It was cold here in Louisville on Saturday morning, but more that 1,300 intrepid souls took turns diving into the frigid Ohio River, for the benefit of the Special Olympics of Kentucky. The 15th annual Polar Plunge saw these brave folks jump into the muddy river near the Tumbleweeds Restaurant parking lot, just West of the old Big Four Bridge.
The swimmers jumped off a boat dock, and an exit ladder was provided; along with several Jacuzzi hot-tubs available nearby to assist the plungers in restoring their circulation after exiting the frigid water. Most volunteers had sponsors, and a preliminary count indicated that more than $350,000 has been raised for Kentucky’s Special Olympics. We attempted to interview local attorney Richard Bush (see photo from his 2011 plunge), whose son Michael plays on the Louisville Jazz Special Olympics basketball team, as he climbed out the freezing water. But he was speechless.
The Kentucky Special Olympics sponsors six Polar Plunges each year; at locations in Bellevue, Lake Cumberland, Owensboro, Kentucky Dam Village, Lexington, and Louisville. Today was the last in the current series, and the final tabulations are not yet in. But, last year, the six 2011 Polar Plunges raised an amazing $780,000 – the first time that the Polar Plunges have gone over the $700,000 mark in Kentucky. In addition, nearly 3,000 Polar Bears took the Plunge – almost 500 more than 2010’s record.
Read more: Polar Plunge web page 
Read more: Kentucky Special Olympics 
Courier-Journal report on 2012 Polar Plunge:
Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions). The Arena is read by more people in Louisville than in any other city in America. Photo credits: Special Olympics, Thomas McAdam.