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Thousands brave frigid water for charity

Jan. 31, 2010 at 1:45 PM   |   Comments

BALTIMORE, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Nearly 15,000 people jumped into Chesapeake Bay's frigid waters in order to help raise money for the Maryland Special Olympics, organizers say.

Organizers of the 14th annual Polar Bear Plunge said while the second series of scheduled dips into the bay was canceled Saturday on doctor's orders, thousands still took part in the first plunge despite the air temperature sitting around 23 degrees, The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday.

Among those taking part were Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and offensive tackle Adam Terry.

"Last year I came and it wasn't as cold as this year," Flacco said of his frigid dip into the bay. "My head was hurting instantly. It definitely took my breath away."

Tom Schniedwind, a Special Olympics vice president, told the Sun while thousands dove into cold waters, tens of thousands of individuals were on hand just to watch such behavior.

"It's an amazing turnout," said Schniedwind, who estimated 50,000 people in total attended the event at Maryland's Sandy Point State Park Saturday.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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