Polar Bear Plunge Hits Goal

Second of two scheduled dips cancelled on doctor's orders

By Asha Beh
|  Sunday, Jan 31, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM EDT
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Polar Bear Plunge Hits Goal

NBCWashington

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It was too cold even for some polar bears on Saturday.

The second of two scheduled dips in the water at the 14th annual Polar Bear Plunge was canceled on doctors' orders. That was before an estimated 15,000 people took the plunge, which raises money for the Maryland Special Olympics.

The air temperature was 23 degrees and the Chesapeake Bay was 36 degrees when crowds took a dip in the water around 1 p.m.

Among the participants was Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. He says the frigid water "took my breath away.''

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R)

By the time of the second plunge, scheduled for 3 p.m., doctors monitoring the event advised organizers to cancel it, which led to police divers forming a line to keep people from jumping in -- because nothing will stop some people from taking the plunge. 

Fortunately, it didn't stop "The World's Largest Plunge" from pulling in nearly $3 million by 5 p.m. on Saturday, according to Hometown Annapolis.

The annual plunge event has raised more than $13 million in the past 13 years to support some 10,000 Special Olympic athletes in Maryland.

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