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New Mexico State University engineering professor to carry Olympic torch

A New Mexico State University professor who has triumphed over a spinal condition will be a bearer of the Olympic torch when it passes through New Mexico Saturday, Jan. 12.



New Mexico State University electrical engineering professor David Voelz will be a torch bearer for the Olympic torch when it passes through New Mexico Saturday, Jan. 12. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

David Voelz, an associate professor of electrical engineering in New Mexico State's Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will carry the torch two-tenths of a mile through Albuquerque at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Voelz was nominated to be a torch bearer by his sister Sharon Voelz of El Paso, Texas.

According to materials provided by the Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee, torch bearers are nominated by family members, friends and colleagues, who submit 50- to 100- word essays explaining how the nominees embody the Olympic spirit and provide inspiration to their communities.

Voelz, an avid skier, mountain climber, biker and baseball player, lost the use of his legs below the knee following surgery for a spinal cord tumor in 1999 and now uses crutches and a wheelchair. He continues to swim, bike using a hand-powered bike and ski using a special sit-ski.

Sharon Voelz said her brother has been an inspiration to his family and friends over the last two years as he has relearned many activities following the surgery. She noted that last summer he rode 432 miles, from Crested Butte, Colo. to Boulder, Colo., on a hand-powered bicycle in the "Ride the Rockies" bicycle tour.

"There was a mountain peak to cross every day of that tour and he peddled every mile," she said. "He has been an inspiration to us all over the last couple of years."

Photo is available at http://kiernan.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/voelz_david.jpg.
CUTLINE: New Mexico State University electrical engineering professor David Voelz will be a torch bearer for the Olympic torch when it passes through New Mexico Saturday, Jan. 12. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Jack King
Jan. 8, 2002