RADFORD, Va. – The annual New River Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics returns to Bisset Park in Radford for the 2022 event, after the 2021 event was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are really excited to be back at the river,” said Nancy Morehouse, Southwest Region Director for Special Olympics Virginia. “One thing we do know is being outdoors and doing things outdoors is fairly safe, so we are looking forward to getting our colony back down at the New River in Radford.”
A group of penguins is called a colony, and penguins are one of the mascots of the annual event.
With the 2022 Plunge’s return to an in-person event, the theme is “Go All In.”
“I think that obviously there are a lot of metaphors in that: ‘going all in’ for our athletes, being all in as a community as well,” Morehouse said. “We really look forward to seeing people just really knocking it out of the park to be able to raise money.”
Special Olympics offers year-round sports programs for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, to work to build inclusive communities. The pandemic has created challenges for many athletes.
“We know in our community the pandemic has taken a toll on a lot of people, but in particular, our athletes because they are not able to connect in their usual ways or have two or three sports opportunities in a week to look forward to every week,” Morehouse said. “So, we’re really encouraging all of our athletes and of course our volunteers to be vaccinated and up-to-date so they can more safely come back and participate.”
Morehouse said there is plenty of buzz building as more in-person Special Olympics events and the Plunge return.
“I think our athletes are more excited than ever to really get a lot of people involved in the Plunge,” Morehouse said.
Click here to sign up for the 2022 Polar Plunge or donate to Special Olympics. There is also a virtual option.
Those looking to jump in the New River will get to do so on Feb. 26, 2022 at Dudley’s Landing at Bisset Park in Radford.