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Triumphant homecoming for Arctic explorer
2005-05-06 10:18:00   London 2012 candidate city  


3 May 2005 - London 2012 ambassador Tom Avery has returned home in triumph after setting a new record for reaching the North Pole.

The British adventurer led a five-man team to the Pole in just 37 days, breaking the existing world record by six days and solving one of the great mysteries of polar exploration in the process.

Avery¡¯s team retraced the route of a 1909 expedition led by Commander Robert Peary, whose claim to have become the first person to reach the Pole has been doubted by historians ever since.

Travelling with heavy wooden sleds pulled by teams of Canadian Eskimo dogs, Avery¡¯s group completed the 413-mile trip just four hours ahead of Peary¡¯s record.

The 29-year-old explorer, who has been an active supporter of London¡¯s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, carried a London 2012 campaign flag in his sled and planted it at the Pole.

The expedition¡¯s baggage also included the Olympic Torch carried by London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe in the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay.

"It¡¯s been a great privilege to be a part of the London 2012 Olympic bid and I know that lots of people have done their bit by backing the bid online," wrote Avery after reaching the Pole.

Double Olympic champion Lord Coe said: "Congratulations to Tom and the team on a remarkable achievement.

"Reaching the Pole has taken months of preparation, training, teamwork, dedication and hard work - exactly the qualities that it takes to become an Olympic champion, and exactly the qualities that we hope will bring the 2012 Games to London."

Avery¡¯s expedition was supported by Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC.

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