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12-12-2001

Clarkson Dean Selected As Olympic Torch Bearer

Clarkson University Dean of Students Stephen Newkofsky will have an additional reason to celebrate this holiday season. Newkofsky is one of 11,500 people across the United States who have been chosen to carry the Olympic Flame during its 13,500-mile journey from Atlanta to Salt Lake City. Newkofsky will carry the torch in Lake Placid on December 29.

“It is a genuine honor to be selected to participate in this exciting event,” said Newkofsky. “Perhaps, even more so, in light of the events touched off by the September 11 tragedy. The Olympic games gather together people from the world’s communities to compete at the highest levels of skill and endurance. It is a celebration of global unity and the power of the human spirit. It seems to be a particularly important and poignant message right now.”

Clarkson alumnus and friend Kevin Cunningham (’90) nominated Newkofsky in a Coca-Cola sponsored contest last spring. The contest asked people to write essays about individuals who have inspired them and made a difference in their lives. Newkofsky was one of 2,500 torchbearers chosen from contest entrants. Cunningham will also be present for Newkofsky’s 0.2-mile leg of the relay.

Newkofsky is a veteran distance runner who on average runs more than 15 miles per week. He also regularly competes in local races and in competitions throughout the state and Canada. His training will come in handy during the upcoming Olympic run.

“I am scheduled to run at approximately 5:27 p.m. and part of my route is to climb to the top of the Ski Jump Tower,“ said Newkofsky. “It’s just my luck it would be uphill!”

The U.S. tour began on December 4 after former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali lit a torch from the Olympic Flame in Centennial Park in Atlanta. He then passed the flame to figure skating gold medallist Peggy Fleming. The torch will pass through 46 states before reaching its final destination on February 8 for the opening ceremony of the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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