The Last Frontier?

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Cross-country skier Kikkan Randall is hoping to claim her first Olympic medal next month in Sochi.

On this day in 1959, Alaska became the 49th U.S. state. While the northern-most state is known for its exceptional beauty, Sarah Palin (or Sarah Palin jokes, depending on your political persuasion) and “Deadliest Catch,” it also has produced an impressive line of athletes over the years. Some of the most notable include Bulls forward and two-time NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer, former NFL guard and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, former World Series MVP Curt Schilling, three-time Olympian and 17-time U.S. Nordic skiing champion Kikkan Randall, Heat guard Mario Chalmers and WNBA veteran and former UConn standout Jessica Moore.