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Olympic poster boy

Chris Windeyer
Northern News Services
Monday, March 12, 2007

IQALUIT - There's no other word for it: the poster is slick.

Iqaluit speed skater Aqpik Peter was named last week as one of three subjects of a poster campaign by organizers of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Iqaluit speed skater Aqpik Peter is featured in one of three posters designed to encourage aboriginal participation in sports. Thousands of copies of this poster, part of which is shown above, will be distributed across Canada.

But the 18-year-old Peter is quick to deflect any credit for the slick-looking image.

"I guess it was the photographer," he chuckled over the phone.

The posters are part of an attempt by Vancouver 2010 to encourage greater aboriginal participation in sport. Peter represents Inuit in Canada, while British Columbia snowboarder Chelsie Mitchell represents First Nations and biathlete Mareck Beaudion from Quebec represents Metis.

Peter said it's an honour to be included in the poster series.

"Hopefully it will inspire them in their sports," he said.

Peter's coach John Maurice said being chosen for the poster is "a real honour and a bit of a burden."

"There are lots of temptations to not be a good athlete or not be a good student," he said. But Maurice said Peter possesses the natural talent to go far, and fast, in speed skating.

It's just a matter of access to some of the same training opportunities and facilities that southern kids enjoy.

Lara Mussell Savage, who's in charge of aboriginal participation for the 2010 games, said organizers chose Peter because he lives a healthy lifestyle and has demonstrated Inuit games to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"It was just the full package," she said. "We just thought he had a great story."

For his part, Peter isn't setting his sights on the Vancouver Olympics, just achieving his best in speed skating.

It's hard to compete with full-time athletes for spots on the Canadian national team, he said.

"My plan is to see how high of a level I can get to in my sport and hopefully go down south after school and train," he said.