Thousands Plunge Into Chesapeake Bay for Special Olympics - Southern Maryland Headline News

Thousands Plunge Into Chesapeake Bay for Special Olympics

ANNAPOLIS (Jan. 24, 2009)—After President Barack Obama said in his Inaugural Address that as a nation we will have to “wade into the icy waters,” Governor Martin O’Malley took him literally Saturday as he and more than 11,000 others jumped into the Chesapeake Bay in a record setting event that is officially the biggest charity polar bear plunge in the world.

Governor Martin O’Malley was joined in his efforts by Congressman Frank Kratovil, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, as well as Joe Flacco, Adam Terry and Jason Brown of the Ravens, Special Olympics athlete Ben Collins, and thousands of others who braved the 34 degree water and participated in the 13th annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics. While the final count is not in, today’s effort raised at least $2.5 million for Special Olympics Maryland athletes. The funds are used to provide year-round sports training and competition free-of-charge to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“I was honored to join so many people today whose care and concern for others motivated them to be part of an unusual, but very meaningful event,” Governor O’Malley said. “We were truly ‘One Maryland’ today as we joined together from all walks of life and from all parts of our state in a cause that supports more than 10,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who are a part of Special Olympics Maryland.”

The Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge was held at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. today at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. The Plunge was part of “Plungapalooza ’09,” a fun-filled, family festival, full of food, music, sand-sculptures, vendors, and amazing sights on the beach. In addition to the more than 11,000 plungers, a estimated crowd of more than 20,000 spectators cheered them on and were a part of the festival.

From noon yesterday until 10:00 a.m. this morning, Special Olympics Senior Vice President and Plunge creator Tom Schniedwind, along with Adam Terry of the Ravens, plunged into the Bay 100 times, creating the first ever “Century Plunge.”

Source: MSP HQ, Pikesville

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