Fairbanksan To Carry Olympic Torch At Pole

University of Alaska Fairbanks Vice Chancellor Pat Pitney is participating in the Olympic torch relay to the February 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

She’s running in an exotic leg of the relay, being staged at the geographic North Pole.

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Pat Pitney is familiar with Olympic festivities. She won gold in shooting at the 1984 Summer Games, but her torch relay run will be on the wild side.

Pitney is one of eight representatives from Arctic nations riding a Russian icebreaker this week to the North Pole, where Pitney says they will carry the torch on the frozen sea.

“They’ll let the torch runners off the ship and then do symbolic run around the North Pole,” she said.

Pitney says participants will each run about 200 meters with the Olympic torch. The 3,000 mile trip to and from the Pole will take two weeks, and Pitney anticipates an amazing experience.

“Carrying the torch and representing the U.S. and this Arctic collaboration, literally on the North Pole and the experience getting to the North Pole will be unforgettable,” she said.

Additional to her primary job as a vice chancellor at University of Alaska Fairbanks, Pitney also serves as vice president of the University of the Arctic, a network of 160 learning and research institutions, including UAF, dedicated to strengthening higher education across the region