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Former UND track athlete lands spot on Norwegian reality television show

Former North Dakota track athlete Kent Luetzen, of Minot, N.D., had to accelerate his schoolwork in order to graduate from UND last Friday.

The reason is a unique one.

Luetzen, 22, left last Saturday to star in a Norwegian reality television show, Alt for Norge.

Alt for Norge, which translates to All for Norway, has won multiple Gullruten awards — the country’s equivalent of the Emmys.

The show, which airs for 10 weeks, features six men and six women of Norwegian heritage — but with no prior experiences in the country — vying to win a $50,000 prize and the chance to meet their Norwegian relatives.

The 12 contestants participate in challenges that eliminate members. This is the fourth season of the show.

The show’s promotional photo of the 12 contestants shows Luetzen wearing a Fighting Sioux sweatshirt.

The television crew was in Grand Forks last Wednesday, gathering footage of the UND campus and the Delta Gamma sorority where Luetzen has worked as a dish washer.

Luetzen, who doesn’t speak Norwegian or has ever been to Norway, can’t have any contact outside of the show.

The contestants are encouraged to not try to learn the language before arrival.

“They want you to come in with no idea of the culture,” said Danny Luetzen, Kent’s sister. “He doesn’t even know how to say left or right in Norwegian.”

He also doesn’t have access to his phone or other electronics. A spokeswoman for the show has emailed the family to provide some updates.

“He can’t have any communication, and he couldn’t tell anyone about this until it came out (Wednesday),” said Danny, a former UND volleyball player who’s now the marketing coordinator at Ralph Engelstad Arena. “A lot of people think he’s ignoring them.”

The show airs in September and will be available online at that time.

Luetzen, the youngest of this year’s cast members, found out about the show from his mother, who saw an advertisement for it at Minot’s annual Norsk Hostfest.

He applied for the show the past two years, both times making the final casting call in Chicago in February. He was selected this March.

Luetzen ran track at UND for two seasons before studying abroad in Australia. During the 2011-12 season, the sophomore finished third in the 400-meter hurdles at the Great West Conference Outdoor Championship.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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