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Too Cold for Polar Bears: Organizers Explain Decision to Cancel MD Plunge

Organizers have said this year's plunge is not being rescheduled.

A frozen shoreline greeted would-be plungers at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. (Photo by D. Frank Smith)
A frozen shoreline greeted would-be plungers at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. (Photo by D. Frank Smith)

For the first time in its 18-year history, cold weather was too much for the Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park.

Saturday was forecast to be the first day of respite after a bitter snowstorm enveloped the region Tuesday. But cold winds and freezing temperatures persisted, ending the dreams of cold-water plunging for more than 7,000 hopefuls.

A frozen shoreline greeted would-be plungers at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, along with winds of up to 25 mph, creating waves up to 3 feet high, according to an notice posted Saturday on the Special Olympics Maryland website.

Given the conditions, event organizers made the tough decision to cancel the plunge.

"We considered all possible scenarios for conducting today’s event and determined that there was no safe way to facilitate 7,000 people plunging," according to the notice. "We concluded that the severity of the conditions and corresponding implications that threatened safety of all involved dictated that we cancel."

The event raised just shy of $1.8 million of its $2.5 million stated goal. Organizers have said this year's plunge is not being rescheduled. 

"We hope that everyone is able to take pride in knowing that even without plunging their efforts will have a profoundly positive impact on 6,500 Special Olympics Maryland athletes throughout the state," organizers wrote.

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