Swedish Man Skis to North Pole

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Stockholm, Sweden Apr. 14 (AP)--Adventurer Ola Skinnarmo became the first Swede to reach the North Pole on Friday, completing the ski trek from a northern Russian island in 48 days--a week earlier thanexpected.

``One of my feet is aching, I'm sore between my legs and I smell awfully bad, but I'm extremely happy,'' Skinnarmo told the Swedish news agency TT via satellite telephone.

Skinnarmo and partner Goeran Kropp left Novaya Zemlya on Feb. 27 for the 625-mile trek. Kropp, suffering from a frostbitten thumb, was picked up by a rescue helicopter after skiing halfway.

Skinnarmo skied so fast _ he covered between 13 to 15 miles on Friday _ that he'll have to wait a week before the welcome committee consisting of his relatives, sponsors and others arrive. On Sunday, Skinnarmo will be flown to a Russian base on the 89th parallel.

Skinnarmo's other feats include expeditions to Svalbard, Greenland and the South Pole.

American Robert Peary was the first to reach the North Pole in 1909. Since then Japanese, Norwegian and Russian expeditions have set foot on the North Pole, but no Swedes have succeeded.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press