Special Olympics’ Polar Plunge raises more than $56,000

The money will provide training and competitions for athletes with intellectual disabilities

Hundreds of people gathered in Radford to take the plunge on Saturday.

RADFORD, Va. – A large crowd gathered in Radford to take the Polar Plunge Saturday afternoon to raise thousands of dollars for the Special Olympics.

Lining up to jump into a cold pool of water, fifty teams were ready to brave the challenge to support Special Olympic athletes.

Pulaski County plungers dressed up in holiday gear with plungers in hand to make a splash.

“We’ve never plunged in the pool before,” Tegan Hood said. “We have always done it in the river. So being up on that platform and seeing everybody else jump in and the splashes.”

For safety reasons, the event was relocated to the grassy lot across the Radford City Police Department after a recent heavy rainfall affecting water levels in the New River.

More than $56,000 was raised to provide training and competitions for athletes with intellectual disabilities. WSLS 10 News raised nearly $4,000 dollars for the cause.

Dressed as the character Where’s Waldo, some of your favorite 10 News faces like Brittny McGraw, Jeff Hanniewich and Tim Harfmann, made a freezing splash.

The crazy costumes added to the fun. Matt Adamo, Matt Camire and Bobby Snell are athletic coaches and did not disappoint as they dressed up as The Three Amigos.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get out. It was so cold,” Adamo said.

“You go into shock,” Camire said.

“Definitely takes your breath away as soon as you hit the water,” Snell said.

Other plungers stayed in uniform as they backflipped into the pool.

Special Olympic athlete Joey Wheeler said it means the world to him to see people come together to support his passions.

“Showing that a lot of people have fun and want to come out and participate and do something fun together,” he said.

“It’s a really awesome opportunity for everyone to come together and do something bigger than themselves and to have our athletes here today to say thank you and to get involved in it is really what inclusion and our movement is about,” Special Olympics Director of Development Katelynn Sundheim said.

About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.