BATESVILLE — Special Olympics Arkansas has launched safety measures and virtual options for the upcoming 2021 Polar Plunge season.

In person attendees will be socially distant with registration enhancements and assigned plunge times. The organization has eliminated all gathering typically associated with the Polar Plunge while keeping the Thrill of the Chill. A list of these changes can be found on the official 2021 Polar Plunge website.

“The safety of our communities is top priority. We will be taking every precaution to make sure each event across the state is as safe as possible. Whether you put your costume on and take an icy dip in your bathtub or jump into the icy waters of the outdoor pool at Hampton Inn in Blytheville there will be 19,500 athletes across the state counting on you for the chance to reach their personal best in 2021, on and off the field,” Special Olympics Arkansas Director of Marketing and Partnerships Camie Powell said in a prepared statement.

The Batesville Polar Plunge is rescheduled for March 20 at the Batesville Aquatics Center. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. and plunge at 11 a.m.

Due to the concern with the pandemic, the plunge committee felt it was in the best interest of those attending to move the date for safety precautions.

Horseshoe Bend will also be hosting a plunge on March 6 in Crown Lake at Boxhound Marina.

Polar Plunge season is the largest fundraising series for the organization and 2021 is more important than ever. Special Olympics Arkansas aims to keep creating opportunities in Sports Competition, health, and leadership for people with intellectual disabilities. Through the pandemic the organization shifted focus from in-person competitions to fitness challenges, curriculum, and family education events that can be completed at home or virtually.

“We are still engaging athletes daily for sport and health. It is really inspiring to see athletes step up to keep each other motivated through this unprecedented off-season,” Powell said. “For example, Health Messenger, Stephanie Price, has been hosting fitness boot camps on Zoom, posting workout videos on her Health Messenger Facebook page, and encouraging her teammates through health and wellness challenges at their office, Abilities Unlimited in Van Buren. Her boot camps are so popular she has been asked to host them for Special Olympics teams across the United States. Our athletes have not given up on their passion to play sports and we won’t give up on our goals to provide as many opportunities as possible. We urge you to find the Polar Plunge that is perfect for you whether it is in person or virtual and Experience the Thrill of the Chill so Special Olympics Arkansas athletes can experience the joy of pure sport year-round.”

For more than 20 years communities have come together to Experience the Thrill of the chill in an effort to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Arkansas athletes. Polar Plunge season kicks off across the state in February and will end in April. To add more excitement to the upcoming Polar Plunges Special Olympics Arkansas has added new resources, and enriched their prizes. Fundraisers now have a chance to win cash. For more information visit http://www.specialolympicsarkansas.org/polar-plunge.html.

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