel jump, and race of the messenger on Wednesday at the Big Dipper Arena in Fairbanks.

”It’s so much fun, it feels like a reunion with everyone that I competed with at state,” Paul said at intermission. “It’s great so far, I am loving it.

The scissor broad jump world record holder picked up right where he left off from NYO with gold in the event with a jump of 39 feet, 9.75 inches, defeating the likes of “The Eskimo Ninja,” famed traditional games athlete Nick Hanson.

“Oh man it is so awesome, I have always looked up to these guys when I’ve watched YouTube videos of them,” Paul said. “I still watch those videos. ... They’re legends, I think they’re legends.”

Paul also took first in the kneel jump with a leap of 62.25 inches.

And with such success at his age, Paul is taking on the responsibility as an ambassador for the games that have drawn many previous generations of athletes to Fairbanks — and he hopes — many future generations.

“I want to be like the face of the modern Native Youth Olympics because that is what gets the young kids going: ‘If this guy thinks it’s cool then I might as well do it too,’” he said. “It feels really great to have some kids look up to you. Back home, a lot of kids are always like, ‘Hey Colton, I’ve seen you do one-foot [high kick], two-foot [high kick], seen you on the news. ... They just really look up to me back home.”

Thursday’s events begin with finals for the Inuit stick pull at 10 a.m. and finish with a Maktak eating contest and dance performance at the end of the night.