Polar Plunges kicking off in South Carolina, all helping to raise funds for the Special Olympics


TEGA CAY, S.C. (FOX 46) — Saturday almost looked like the perfect day to be outside, wear some shorts, flip flops and even go on a relaxing swim. The only problem, the water is actually about 40 degrees.

About 100 people in Tega Cay, braved the freezing temperatures to do this year’s polar plunge, all to support a great cause the Special Olympics.

“This is one of the more unique ways to raise money and it’s kind of a thrill, it really is,” Special Olympic Coach Dan Gourley.

“The anticipations kills you and when you do it, you go in, real quick and scream real loud so the pain doesn’t hit you fast,” Tega Cay Police Chief Steve Parker said. 

While it does sound crazy, Polar Plunges have raised thousands of dollars for special need athletes and helping them compete without spending any of their own money.

“We cover their expenses, whether it’s travel, their meals, their uniforms. We want to be able to provide them opportunities that they might be able to afford,” SC Torch Council Member Mike Peek said. 

“Everyone is so supportive of trying to get these athletes to be able to compete for free and feel like they can do anything anyone else can do,” Chief Parker said. 

This year’s Tega Cay polar plunge is even more special. Honoring detective Mike Doty by shouting his badge number 809, right before the jump. Like many law enforcement officers, Doty was heavily involved with the Special Olympics.

Everyone and anyone that has been a part of the Special Olympics say it’s worth jumping into cold water just to be able to give someone a opportunity at a normal life. 

“It’ll change your life if you’ve never been to one. You get hugged by athletes you’ve never met before. They are just so exciting that they just got s silver or bronze or a ribbon. It really will change your life in a very positive way,” Coach Gourley said.

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