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Saturday, August 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 80.0° F  Partly Cloudy
The Daily
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Taking the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Wisconsin
Speedos, bikinis, costumes, frigid screams, big splashes and a wacky esprit de corps

Credit:David Medaris

There's no denying the appeal of the Madison Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Wisconsin.

Hundreds upon hundered of people raising pledge dollars for the privilege of standing -- sometimes underdressed, sometimes over-costumed, often apprehensive yet full of charged-up bravado -- in front of hundreds of other people and shrieking as they plunge into the frigid waters of Lake Monona off Olin-Turville Park.

Held last Saturday, this year's Plunge featured such high points such as of two wicked-looking witches taking the plunge.

Unlike a certain wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz, they somehow managed to avoid meltdown when they hit the water -- an indication that perhaps they were not so wicked after all.

Here's a video clip of their immersion.

The wind was gusting Saturday during the Madison Polar Plunge at Olin-Turville Park. But with every plunge came the shrieks and screams of participants as they hit Lake Monona's frigid waters, as heard a clip following below.

Along with the screaming, some groups of Madison Polar Plunge participants generated some good splash as they hit the lake's surface. One such display of water displacement occurs in video clip number three.

For some participants in Saturday's Madison Polar Plunge at Olin-Turville Park, participation was not enough. One group declared that they were involved, and it said so on their T-shirts, as seen in this next clip that follows.

One of the most entertaining moments of Saturday's Madison Polar Plunge came as a couple covered in green body paint and wearing flippers on their feet approached the platform to take their plunge. Suddenly, one of the pair dropped to a knee and asked the other to join in a plunge of a different sort -- a plunge into marriage. As hundreds of spectators and other plungers looked on, the other half of the couple took the microphone and answered the marriage proposal. View this next video clip to learn whether they decided to take one plunge or two.

Each group of participants in this year's Madison Polar Plunge was distinctive and memorable in its own way, but all appeared to share a wacky esprit de corps with the bunch in this clip, as they took the plunge to benefit Special Olympics Wisconsin.

If you missed this year's Madison Polar Plunge and these clips make it look like too much fun to resist, there are four more opportunities this year to participate in similar Special Olympics Wisconsin fund-raisers around the state. On Feb. 24, Polar Plunges are scheduled in Wausau and Green Bay. This year's final two plunges are scheduled for March 3, at Black River Beach and in Pleasant Prairie.

There are more accounts (and photos) of the 2007 Madison Polar Plunge provided by Brad Vogel, Mark Sadowski, Stephen Dorshorst, Julie Bollenbach, Jim Remsik, Jr., and a plunger who described the conditions as "ever effing cold."

More information about the annual event is available from the Special Olympics Wisconsin Polar Plunge portal. Or, if you need more time to build up your nerve, check out the details about the Madison Polar Plunge, and start thinking about 2008.

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