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Danica Taylor marches in Nunavut flag for Arctic Winter Games closing ceremony

Danica Taylor, right, stands with fellow Arctic sports athlete Ali Johnston of Alaska prior to the Arctic Winter Games closing ceremony in Mat-Su, Alaska on Saturday. Both ladies were chosen as the respective closing ceremony flag bearers for their contingents. Photo courtesy of 2024 Arctic Winter Games

Being the flag bearer for Nunavut at a major games means you become part of a select group of people who have ever been given the honour.

Danica Taylor is the latest athlete to become a part of that exclusive group.

The 20-year-old Arctic sports athlete, who was born Rankin Inlet but spent plenty of time in Yellowknife in her younger days, was named the person responsible for leading the territory into the closing ceremony at the 2024 Arctic Winter Games in Mat-Su, Alaska on Saturday. She first got word that she had been chosen by Team Nunavut courtesy of her mother, Juanita Taylor.

“She texted me (Saturday) morning and I was really surprised by it,” she said of her mom. “I’ve always wanted to do it, but I know very few have had the chance to do it and I was grateful to be given the opportunity.”

Taylor, who was the second flag-bearer to march into the arena behind Team Alberta North, joked that the one thing she didn’t want to do was drop the flag as she was walking in.

Once she was in the ceremony, though, she said she swelled up with pride.

“I know how proud Nunavummiut are of the people and the flag,” she said. “When they called my name, I felt lots of support and lots of love. I was really happy to be part of that moment.”

She did pretty well for herself results-wise, winning a total of five uluit: three gold, one silver and one bronze, all in Arctic sports in the open women’s division.

She said there were brief moments of ‘what if’ when it came to her performances, but she’s more than happy with her overall performance.

“I was thinking maybe I could’ve kicked a bit higher or jumped a bit further,” she said. “I’m just grateful to have the chance to compete and five ulus is a lot.”

It’s back to school for Taylor now at the University of Calgary, where she’s studying anthropology.

She said kinesiology was right up there, but anthropology was the subject which most interested her.