It’s been over a week since the 2014 Arctic Winter Games wrapped up in Fairbanks, Alaska, but Arctic Sports athlete Andrew Bell is still recovering.
On his fourth attempt at the Triple Jump, he broke the 2012 record — his own — by several inches, managing to travel 11.09 metres.
“I won’t forget that landing because I still feel it on my foot,” says Bell.
At the end of the week, Bell, 29, took home five of the six gold medals awarded to Team Nunavut at the games. On top of that, he also won a bronze and a silver medal.
His wins were in the one-foot-high-kick, the two-foot-high-kick, the kneel jump, the triple jump, and for all around athlete in Arctic Sports — not an achievement one typically associates with Nova Scotia, where Bell grew up.
He got his start playing Arctic Sports in 2008, when he first moved to Kugluktuk at age 24.
“We would play at the elementary school gym maybe a couple of nights a week,” he says.
Bell says he stuck with it after moving to Arviat about a year ago, where he works for the Nunavut Housing Corporation. He says he spent two or three nights at the gym for the past year, in preparation for the Arctic Winter Games.
“The key is probably building up a base level of strength,” Bell says.
This wasn’t Bell’s first time at the Arctic Winter Games. He represented Team Nunavut at the 2012 games in Whitehorse. He says watching athletes compete in two games a day for five days was an eye-opener that prepared him for this year’s events.
“I was ready for some of the games last time, but I worked on getting prepared for all of the games this time around.”
While Bell says he enjoys the games, he admits he’s not there to win medals. His goal is to beat his own personal bests.
“I'm more or less looking at the measurements of what I’ve been able to achieve in the past and always trying to improve those measurements.”
And that’s what he hopes to do at the 2014 Traditional Circumpolar Northern Games set to take place in Inuvik in July. That is, as long as his foot heals enough that he can start training.
“I’m hoping that will heal up in a few weeks.”