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Alaskan to carry Olympic torch to the North Pole


University of Alaska Fairbanks vice chancellor and former Olympic shooter Pat Pitney will represent the United States during the North Pole leg of the Olympic Torch Relay beginning this week.

Pitney is one of 14,000 people who have been selected to carry the torch during its 35,000-mile, 123-day journey across Russia. The relay will culminate in the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 7, 2014.

Pitney is already in Russia, but will be available for media interviews via audioconference Monday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. Alaska Time (midnight Eastern).

In addition to promoting the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, the North Pole torch run leg is being conducted to highlight the Arctic and cooperation among the eight arctic nations: Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, United States, Iceland and Denmark.

Pitney and other arctic representatives will travel to the North Pole aboard a Russian icebreaker.

In addition to her position at UAF, Pitney serves as vice president of UArctic, a cooperative network of northern universities, colleges, research institutes and organizations. She won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics and was recently inducted into USA Shooting’s Hall of Fame.

“This is a true honor. It is humbling to be selected to represent the United States, Alaska, the Arctic, UAF and the Olympic movement. Imagine, carrying the Olympic torch around the North Pole, I am so excited,” said Pitney. “I want to thank our UArctic partner Northern (Arctic) Federal University Arkhangelsk, Russia for promoting the University of Alaska Fairbanks for this arctic adventure.”

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